A United Way program to help vulnerable high school students perform academically is making an impact, according to an independent evaluation report by a UWindsor business professor.
The results of a study by Rajeeva Sinha were released in June during a celebration of the first cohort graduating from the On Track to Success program, which provides mentoring and other supports to more than 120 students in Leamington and Windsor’s west end.
“The On Track to Success program equips the students with assets they need to take charge of their own futures,” Dr. Sinha said. “We see statistically significant differences in academic performance measures as well as developmental assets that are indicators of long-term student success.”
His report highlighted improved grades, fewer absences, and the development of soft skills such as commitment to learning and ability to work independently as benefits of the program. Ninety per cent of those graduating are enrolled in post-secondary education.
United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard welcomed the evaluation.
“The results of this report confirm what we know to be true,” she said. “We can level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students and give them opportunities to succeed, live up to their true potential, and be ready for 21st century jobs.”
The University of Windsor is looking forward to the arrival of its first cohort of graduates from the On Track to Success program, and is rolling out more than a red carpet, says Jeff Berryman, Associate Vice-President Academic — it will offer bursaries worth $4,000 over four years of study to each of the 10 students it expects this fall.
Justin Singkhaew, who graduated from Leamington District Secondary School, began studies in the drama in education and community program in September.
He says the bursaries will make university more attainable.
“It will really help relieve the financial burden,” Singkhaew said. “I’ve always been wondering how I’m going to pay for my post-secondary education.”
Berryman said the money is just part of the welcome the On Track to Success students can expect.
“A team from across campus has been working with United Way since the fall, developing transitional programming for students as they prepare for post-secondary education, and planning programming to support them when they arrive,” he said.
Learn more about the On Track to Success program at weareunited.com