I have the privilege of serving as the Chairman of the Board for College For Every Student (CFES). I have been involved with CFES for the past 14 years and it has been an honor to be associated with the pre-eminent organization of its kind, raising the academic aspirations and performance of underserved youth. The essence of CFES is the engagement of each Scholar in three high-impact Core practices of Leadership Through Service, Mentoring, and Pathways to College. These three practices help student scholars gain college access and success-which is more important than ever in the 21st century. The excellent results of CFES Scholars demonstrates the value of these three practices. CFES is also blessed with outstanding 21st century leadership in its Staff Members, Program Directors, Board Members, TASK Force Members, and particularly the CFES President & CEO Dr. Rick Dalton. It is through Rick Dalton's vision, stewardship, and leadership that CFES continues its prominence and sustainability in working with underserved youth across the nation.
College for Every Student is a powerful and much needed program for urban youth. Initially, when I was asked to volunteer as a faculty advisor for CFES, I was hesitant. My thoughts were great another activity that will take up my time. But, boy was I wrong because I watched our students become completely engaged in the each of the three core practices of CFES. Through their engagement, I witnessed a genuine transformation in them. For the first time in their lives, many of these students began thinking about their future, setting goals and realizing that they had options! These self realizations have empowered our students. We have seen an improvement in their attendance, grade point average and citizenship. Our students, or as we call them, scholars have taken on more than 20 Service through Learning projects since we began CFES. We have had over 150 students involved in our Mentoring program and thanks to our commitment to CFES; we have sent every student in 6th, 7th and 8th grade to visit our local colleges. Our school, Wilson Middle School, in Erie, Pa is now one of 7 middle schools in the country to be named a CFES School of Distinction. CFES has given us a foundation to create a positive and scholarly climate in our school that gives students the tools to realize and begin reaching their higher aspirations.
I work in an urban school as a college access coordinator for the past 3 years and CFES has been a wonderful support for my students. It has given my students the ability tour colleges that they would not have the opportunity to visit and make a difference in their community through leadership through service. CFES believes very passionately that every student has the ability to attend post secondary education. That is why I Iove CFES!
I teach in an urban high school and have seen the impact of CFES up close and personal. CFES provides exposure to college for underserved students and support through mentoring and community service projects that encourage these students to aim high. This year, we had 3 CFES seniors graduate and pursue their education at a local university as the firsts in their families to attend college!
I have worked with CFES for several years. The support that CFES provides to a small, rural school like the one at which I work is tremendous. The three practices of Mentoring, Pathways to College and Leadership through Services are an important piece to our students' educational program. The support provided by our regional director as well as the the mentoring program director are vital to our CFES programs success. This program has helped our students, elementary through high school. Once our students are exposed to a college campus and are encouraged to seek this next step in their education, they know it can be a reality.
CFES is a very powerful program that works to help students of all ages, in and after school. We have a Pre K to 12 school and every student is involved in CFES programs. It can be pervasive or as involved in your school and student body as you'd like it to be.
^th grade teacher; Rebecca Powierza wrote: This is our fourth year with CFES. It has helped our school tremendously with exposing our students about colleges, working on service projects as a whole, and definately mentoring. Our school started our mentoring program with 6th graders. They mentor our 4th graders on a weekly basis. We have now added 5th grade and we work with some of our 7th and 8th grade mentors. Our mentoring program has changed a lot of our students. A few of our 6th graders were really struggling in class both academically and behaviorally. Our mentoring program has given these students more responsibility. They now wanted to show their mentors that it is important to get your work done and act appropriately in school. This than started to change our 6th graders. They started to have more pride in their work and started to act appropriately in class, their grades started to improve. Pathways to college, helped our students learn more about college life and want to go to college at a younger age. We are fortunate to have 4 local colleges near us that we are able to visit, have college students visit our schools, and we have some programs that both the school and colleges work together on.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards the hard working staff of CFES. Thanks to their dedication and committment, my students are enrolled in more challenging course work, have applied to and have been accepted to higher tiered colleges than ever before. The teachers involved have been rejuvinated and come to work with the energy they had when they started. I just do not know where we would be without all of this positive support.
Our affiliation with CFES started with the first schools a long time ago. Our students have benefited in so many ways there isn't room to list here! The organization sponsors all areas that are most important for students to succeed: mentoring, leadership and a path to college. So, as a K-12 building we are able to reach all students in our school through at least one of the core practices. Not only do small rural schools struggle with poverty, they struggle with keeping students in school and wanting to continue school. Without CFES our students would not achieve or want to achieve success. We are so grateful for CFES and all it does for our kids!