A collaboration between several partners will bring a mentoring program targeting students transitioning to middle school and high school in county public schools.


A collaboration between several partners will bring a mentoring program targeting students transitioning to middle school and high school in county public schools.

The mission is two-fold: in the short-term to empower academic achievement and in the long-term to broaden horizons.

“This is great for the district,” said Lori Price, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

The “Pathways to Success” program is a collaboration of Gulf Coast State College, the college’s Foundation and the Alfred I. DuPont Foundation, adhering to a common mission to provide opportunities for better communities.

The template for Pathways to Success is very similar to the state Take Stock in Children; each matches students with mentors and academic advisers while students and parents agree to attend workshops and other events aimed at reaching educational goals.

The overarching theme increasing the rate of promotion from middle to high school to college and bolstering avenues to college by creating what could be called a village effect, bringing parental involvement and mentorship boosted by information from teachers, administrators and counselors at the schools.

The gold at the end of the road is a full two-year scholarship to GCSC.

Six students each from Gulf and Franklin counties will be selected for the program.

Students must complete an application packet to be considered and a committee weighs applications and screens students based on several criteria.

Making up each selection committee will be a school-based/district administrator, guidance counselor and a GCSC academic transition specialist, or “navigator.”

A priority is identifying students based on criteria such as whether they would be the first generation of their household to attend college, need, grades, conduct, attendance, participation on school activities, parental involvement and the application packet.

Students, by signing an agreement, pledge to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or more, remain alcohol and drug free, maintain good behavior, attend college readiness workshops, follow a sequenced plan of coursework (particularly in math and science) to ensure readiness for college and maintain a willingness to participate in all elements of the program.

Parents pledge to nurture a supportive atmosphere for academic achievement and to attend workshops and other activities offered to enhance student participation and agree to ensure transportation to workshops/events as necessary to ensure the child’s success.

A key ingredient to Pathways to Success is the mentoring component.

Each student will be assigned a local mentor with whom they will meet regularly and who will be engaged with the student through the first year of college.

While the ideal is that each mentor will remain with their student through to high school graduation, the reality is that mentors could change, though the program administrators will do as much as possible to avoid any change.

In addition, each student will be assigned an academic transition advisor who will conduct meetings/workshops, monitor the student’s progress and advise on course selection and reaching the student’s academic goals.

Finally, a representative from the student’s school will provide access to mentor and advisor for teacher input, grade information and intervention information to push the goal of graduating high school and attending Gulf Coast State College.

Price said the district is currently working on putting the people in place to facilitate the program, including identifying mentors and potential students.