Winthrop University

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FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary

Corporation for National and Community Service

FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Winthrop University

Encouraging Educational Persistence Among Low Income High School Students

Winthrop University has identified the lack of educational attainment as the issue that it will address under the FY 2018 Community Conversations Research Grant. Increased educational attainment not only provides financial security to families, it also is related to increased levels of civic engagement. In addition, the Rock Hill School District and several nonprofit organizations are already working on this issue, giving us access to a network of professionals, parents, and community activists.

Winthrop University, through its Center for Civic Learning, will partner with the Rock Hill School District through its ParentSMART program and with two local nonprofits: the Boys and Girls Clubs of York County and A Place for Hope. The partners will identify barriers to increased educational attainment and civic engagement for low income high school students and develop, administer, and evaluate culturally appropriate materials that aim to help low income youth to overcome these barriers.

This project will use participatory research methods to develop effective outreach strategies and germane training sessions to help members of the target communities support their families as critical components to students' learning, motivation, and success. Furthermore, these efforts will also strive to build the social capital of the target communities.

Year One will feature semi-structured interviews and focus groups identify barriers and develop the strategies. Year Two will see the program's implementation in Rock Hill and another nearby district, development of a long term evaluation mechanism, and ensure the program is sustainable beyond the grant period.

The total program cost is $57,894 for Year One, which includes $4,433 in in-kind contributions. The total requested from the Corporation is $53,461 for Year One. If renewed, we anticipate requesting approximately $40,000 in Year Two.

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