A-List’s Successful Graham Windham Scholars Program

Youth in Foster Care Dramatically Improve SAT Scores and Prepare for College with the A-List & Graham Windham Scholars Program

A-List’s Successful Partnership with Graham Windham Helps Students Reach New Academic Heights

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A-List Education (A-List), leading experts in standardized test preparation and college admissions consulting, has seen remarkable results from its unique Scholars Program established in partnership with Graham Windham, an agency dedicated to caring for and educating New York City’s under-served children. Since its inception in 2008 the top students, all in foster care with Graham Windham, have achieved average SAT score increases of 235 points and significant GPA improvements, enabling them to apply to colleges of their choice. Such measurable success has helped A-List design custom programs for other non-profits including Harlem Children’s Zone, Boys & Girls Club of America and Year Up.

Seventeen-year-old Shakeyma, a senior at a high school in downtown Brooklyn joined the Scholars Program in August 2008. Her total SAT score has since increased by 280 points. Shakeyma, who recently gained admission to Dowling College, Paul Smith’s College and Mercyhurst College says, “With help from A-List I was able to get good grades in high school, prepare for and take my SAT, and apply to college so that I can further my education. They have also helped me become a more independent person.”

Funded by private donors, the Scholars Program was developed to address the alarming lack of educational opportunity for youth in foster care. Few former foster care youth enroll in college, and even fewer earn degrees. According to a study by Casey Family Programs, 70% of former foster care teens want to attend college but less than 50% graduate from high school, only 13% enroll in higher education and approximately 2% obtain bachelor’s degrees.

“Our program is a practical solution to this postsecondary attainment gap. Traditionally, college access programs set college admission as their ultimate objective,” said Scott Farber, president and co-founder of A-List. “This program recognizes that a student’s admission to college is a significant accomplishment, but one that is only the first milestone in the path towards graduating with a diploma.”

A-List drew on years of experience and its unique approach to education to build a curriculum designed to help students reach individualized academic goals. As juniors, scholars attend weekly tutoring sessions with A-List instructors developing essential English, math and study skills before focusing on SAT preparation. Graham Windham’s team of educational coordinators provides students with much needed educational advocacy and collaborates with A-List staff to ensure students are on track to graduate. As seniors, they receive guidance on college selection, applications, and scholarship searches. Scholars also participate in independent studies, learning critical research skills required for college-level success. Continued mentorship and tutoring is provided to students throughout their college careers to ensure they have the support network necessary to graduate.

The program uses financial incentives to prioritize educational progress in the form of attendance-based stipends and performance-based bonuses. It also offers a community of stability and positive influence through peers and dedicated staff. Scholars participate in cultural activities during monthly enrichment sessions allowing them to bond in a setting outside the classroom. These sessions have included visits to neighborhoods of cultural interest, museums and theatrical performances. Through the Scholars Program, A-List is not only helping students to successfully graduate from college, but also inspiring them to reach their full potential in all areas of life.

“Youth in foster care have urgent educational and personal needs. Graham Windham is deeply committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for all them. Thanks to the generous support of two anonymous donors, we created a one-of-a kind program with our partners at A-List to dive deeper into the needs of a small but representative group of students. This critically important educational initiative has provided our scholars with firm academic foundations and necessary survival skills to prepare for successful post-secondary degrees and bright, self-sufficient futures,” said Poul Jensen, president and CEO of Graham Windham.

About A-List Education

A-List Education (www.alisteducation.com) is an innovative provider of educational services for students, schools, and non-profit organizations. The company is dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals and successfully prepare for undergraduate and graduate studies. A-List’s services include standardized test preparation, academic tutoring and college admissions advising. Through private tutoring, classroom-based programs and online services, such as Vocab Videos (www.vocabvideos.com) and College Essay Organizer (www.collegeessayorganizer.com), A-List has helped thousands of students through its unique and highly effective programs and services.

About Graham Windham

Graham Windham (www.graham-windham.org) has been a leader in pioneering programs for New York City’s disadvantaged children for over 200 years. Since it was founded in 1806, the agency has been dedicated to educating all children in care and preparing them for lives of self-sufficiency. Today, literacy and education remain core values at Graham Windham. The organization operates 18 community-based sites and provides over 50 educational and social service programs to more than 7,000 children and families in New York City’s neediest communities as well as The Graham School Campus, which houses a residential treatment center and a Special Act School (K-12).

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