Giving Compass’ Take:
• Collegiate Academies, a network of six public charter schools in Louisiana, sent seven graduating classes with scholarships in self-care and mental health supports to college.
• While programs such as these are critical for students, they are only available through these charter networks. How can donors in the education space expand mental health support partnerships between other high schools and colleges?
A network of six public charter schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Collegiate has sent seven graduating classes off to pursue bachelor’s degrees. In that time, the schools’ leaders have learned that their graduates’ unmet mental health needs are a major barrier to success in higher education. But with careful planning and the largesse of an anonymous donor, Collegiate is sending its class of 2019 to college bolstered by mental health supports.
Collegiate Academies’ first school, Sci Academy, opened its doors to a founding class of ninth-graders in 2008. At graduation, 97 percent of the class had been accepted to a four-year college or university. The network has opened five more schools in the years since then; three have been in operation long enough to graduate their founding classes.
To bridge this gap, as the number of Collegiate alums grew, in 2012 the network launched CA Next, a program to support its graduates in college. A staff of seven helps with everything from financial aid and enrollment to troubleshooting issues that come up as graduates make the transition. The program holds alumni events, visits graduates on campus and collects data to help network high schools better prepare students.
Challenges range from difficulty finding the right support services in a new city to accessing affordable insurance for students who are no longer eligible for Medicaid when they turn 18. So this year, the program has added two part-time mental health practitioners. Any alum can ask for one-on-one counseling from the new staffers or for a campus referral.
Read the full article about scholarships in self-care by Beth Hawkins a The 74.
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