Promise and Potential Grant
March 3, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –The Educational Studies Department at Illinois Wesleyan University
has received a $25,000 grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank,
Trustee and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation. The grant award will support the Promise
and Potential Partnership between Illinois Wesleyan University and Bloomington Junior
High School (BJHS). This partnership, administered by Professor Robin Leavitt at IWU
and Counselor Mary Aplington at BJHS, was formalized in 2001 with a start-up grant
from the State Farm Companies Foundation.
The primary mission of the partnership is to support the promise and potential of
all students, particularly those vulnerable students who may be struggling in school
and who may lack the social, structural or institutional support required to succeed
academically. The secondary mission of the partnership is to prepare future teachers
and other child and family professionals to work with diverse student populations.
All IWU undergraduates enrolled in Education and Social Justice, and Studying Children
and Adolescents spend two semesters mentoring and tutoring BJHS students. During
each fall and spring semester, approximately 56 IWU student tutor-mentors contribute
a total of more than 100 hours at the school working with pairs of BJHS students.
More than 100 BJHS students participate in the program each year.
A primary component of the grant is support for the integration of technology in the
"school-based" tutor-mentor program. Funds will be used to purchase mini-laptops
with educational software and a wireless classroom management application that allows
teachers and IWU tutors to make available supplemental learning experiences and resources,
retrieve students' schoolwork, and track students' progress. The technology will help
develop and support students' skills in writing and literacy, mathematics and research.
It will be used by IWU tutors and participating BJHS students to check grades and
homework posted on their teachers' Web sites, read on-line textbooks, access on-line
content areas set up by BJHS teachers and complete written assignments. These laptops
will also be used by BJHS students in the program to follow up on the previous day's
tutoring sessions or to prepare for their next session together. Use of technology
will also serve administrative needs of the Promise and Potential Program, including
the ability to store information from qualitative and quantitative assessment of the
effectiveness of the partnership.
For additional information, contact Leavitt at (309) 556-3504.
Contact: Sherry Wallace, (309) 556-3181