Upward Bound

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The Upward Bound Project at ASU is a federally funded college preparatory program that serves potential first-generation and/or low-income college students. ASU Assistant Dean of Students Ronald Briggs discusses the project.

JOSE CARDENAS: The upward bound project at ASU is a federally-funded college preparatory program that serves potential low income and/or first generation college students. With me to talk about the upward bound project is Ronald Briggs, assistant dean of students at ASU. Dean Briggs, thanks for joining us.

RONALD BRIGGS: Thank you very much.

JOSE CARDENAS: This program has been around for a long time. And it is a proven success. Give us a sketch of its history and how it has been implemented here in Arizona.

RONALD BRIGGS: Sure. So, very -- been around since 1964. The three programs originally started with upward bound, talent search -- support services that work with students on the post secondary level. Working at Arizona state university for this particular program has been great because it directly aligns with the university mission in regards to recognizing the students who we include and not exclude. That is a great portion of it. Upper bound program, in regards to the success, this is a program that is geared towards working with high school students for college preparation. Focusing on tutoring, college preparation, things and resources that students will need in preparation for going to higher education.

JOSE CARDENAS: What age or grade level do you start?

RONALD BRIGGS: Great question. Ninth grade for upward bound students. Ages 13 to about 19. Students are eligible from the age of 13, and from 9th grade up until their 12th grade year.

JOSE CARDENAS: Do they stay in the program? If you have somebody who starts in ninth grade, are they there all of the way through?

RONALD BRIGGS: That is the plan.

JOSE CARDENAS: What is it that you talk to the kids about?

RONALD BRIGGS: What's really great, we have staff that is in the schools working with the students from the college preparedness, academic advising, actual course tutoring, focusing on the science, the math, technology, things of that nature that is really getting students prepared for what they will be expecting in college. And another great aspect of it is that we have programs which we bring students to campus where they are getting like a college course feel and in the summertime, they're actually on campus for about a month where they're actually receiving, taking classes on campus.

JOSE CARDENAS: We have some pictures we have been putting up on the screen. Are these the kids at ASU campus?

RONALD BRIGGS: Yes. Some of the different programs that we have on campus are really major fairs that focus on students thinking about what they want to do --

JOSE CARDENAS: And this would be when they're juniors --

RONALD BRIGGS: This is for all of our students. Ideal goal is to have the students thinking about this at ninth grade as opposed to waiting until the 12th grade year.

JOSE CARDENAS: What interaction do they have in the high school? You send counselors in to talk with them --

RONALD BRIGGS: We work with the staff and faculty in the high schools as well as provide tutors for our students. After-school programming that focuses in those specific subjects, the math, science, writing, English.

JOSE CARDENAS: And as I understand it, there are only a limited number of spots that are available for students to get involved.

RONALD BRIGGS: Very true. So, with the Federal Government, the fact that this is a federally-funded program, funded to serve 142 students. And it is a program that is really, as we say trio works because of the retention and graduation rate is pretty high. In the past year, we graduated 98% of our students. In regards to college entrance, over 90% of our students who graduate, they actually enroll into college.

JOSE CARDENAS: And is it 142 new participants each year or is that the maximum that you can have at any one time all four grades?

RONALD BRIGGS: Maximum for the whole time. And as we expect, with expectations that we are graduating students, those students are transitioning to ASU, we want to bring in more students.

JOSE CARDENAS: Spots open up by virtue of kids graduating from the program.


JOSE CARDENAS: How do you recruit --

RONALD BRIGGS: Various programs at ASU. We work with high-school aged students. Also an opportunity of working with targeted schools -- we are actually in those schools. We are promoting the information not only to the faculty and staff, but also to the students and the family members.

JOSE CARDENAS: In terms of staffing, how many people do you have in the schools and what is it that they do on a daily basis?

RONALD BRIGGS: The staff, I believe, we have about five instructors, and those instructors are the ones providing subject courses, the English, writing, math, science.

JOSE CARDENAS: And how do you deal with -- and we have talked about this with other guests on our show, in terms of specifically the Hispanic population, particularly children of recent immigrants where the thought of sending -- college may not be something -- in fact, you are focused on first generation students so you run into this. There may be cultural issues as well. How do you deal with that?

RONALD BRIGGS: I think in regards to on the high school level, interaction that we have with the family members, there are programs where we engage the parents as well as the students and having conversations of college preparedness, what are the opportunities, what are the necessary needs and data that one would need to prepare for college. That is one of the great piece in the resources that we have within ASU, educational outreach side does a lot of work with high school students, elementary students, college preparedness. When they transfer to college, student support services there and other services, educational outreach -- get students acclimated to the university

JOSE CARDENAS: Is there any direct communication with the parents or solely through the students?

RONALD BRIGGS: No, there is communication with the parents. Keeping the parents involved. Saturday programs, there are opportunities where we invite the parents in and we are having those conversations. Programs specifically for the parents. Thinking about scholarships, how to research scholarships, how to finance your education.

JOSE CARDENAS: And this is a birthday for some of the programs. 50th anniversary.


JOSE CARDENAS: These are great programs.


JOSE CARDENAS: We are grateful for you to show up and talk to us about it. Thank you so much.

RONALD BRIGGS: Thank you very much.

JOSE CARDENAS: And that's our show for this evening. From all of us here at "Horizonte" and eight, thank you for watching. I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening. MM Captioning Performed by LNS Captioning www.lnscaptioning.com

VIDEO: Funding for "Horizonte" is made possible by contributions by the friends of eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station.

Ronald Briggs : ASU Assistant Dean of Students

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