Story & Photo by Selena Williams
Rose State has adopted two schools: Willow Brook Elementary and Telstar Elementary. These schools have been a part of the adopted school program since its inception in July 2001. The program was created with a purpose to provide at-risk elementary students with the proper learning resources such as tutoring and mentoring programs.
Director of Special Services and Student Life Joanne Stafford said the program was not her idea. She said Rose State’s President at the time, Dr. James Cook, was concerned about the two struggling schools.
“Though they are in Oklahoma City Public School District, they sit on the border of Midwest City, and are in our technical district,” Stafford said. “He thought that we might be able to share expertise with these schools.”
Stafford said Rose State assists with tutoring. In the past, Rose State has had science and math professors visit the schools, but it does not occur on a regular basis. Stafford explained the resources that Rose State volunteers share is their time.
Stafford facilitates the connection between Rose State and the schools; and the volunteers that are supervised by the school principal and/or classroom teacher.
Stafford said the volunteers must go to the Oklahoma City Public Schools’ website and complete a volunteer form before they can go out to the schools.
“A background check is done, and once they are approved they may contact the principal and arrange their volunteer times and duties,” Stafford said. She explained regulations are put in place by the requirements of OKCPS. Stafford thinks the elementary students will have some big takeaways from the program.“
"I believe it’s a way for these young students to begin to create a future picture in their minds that includes successful completion of their education,” Stafford said. “Interaction with real college students who serve as role models are great inspirations for the students at these schools. Many of the students do not have family who have attended college; some of the adults in their lives may not have finished high school. Our nursing students and dental hygiene students visit the schools each semester; they either tutor in reading or have health-related presentations and activities.”
Although the nursing and dental hygiene students of Rose State visit the schools each semester, any student can volunteer for the program.
Willow Brook Principal Glenna Berry, appreciates the adopted school program.
“My students really benefit from the volunteer tutors at Rose State,” Berry said. Stafford said the Rose State tutors mostly teach reading and math.
As far as sponsorship is concerned, Stafford said in the past, Rose State has worked with a number of community businesses and organizations. There are currently no community partners. She said this program would be a great project for a club to take on or Raider Relevance students to integrate into their required service hours.
Stafford explained the focus has been to plant the seed of education and encourage the students not to be fearful of school or teachers. For more information or to volunteer, stop by the Learning Resource Center, Room 106 or contact Stafford at joannestafford@ rose.edu.
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.