This year, AOL awarded new grants of $10,000 each to six middle schools and high schools from Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland, and to one high school near AOL's offices in San Francisco. The AOL Aspires program also awarded renewal grants totaling $47,500 in the DC metro region and San Francisco, as well as Columbus where AOL has offices.The five grant recipients are:
Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School, Washington, DC – Scholarship Club
With its AOL Aspirations grant, Cardozo Senior High will create a fun and supportive "Scholarship Club" that will help students maneuver the college and scholarship application processes. The club will also provide incentives to increase the number of students seeking to gain entrance to college and win scholarships. The overall goal is to create a school climate where students – particularly male students – are motivated to pursue higher education and apply for scholarships, and where they feel supported in doing so.
John Philip Sousa Middle School, Washington, DC – Sousa Drumline Program
This school will use its grant to create the Sousa Drumline program, a multifaceted after-school music program that integrates music and technology with reading, writing and math skills. The program will meet every day after school, and students will first receive 30 minutes of homework help before the Drumline sessions in order to promote academic success. The Sousa Drumline will perform for at least four public audiences, and students will develop a website and student-produced promotional video. The program’s goals are for all members to achieve proficiency in reading, music and musical performance, and to improve overall academic performance.
H.D. Woodson High School, Washington, DC – AHEAD––Aspire to Higher Education, Achieve your Dream
AHEAD will match 50 freshmen with 50 juniors and seniors who will mentor the younger students on how to succeed in high school and beyond. Students will go on college tours, and mentor teams will work together on specific tasks designed to help them understand the educational path needed to pursue their career interests. Goals are to (1) raise the aspirations of the school’s most promising freshmen to encourage them to pursue a path that will lead to college; (2) solidify the commitment of the school’s most promising juniors and seniors to go on to college; and (3) foster a college-going culture within the school. Specific objectives are for 100% of seniors to graduate from high school; 90% of freshmen and juniors to progress to the next grade level; 85% of seniors to enroll in college; and 80% of freshmen and juniors to express an intent to go to college.
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School, Washington, DC (pilot grant)
With its AOL Aspires grant, Calvin Coolidge Senior High School will support a range of efforts to raise aspirations of its students. Grant funds will be used to provide all incoming freshmen (an estimated 160 students) with experiences that will help to raise their aspirations for the future in terms of education and career options. Specific components will include a mentorship and job shadowing program, early exposure to college, and a multilevel peer partnership program.
Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Evans Campus, Washington, DC (pilot grant) –Web 2.0 Learning Series – Seeing Beyond the Technology
Maya Angelou Public Charter School will use its AOL Aspires grant to initiate development and implementation of the Web 2.0 Learning Series – Seeing Beyond the Technology with students at its Evans Campus. The goal is to help students understand how Web 2.0 technology can help them reach their academic and personal goals, and use this technology as a tool to develop their aspirations and skills to successfully transition from high school to college.