Total enrollment of 26 when program could enroll 44; does it need additional leadership help from high schools and College to help with underserved population and others?
[A BLOG SPECIAL REPORT.] President Penelope Wills reported to the District Governing Board at its June meeting that a total of 26 high school students had enrolled in the LEAD program this year. There were 11 students from the Verde Valley and 15 students from Prescott. Wills gave few other details regarding the program. (See video below.) She said the program will continue.
The eight-week LEAD program is intended to pave the path for students who express interest in college but for various reasons might never make it. It was designed in cooperation with the Yavapai County Education Service Agency specifically for graduates who face distractions in their life outside of school that may create barriers to continuing their education.
Former Yavapai College Vice President for Instruction and Student Development, Dr. Stuart Blacklaw, said: “The Lead seeks to create an environment that leads to a successful start in college. Some students have no trouble moving from high school graduation in the spring to college matriculation in the fall. Others find those intervening months filled with distractions. The Lead program is designed to move college-minded students directly to campus after high school graduation, before life elements deter them from their college aspirations.”
Given that the program it is free and aimed at a particular segment of the high school graduates who without it might not attend college without it, does it need additional emphasis by the administration to obtain full enrollment?
The blog is concerned that all 44 possible seats were not filled in any of the three years of the program. This is a concern because the program can apparently provide educational opportunities for the underserved population of students that Wills and others claim they worry about.
Background: When former Yavapai Community College Vice President for Instruction and Student Development Stuart Blacklaw created the LEAD program, it was designed to accept from 15 to 22 students annually in the program on each side of Mingus Mountain (total 30 to 44). Participation is completely free for students — the costs of courses, books, meals and activities are all covered. Students have the opportunity to earn 6 college credits and participate in college preparation activities.
Housing difference: The program is offered at both the Verde Valley and Prescott campuses. However, there is one big difference between the settings of the program: On-campus housing and meal plans are provided for students participating at the Prescott campus. No housing was provided for students participating on the Verde Campus. Participants are responsible for their transportation to and from the program – any transportation required during program activities will be provided.
2015 Enrollment: In 2015 the program enrolled 12 students on the Verde Campus, according to Executive Dean Dr. James Perey. He reported that there were 3 students from Camp Verde and 9 from Mingus Union High School. There were no applications coming from Sedona Red Rock High School. On the Prescott side, where students are provided free dormitory rooms and food, it attracted 24 students. Of the 24 students who are living in dorms on the Prescott side of the County, two are from Camp Verde High School and two from Mingus Union High School.
2016 Enrollment: In 2016 there were 14 students enrolled on the Verde Campus for the LEAD program. For the first time, it included two students from Sedona Redrock high school. The Blog has been unable to obtain any information about the number of students enrolled on the Prescott side, if any. Because of the absence of any press releases regarding the LEAD program on the Prescott side of the County, the Blog assumes it was not run on that side in 2016. In addition, a request for information about 2016 funding the program made to the Foundation was ignored.
2017 Enrollment: President Penelope Wills reported to the District Governing Board at its June 13, 2017 meeting that 11 students had enrolled in the program on the Verde Campus. She also reported that 15 students had enrolled on the Prescott Campus. You may view her one-minute report to the Governing Board on the video below.
Financing: In 2015 “The Yavapai College Foundation provided over $60,000 to fund the LEAD program in its entirely because we feel strongly that helping at-risk youth who have academic potential and want to attend college overcome personal challenges is an important step in helping the next generation succeed,” said Paul Kirchgraber, Director of Development for the Foundation. It received a substantial amount of grant money from the American Association of University women.
However, since its first year, neither the College nor the Foundation have provided any financial details. Dr. Blacklaw indicated in 2015 that the College could use federal TRIO funding to support the project. Unless the College releases financial data regarding how this program is supported, the residence of Yavapai County will be left in the dark.
See Dr. Blacklaws’ six-minute explanation of the program below.