Spotlight on El Monte regional coordinator, Arlene LeGaspe

October 4, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

img_3795Not many know the story of how Partnership Scholars Program spread from Lennox, California to the community of El Monte in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. But Arlene LeGaspe knows it well. A native to El Monte, Ms. LeGaspe helped lead the way in expanding the burgeoning college-access program, thanks to the advocacy of former Charles T. Kranz Intermediate School principal, Sal Gumina. Mr. Gumina was inspired to replicate the program after meeting PSP founder Glenn Langer at Lennox Middle School. He saw PSP’s growing success in a community he equated with El Monte and wanted to take the show on the road. In 1999, with the support of new funding, Partnership Scholars was launched at Kranz Intermediate with Arlene LeGaspe at the helm.

When approached with the prospect of a new mentorship program to support students in their pursuit of higher education, LeGaspe got right on board. “The principal [Les Mason] asked if I could do it,” says LeGaspe. “Anything I could do for the kids was fine by me.” She had been a teacher at Kranz since 1992 and saw a critical need for a college-access support for students at her school. She and five other mentors took on ten scholars and the program took off from there. Her initial involvement centered around bringing mentors on board and finding qualified students to receive scholarships. The program continued to grow under the leadership of the next principal and current Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, Ray Andry, and today enjoys great support under the current principal, Sean Grycel. With the program’s expansion, LeGaspe has been instrumental in forging relationships with the El Monte high schools, coordinating between administration, mentors, students and the community.

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Moving on up: PSP Scholars transition to high school

October 4, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

high-schoolSchool is back in session and we’re looking forward to a year of learning and growing for all of our scholars. For rising freshman, the transition to high school can be challenging as students navigate a new school and more rigorous coursework. Many 9th graders have been finding the leap from middle to high school less overwhelming thanks to preparation and advice from their PSP mentors.

Scholar Andy P. transitioned from Kranz Intermediate to South El Monte High School this year and says the transition was smooth for him. “At the start of the school year, I was confused about my classes,” says Andy. “PSP helped me get my classes sorted out and get my classes on time.” Lizeth V. is the lone PSP scholar at her new high school, Lawndale High, but has felt very supported by her mentor, Jessica Lawson, who helped her prepare, talking with her through the transition about what she needs to do in high school to apply for colleges in the coming years.

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Farewell seniors!

August 19, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

dsc_0371Congratulations to our graduated seniors who are all starting college this fall! Our new Partnership Scholars Program alumni will be attending schools across California and across the country. Scholars will be attending almost every UC including Berkeley and UCLA, George Washington University in Washington, DC, De Paul University in Chicago and more. Read on for a full list.

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5th Annual College Retreat

August 18, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Ukiah cohort tours USC's campus

Ukiah cohort tours USC’s campus

PSP’s rising juniors and seniors gathered together at University of Southern California on Friday, August 5 to kick off Partnership Scholars Program’s 5th Annual College Retreat. This year the retreat was expanded from two days to three. Students partook in a host of workshops led by experts to prepare and equip them with the tools they will need for the college application process.

Scholars from the PSP cohorts in Lennox, El Monte, Hawthorne, Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Ukiah traveled to campus and stayed overnight in USC’s dormitories, allowing students experience a taste of campus life. For many participants, the weekend afforded them a chance to engage and network with other high school students experiencing similar circumstances and grappling with common concerns. Along with scholars, 10 of PSP’s mentors and PSP staff supported the retreat, allowing in-depth learning to take place for scholars and volunteers alike.

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Spotlight on Fort Bragg mentor Larry Sawyer

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Congressman Jared Huffman with Partnership Scholars Students and mentor, Larry Sawyer

Congressman Jared Huffman with Partnership Scholars students and mentor, Larry Sawyer

Five years ago, Larry Sawyer heard about Partnership Scholars Program from a few friends who had been involved as mentors and he thought to himself, “Well, maybe I will do this later.” But there was an immediate need for new mentors to take on the growing number of students in the Fort Bragg area, and Larry decided not to put it off and stepped up to the plate. Larry was paired with one student that year, Damien, and two years later took on a second scholar, Ian.

Even though the boys were a year apart, Larry knew it was a good pairing. Larry has now seen Ian graduate, with Damien preparing for graduation in the coming year. What he’s gained from the two boys is immeasurable. “The one-on-one and one-on-two small group sharing, driving to and from places and the check-ins” are what have been most important to Larry. “It’s good to form relationships with people of other ages than ourselves,” says Larry. “I don’t have my own kids, so this gives me an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise.” Larry emphasizes the benefit of sharing experiences with those younger than himself, gaining their life perspective and giving back, imparting his own wisdom. “It’s healthy for them to have other older people in their lives,” says Larry, pointing out that mentors offer supplemental guidance to what they receive from their parents.

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Spotlight on new mentor Michelle Brantley

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Michelle Brantley and two of her scholars, Verenice and Kinza.

Michelle Brantley and two of her scholars, Verenice and Kinza at an LA Dodgers game.

Being a new mentor can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Suddenly, you are responsible for having a profound impact on the trajectory of another person’s life. While people encounter mentorship opportunities in different ways throughout their lifetime, establishing a one-on-one mentor-scholar relationship creates a new kind of bond unlike any other.

In her first year working as a secretary at Lennox Middle School, Michelle Brantley felt compelled to finally find out what that special bond was all about. After a colleague of hers handed Michelle a pamphlet and gave her the run-down on why PSP was a mentorship program that really made a difference, Michelle was convinced. This was the year she was going to do it. This was her chance to be a mentor.

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PSP Scholars Taking Advantage of Summer Programs with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

CTY - Erick Pech

Lennox scholar Erikk Pech at his CTY summer program at Seattle University.

In an effort to provide scholars with college preparatory opportunities, Partnership Scholars Program has enjoyed a collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) since 2012. The CTY Academic Exploration program is an academically challenging summer learning opportunity available to students 7th grade and above. In the spring, PSP arranges for 7th and 8th graders to take a challenging standardized test, the SCAT, to qualify for participation in the program. Once qualified, students are given the opportunity to engage in three weeks of academically rigorous courses offered on designated college campuses over the summer.

“One of the most memorable experiences I had through PSP was being able to participate in Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth,” says recent PSP graduate Raul Estrella. “In this program I was able to spend a summer at UC Santa Cruz and take actual college courses, while experiencing the college scene by dorming and participating in many different activities. I made many friends through this once in a lifetime experience, and I will actually be dorming with one of these friends that I made at CTY.”

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Congratulations class of 2016!

June 14, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Ukiah graduation

Congratulations to all of our PSP graduates! You did it!

Our 42 seniors are on their way to college and we couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments over their six years as scholars. Though they are embarking on a new and exciting chapter in their lives with many challenges ahead, we know that all of our PSP graduates will encounter great success in college and beyond.

See what this year’s graduates wrote about their experiences and plans for the future!

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PSP Goes out to the Dodgers Ballgame!

June 5, 2016 in Uncategorized by Maria Hernandez

FullSizeRenderThanks to a partnership with the L.A. Dodgers Foundation, 100 Partnership Scholars, mentors and family spent Friday, June 3 watching the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves!

We were there for Dre Dayz, an event that L.A. Dodger Andre Ethier supports. Another benefit of this partnership, PSP scholars got to be featured on the big screen over the ballpark!

The Foundation provided a special treat to some of PSP’s highest achieving students. Students who earned a 4.0 or better on their report cards were invited for a special evening in a VIP suite at the stadium. The L.A. Dodgers Foundation gave these students new sneakers and Dodger gear and they got to tour the stadium and go down on the field!

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Toast to PSP fundraiser

May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Partnership Scholars Program hosted our first fundraising event on Friday, May 6, at King Harbor Brewing Company in Redondo Beach. We are grateful to King Harbor for hosting us and to California United Bank for underwriting this event. Nearly 30 supporters including mentors, alumni and donors came together to toast PSP, enjoying locally made pizza and beer. Attendees heard from PSP Past Board Chair Bruce McDaniel and class of 2006 graduate Sara Potter. Sara spoke movingly about her journey to achieving a college education with the guiding hand of PSP and her mentor, whom she has continued to stay close with 10 years later. Thanks to all who joined and supported us, the event raised critical funds to support scholars in Lennox and throughout the PSP community!  IMG_2973