Imagine Grant Helps Students Explore Postsecondary Options

By Ashley Dobson

Once counselor and Imagine Grant recipient Kimberly McGuire noticed an ongoing problem in her district, she couldn’t let it go. She knew she had to find a way to help students stay focused on their goal of college attendance.

“A lot of times counselors get pulled outside of their role during the school year. We thought, if we could start over the summer, perhaps we could inspire these students throughout the year to maintain contact with their counselors and give them the tools so they can start the research on their own,” McGuire said.

“We just see so many gaps. This is something that’s needed.”

McGuire, along with fellow Savannah-Chatham County public school counselors Kim Jackson-Allen and Chiquita Polite, developed the Post-Secondary Readiness through Intervention, Mentoring, and Exposure (PRIME) Summer College Readiness Workshop and Tour.

PRIME, funded by an Imagine Grant, featured two days of workshops and two days of college tours. The inaugural program enrolled students from nine different schools across the district, in eighth through 11th grade.

“We were trying to help them gain those tools that would help them become more college-ready, letting them know what those steps were,” McGuire said. “We were helping them identify those schools that might be a good fit for them, and just learning about the application process, and the various requirements of getting into school.”

The college tours were designed to expose the students to the broad range of schools that are available to them, even in their own backyard.

Students visited Savannah State University, a historically black university, East Georgia State College, Ogeechee Technical College, and the research-oriented Georgia Southern University.

McGuire said putting on the program was “really rewarding.”

“When I interact with the kids who were a part of the program, the first thing they say is, ‘When are we doing this again? Can we sign up for next year?’”

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