On February 12th, CCE Fellows and Volunteers attended the initial planning meeting for our new 2016 community partnership with Hempstead High School. The partnership between CCE at Hofstra and Hempstead High School has been named the Hempstead High School Initiative (HHSI), and is focused on creating a mutually prosperous relationship between the Hofstra and local Hempstead communities. Specifically, the initiative will involve Hofstra students travelling to Hempstead’s local High school and acting as mentors for students in need. As of Fall 2015, Hempstead School was deemed “Persistently failing” by the state of New York and categorized as under “receivership”, giving administration until the end of the 2016 school year to show improvement or be subject to takeover by a third party (CBS NY). Much of Hempstead High’s low rankings are results of their consistently below average graduation rates, most recently calculated at 37%. Through the Hempstead High School Initiative, CCE hopes to improve not only the graduation rate of Hempstead high schoolers, but to begin a partnership where Hofstra students can continue to act as mentors and in which faculty at both Hofstra and Hempstead High can work together to minimize adversity faced by local teenagers.
At our initial planning meeting, representatives from Hempstead High presented an overview of the needs of their students, listing their most prominent need as tutoring in STEM areas, as well as general study skills and assistance in fulfilling college applications. Tutors discussed their strengths and availabilities, and brainstormed ways in which more Hofstra students could be made aware of the opportunity to get involved with this community partner. Regular weekly meetings between students and mentors are scheduled to begin on February 26th and continue until the end of Hofstra’s spring semester. Mentors are expected to be available to HHS students both in person during scheduled weekly meetings and by telephone or email throughout the week, and to inspire students to apply to college and promote continuing education. Tutors are most needed in trigonometry, geometry, and science courses, but writing and general mentoring skills are also wanted. Dr. Lauren Kozol of Hofstra’s Honors College will assist Dr. Greg Maney in overseeing and facilitating the Hempstead High School Initiative, and encourages Honors students to get involved with the program. Hofstra students interested in becoming a part of HHSI should reach out to CCE Fellow Taylor Robinson at TRobin21@pride.hofstra.edu or CCE co-director Dr. Greg Maney at Gregory.M.Maney@hofstra.edu. As always, follow us on Facebook https://twww.facebook.com/hofstracce or Twitter (@HofstraCCE) for updates on community partnership and ways to get involved!