Friday, February 10, 2012

Helping Students Like Nia Gipson Prepare for Lifelong Success

Editor's Note: This year marks the 45th anniversary of McKinley's College Prep program! To celebrate, we'll be featuring current student and alumni success stories on the blog and our ASM Alumni Club facebook page. Up first is 8th grader Nia Gipson!

8th grader Nia Gipson calls McKinley's College Prep
program "the best refresher for kids in middle school."
At Ada S. McKinley, we believe that every student, regardless of economic background, is capable of tremendous achievements, given the right academic support and guidance. That is why our Early Intervention College Preparation and Placement Program provides intensive tutoring services to help more than 300 low-income, middle-school students build the skills they need to prepare for and successfully obtain college educations.

Each year we see our students make great gains in their overall academic performance—nearly 90 percent of our students improve their performance in reading and mathematics by one grade level and 97 percent advance to the next grade level. Not only do these students have greater access to selective colleges, they also have developed academic proficiencies and learning skills that raise their likelihood of success in postsecondary education.

Perhaps no student more embodies this record of achievement and promise of future success than 8th grader Nia Gipson. She has participated in the Early Intervention Program since seventh grade and is one of the very best students in her class at Drake Elementary School. She credits the Early Intervention Program with helping her get there. “They helped me tremendously, so I could get to the top of my class,” Gipson recalled. In addition to participating in afterschool tutoring, Gipson also attended the Early Intervention Program’s Summer Learning Academy this past summer. Gipson said that the Summer Learning Academy helped her gain skills in reading, math and art and describes the program as “the best refresher for kids in middle school.”

Tutor Chequela Beauchamp, who regularly works with Gipson in afterschool tutoring and taught her in the Summer Learning Academy, can’t help but be struck by Gipson’s huge enthusiasm for learning. “She has been very eager to learn many new things. She… has never given up on anything.” An always active and engaged student, Gipson for her part says she can’t even pick a favorite subject because she “likes them all.”

Today Gipson is already thinking about college. She “definitely plans” to major in political science and hopes to be a lawyer or writer. Although she’s narrowed down her college choices to Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Howard, she is also facing an important decision about what high school to attend next year.

Thanks to her exemplary academic record, she received a four-year scholarship from the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund to attend a Chicago high school of her choice. She is currently deciding between St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, Jones College Preparatory High School, Northside College Preparatory High School, Providence St. Mel High School, and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.

Ada S. McKinley is honored to help students like Gipson and her classmates get the assistance they need to forge extraordinary futures. Using the critical academic skills they learn today, our students move on to pursue later success in high school and college, building strong careers and embarking on productive, flourishing lives. Together their achievements work to create opportunities for not only themselves, but their families, communities, and city, building a better Chicago for all of us.

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If you or someone you know is a McKinley College Prep alum, we invite you to join the ASM Alumni Club. Join today to reconnect with other alums, learn about today's program and find out about the latest McKinley events. To join call Kikanza Harris, Office of Development, at 312-385-2013 or visit our Facebook alumni group.

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