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1999--WEEA Program Implementation Grants
Equity for Young Women with Disabilities
The project is developing a more effective curriculum and transition-planning model to increase gender equity in employment and career preparation for young women with disabilities. The four-year program (1999-2003) seeks to increase the work experiences of these students during high school, introduce them to nontraditional occupations for women, bring them in contact with adult mentors, and develop training materials on how to engage friends and family to develop vocational contacts.
Enhancing the participants self-esteem is a core component of this program located at the Montana Center on Disabilities at Montana State University. Mentoringconnecting high school women with disabilities with successfully employed womenis one means the project uses to accomplish this goal. However, finding women who could be strong mentors has also been one of the projects greatest challenges. It has responded by matching one mentor with up to four high school students, rather than the one-to-one matches it had intended. One of the surprising lessons learned by the project thus far is that mentors need training in disability awareness and self-advocacy themselves. An unexpected outcome has been the creation of a support network among the mentors.
This project addresses two major barriers to Latinas participation in higher education: low educational and career expectations of girls and their parents and lack of knowledge about how to prepare for, finance, and succeed in college. The project is providing girls in grades 710 with guidance, direction, counseling, and positive reinforcement; providing mothers with guidance so they can support their daughters and explore their own educational opportunities; creating an educators institute for teachers, counselors, and principals to enhance their knowledge, desire, and ability to improve the preparation for higher education of young Latinas; and producing a comprehensive curriculum guide and training materials.
The program works to strengthen the instructional program for girls in reading, math and career options and assists teachers in working with the girls mothers on academic support activities including homework support and mentoring. The participants in this four-year project (1999-2003) are selected from families with no previous experience with college who also have economic need.
The Educational Enhancement for Mothers and Daughters Program at the University of Texas was the model for this program, which provides direct service to 100 participants50 fifth grade mother-daughter pairs. The participants are Spanish-speaking, limited English proficient girls and their mothers from three elementary schools in San Mateo County in the Redwood City School District (Fair Oaks School, Garfield Charter School, and the Hawes School). The four-year project (1999-2003) focuses on building girls self-esteem, orienting them to higher education and professional careers, improving the quality of academic preparation for higher education, and increasing parental commitment through active involvement in the education of their children and the youth of their community.
The greatest challenge faced by this project has been maintaining consistent participation of mothers and daughters in their first year of the program. It has addressed this challenge in a number of ways, including having a site coordinator at each school who facilitates the involvement of students and parents, using the parents first (home) language as a means of communicating in meetings, scheduling university field trips and sessions at which mothers tell their life stories on Saturdays, and developing alumni Mother Leaders who nurture and reinforce the participation of new mothers.
The project leaders have found that this is a powerful program model that makes a significant impact on the participants. The girls explore career options that they had not before even considered. The mothers learn what they need to do to help their children achieve their academic aspirations. They also discover that they have something to learn from each other and that they can pursue their own educational goals.
The Joint Awareness Non-bias Education Program
The Joint Awareness Non-Bias Education (JANE) Program seeks to ensure the success of all children through a programmatic emphasis on equity and excellence. The goal of the project is to achieve a demonstrable increase in gender equitable practices in all of the Chicago Public Schools and communities. The four-year project (1999-2003) is co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools, the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Chicago Women in Trades/Instituto del Progreso Latino, and LaPenseur Youth Services, Inc.
Proposed for implementation in all Chicago Public Schools, the project will complement and refine existing activities conducted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. The project will produce a systemwide gender equity policy developed through consultation with school personnel, local school councils, community groups, and Chicago Public Schools Chief of Policy for preschool, elementary school, and high school teachers; school personnel; and community members. Additionally, the project will develop strategies to increase awareness of educational practices that promote gender equity in the classroom.
In addition to periodic feedback and formative assessment, a professor from the University of Illinois will also conduct a formal evaluation of the project. The results will be disseminated to local and state participants as well as at seminars at professional organizations.
This project seeks to improve the participants overall quality of life by enhancing their self-esteem, job training skills, and work force preparation through a school-to-work program. The four-year project (1999-2003) is housed at Alcorn State University, the oldest historically Black land-grant university in the U.S. The surrounding area in the southwest region of Mississippi is one of the most economically and socially depressed rural areas in the country. The project promotes gender equity in education in the fourteen counties served by the university through its cooperative extension program.
Women, Violence, and Adult Education
The Women, Violence and Adult Education Project in Boston, Massachusetts, is a three-year poject (1999-2002) providing effective literary services for low-income women learners who have experienced violence in their lives. The model of innovative staff and program development, collaboration with other community agencies, and the development and dissemination of teacher/student generated educational materials is unique to World Education and has emerged from years of experience in adult literacy education.
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