The Vassar College Urban Education Initiative (VCUEI) has proudly worked with the Poughkeepsie City School District since 2003, and recently expanded to include students from nearby districts such as Arlington, Hyde Park, and Newburgh. Located in Vassar’s historic Maria Mitchell Old Observatory building, the office coordinates faculty, students, and administrators who are interested in outreach to K-12 schools.
Our programs aim to achieve the following goals:
- Improve student academic and social outcomes in the city of Poughkeepsie and surrounding towns;
- Improve community access to Vassar resources including but not limited to: cultural resources, faculty academic support, and technological knowledge and resources;
- Improve community literacy;
- Prepare students from underrepresented groups for college admittance and success;
- Increase communication and collaboration between and among institutions of higher education, local schools, parents, and students;
- Train Vassar student volunteers to deliver academic support to elementary, middle, and high school students and apply their academic learning in real-world settings;
- Partner with local community stakeholders using sustainable engagement strategies and models;
- Increase teacher and faculty participation in VCUEI programs and activities; and
- Cultivate and strengthen collaborative relationships with the Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD) and other community stakeholders.
VCUEI pursues these objectives through the following three programs. Learn more about each individual program:
- Exploring College
- Vassar After School Tutoring (VAST)
- Vassar English Language Learners Outreach Program (VELLOP)
Each semester, VCUEI recruits over 100 Vassar College students to staff these programs to tutor and mentor K-12 students. These include student volunteers from across all spectrums of student life, such as Education students, students in the sciences, student athletes, non-traditional college students, and international students.
Vassar remains committed to ensuring access for qualified students of varying backgrounds in order to foster a student body that reflects the diversity of today’s society. First-generation college students, young people from urban areas, and the new wave of young immigrants constitute the fastest-growing segments of the college-age population. In recent years, the College has welcomed its most socio-economically diverse freshman classes in its history: Fifty-eight percent of the students in the Class of 2016 receive some form of financial aid from the College, and nearly 37% identify as students of color. Outreach programs like those supplied by the VCUEI help non-traditional students at Vassar feel at home in the community and support an inclusive campus climate where institutional practices are aligned with pedagogy.
K-12 students from Poughkeepsie are excited to sign up for VCUEI programs and meet Vassar College mentors! Our middle and high school students are engaged in various community activities from school sports to teen dance crews to religious youth groups to working in family-owned restaurants. They strive for success in their schoolwork, have big aspirations for college, and love bonding with their Vassar mentors. Their initiative and leadership stands out among their peers. To learn more about the Poughkeepsie City School District, check out the website: http://www.poughkeepsieschools.org/
Our programs are run by post-baccalaureate Education Outreach Fellows who are recent graduates from Vassar College, often students who studied Education and demonstrate a passion for living and working in the city of Poughkeepsie.
Current Education Outreach Fellows:
- Weintana Abraha '11, Exploring College. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Max Cordeiro '16, VAST. email@example.com
- Cindy Wang '16, VELLOP. firstname.lastname@example.org
For any questions, comments, or concerns about VCUEI, please contact the program director Phoebe Magee '09, email@example.com