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Upward Bound Receives Funding for Existing and New Programs

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The Upward Bound Program at Plattsburgh State will be increasing the number of high school students it will provide services to in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties for at least the next four years.

Elaine Leavitt, director of the program, said that the local Upward Bound program has received notification that it has been awarded a total of $767,941 each year for the next four years to provide service for 163 high school students in ninth through twelfth grades.

Leavitt said the U.S. Department of Education funded the base program at $567,941 each year to continue providing academic assistance for 113 student in 16 schools throughout the three rural northeastern New York counties.

After repeated requests from high schools officials at six other school districts in Essex and lower Franklin counties to include some of their students in the Upward Bound program, a new separate grant request was submitted. The Federal government has granted Upward Bound an additional $200,000 to establish a similar but separate program, called the Adirondack Schools Upward Bound Program. It will provide service for 50 students in the Crown Point, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, St. Regis Falls, Ticonderoga and Tupper Lake school districts.

"These school districts are in a different climatic area than the others schools currently participating in Upward Bound. We believed it was best to establish a separate program for their students who meet the guidelines," said Leavitt.

The six school districts, which had previously participated in Upward Bound when it was established at Plattsburgh State in 1965, but had left due to fiscal constraints, could not be included in the existing program. "It was necessary for us to develop this new program if we were to provide Upward Bound for their students," said Leavitt.

Cathy Russell, a school counselor at Crown Point Central School, said they are really excited to hear that the new program would be funded.

"Many students here have parents who have never had the opportunity to go to college. We believe Upward Bound will prove to be a good opportunity for some of these families." Crown Point Central School has a student population of about 330 children in kindergarten through grade 12.

The proportion of high school students in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties continuing their education at postsecondary institutions is low compared to state and national averages, and the school and community support available to low-income, potentially first-generation college students is limited.

Upward Bound identifies students in high schools who come from low-income families and works with these students. The eight full-time staff members travel to the 22  schools in the program throughout the academic year to meet with the students to academically assess and develop goal plans for each participant.

In the summer, the students participate in a fun-filled and academically-oriented six-week summer program at Plattsburgh State. Another 25 faculty members and 18 college student tutors are hired during the summer program.

During the past 34 years, Upward Bound at Plattsburgh State has seen magnificent results. Leavitt said more than 89 percent of the participants transfer into or continue in the college preparatory curriculum and nearly the same number engage in motivational education, career, cultural, leadership and civic opportunities.

At least 85 percent of each entering Upward Bound class remains in the program, and at least 98 percent of the program's seniors eventually graduate from high school.

At least 85 percent of the graduates will enter postsecondary education the first semester immediately following high school graduation and at least 60 percent of the program's alumni enrolled in postsecondary education will complete their courses of study.

Leavitt attributes some of the program's success to the commitment of Plattsburgh State, the schools, community agencies and businesses. "We have been here at Plattsburgh State since 1965. That's got to say a lot about the commitment of this campus to the community's youth."

Leavitt also said that many of the Upward Bound graduates continue their education right at Plattsburgh State.

The new Adirondack Schools Upward Bound Program will be implemented during the next couple of months, and recruitment of students will take place soon. "We will be conducting recruitment presentations in classes at each school, and students will soon have applications," said Leavitt.

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