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Partnering for School Success Participants Tour U of M

By Kathleen Olson, Program Director — Partnering for School Success

Latino families from the Triton and Faribault (MN) School Districts toured the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus on Saturday, April 30. As part of the Partnering for School Success (PSS) project, the field trip helped them learn about what the University has to offer Latino students, namely, support, scholarships, and careers.

This year's field trip had 75 attendees.

Students and their parents learned about planning for college and toured both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, including new technologically equipped classrooms, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, and Coffman Memorial Union (the Minneapolis student center). Presentations and tours were held both in Spanish and English for the 75 parents and middle and high school students and 7 project staff.

Staff and students from the U of M’s Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence facilitated the program on Minneapolis campus and offered many stories of encouragement and motivation for Latino families who are seeking higher education. Two staff members from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences assisted in coordinating the St. Paul campus sessions: Mohamed Yakub, outreach and education coordinator at the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health, and Mary Buschette, alumni and constituent relations director. Youth participated in a laboratory experience on “DNA in Plants and DNA in You” or “Bugs, Beetles, and Bees” and learned about careers related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Looks like someone extracted
a DNA sample from a smashed strawberry.
What's in the terrarium? Hissing cockroaches!

Evaluations indicated that families learned about many career opportunities that they were not aware of before their experience at the U of M. Youth especially noted that the hands-on experience in the laboratory was a highlight.

The field trip was a culmination of the Education: Our Best Legacy classes taken by parents on how to partner with the school for student success, gain confidence in supporting their child to graduate from high school and continue higher education. Parents and youth participated in Open Doors with Higher Education classes to learn how to select a college and finance higher education. Youth have participated in afterschool sessions related to STEM topics.

The PSS project funded by the Children, Youth and Families at Risk Grant Program through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Extension Center for Family Development is completing the fourth year of this five-year project.

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