The Student Success Center (SSC) is a structured, community-based learning environment providing academic enrichment services. Initiatives focus on improving students’ conceptual understanding of course material so they have a sufficient foundation on which to access new learning. The key to the program model is a one-on-one relationship between each student and a designated Achievement Coach with whom the student is matched. The conceptual focus of the SSC program sets it apart from less structured afterschool programs and tutoring services that usually focus on generalized “homework help” where student understanding of the underlying content is rarely addressed. Each student is paired with an Achievement Coach whose mandate is to “Affirm, Encourage, Inspire, Instruct,” thus forming a trust relationship with the student before attempting to teach. This trust-based “care first” model is particularly important to the success of students who have met with the frustration of repeated failure in the classroom and students who perform best in alternative educational environments. The Achievement Coach works to create a safety net of awareness and communication between the student’s classroom teachers and parents or guardians, striving to ensure coordination among all of the student’s critical learning environments. How can you help? Become an Achievement Coach who engages students in their academic development by: encouraging them to see themselves as capable learners, assisting them with their homework, working with students to increase their understanding of key concepts in their courses, encouraging them to always give their best effort, connecting with students to build trust and comfort, helping them identify their strengths and develop strategies for using them more productively, and increasing positive peer support for academic success.
Path of Success
A one-day seminar that strives to inspire students to set high goals and live for their dreams. The seminar helps students overcome personal obstacles and create plans for success. The program is held at the beginning of the school year, so that students can set goals and create plans to implement during the rest of the year.
The Village at Ithaca’s Family Advocacy Program (FAP) supports families who have children in the Ithaca City School District (ICSD). Families are matched with a trained local community member (a Family Advocate) who provides long-term, one-on-one support to the family, directing them to local resources and services that will support them in becoming more effective advocates for their children. Family Advocates also act as a liaison between the school district and the family, assisting parents and caregivers navigate school policies and programs in support of their children. Typical examples of the kinds of things that Family Advocates do include:
- Attend Teacher conferences with caregivers to promote better communications
- Review / explain a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
- Attend Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings with caregivers
- Identify and coordinate additional academic support for the children
- Assess existing services that the child/family may be receiving
Prospective Family Advocates do not need to have prior advocacy experience; however, they are expected to participate in an extensive multi-session training program sponsored by the Village at Ithaca. Topics include culturally sensitive advocacy, mediation skills, and specific information relevant to a student’s experience in the ICSD (discipline, academic intervention, guidance, etc.). As families become more proficient advocates themselves, they will eventually participate in the FAP in a number of new ways, including referring other families to the program or acting as Family Advocates themselves.