PEF Awarded $40,000 Grant To Help Increase College Completion Rates

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Public Education Foundation (PEF) is one of seven nonprofits in Tennessee awarded a $40,000 grant by the Tennessee College Access and Success Network (TCASN) to enhance year two of the SOAR Initiative. SOAR (Student Opportunities, Access and Retention) pairs peer mentors – current students at Chattanooga State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – with incoming first-generation college students as they complete associate’s coursework at CSCC and then go on to UTC for completion of a bachelor’s degree.

“SOAR is an inspiring program because it uses a peer-to-peer mentoring model to work with students who have the motivation to attain a 4-year degree, but need extra support as they begin higher education in community college and then move to a university experience,” said Stacy Lightfoot, director of College and Career Access for PEF. “The TCASN grant will allow us to expand our leadership training of the mentors as well as create an academic success lab dedicated to helping SOAR participants succeed.”

In spring 2011, PEF launched SOAR with grant funds from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.  The goal of the SOAR program is to double the current rate of college access and success – with success defined as engagement, persistence and retention, and transition to the next level – among the 200 students who will participate in the four-year project.  In addition to funds for more leadership training and a dedicated SOAR technology lab, the grant provides for a summer leadership retreat and monthly meetings for  all SOAR participants focused on enhancing their academic as well as leadership skills, covering topics such as note-taking, test preparation, interviewing skills, and technology.

For more information about PEF and SOAR, visit pefchattanooga.org


Cleveland State Employees Receive In-Service Awards

Two Cleveland State Community College employees received awards at a staff in-service.   Emily Hill received the Rising Star Award, while Sheila Smith received the Excellence Award.  The Rising Star Award goes to an employee who has less than three years and a minimum of six months of service to CSCC, displays a positive attitude and a spirit of enthusiasm, ... (click for more)

Lee's Summer Honors Program Has Record Attendance

Lee University’s Summer Honors residential program concluded another two-week term, exposing high-achieving students to numerous aspects of college life at Lee.  This year’s Summer Honors drew 173 students to Lee’s campus, an all-time record for attendance.   While at Summer Honors, students got a head start on their college career by earning six hours of academic ... (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Tydings Is A Winner

One week from tomorrow the most important educator in the future of our community will start work as the new president of Chattanooga State. While I am normally cynical of beard-strokers and foundation-hungry dreamers who have little or no concept of the real world, I am convinced Flora Tydings will become the best thing to happen in our community in years. A grandmother with ... (click for more)