Once a month,there are more than 100 excited guest students on Midway University’s campus. The students are here as part of our Providing Academic Transitions to Higher Education (PATH) Mentoring Program. These female middle and high school students experience life on campus, time with college-age mentors, and activities to strengthen core skills that support a successful path for their futures.
How PATH Works
The PATH Mentoring Program works to remove barriers along the path to high school graduation, workforce training, higher education, and employment for underrepresented middle and high school-aged girls. Participants have the opportunity to strengthen core skills that will support her ability to choose the best route for her future. Midway students and faculty act as holistic mentors and coaches and represent a myriad of academic choices. The program is run by Kim Parker-Brown, Assistant Professor of Education and longtime educator, who has breathed new life into the program and adjusted its mission and objectives to meet the needs of the community and current high school students. This academic year, 112 underrepresented girls are participating from Woodford County schools: Woodford County High School and Woodford County Middle as well as Lexington schools: Leestown Middle, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Frederick Douglass High School; and The Learning Center.
PATH Student Selection
School teachers, counselors, and officials have sole discretion of selecting participants for the program. After their monthly focused session at Midway University, teachers at their home schools base instruction on the individual student’s results from the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) Test. Extensive research, development, and testing led to the creation of this statistically valid and reliable tool for the diagnosis of study skills. The LASSI is a 10-scale, 60-item assessment of student’s awareness about and use of learning and study strategies related to skill, will, and self-regulation components of strategic learning. The focus is on both covert and overt thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that relate to successful learning, and that can be altered through educational interventions.
PATH Makes an Impact
All of the PATH Mentoring Program participants are would-be first-generation college students and meet on campus at least six times per school year. Guest speakers provide meaningful input and mentors lead sessions to help the girls understand the tools and life skills needed to remove barriers along the pathway to success. Here, they get to spend time with individual mentees and focus their attention on building trust and sharing their stories. This fall, each participant was given a special PATH journal to journal her way through to new interests and attitudes towards learning.
The goal is to mold this generation of underrepresented students into professionals who will securely enter the workforce and reciprocate by giving back to their communities. Short-term objectives include: Several former PATH participants have enrolled at Midway University and gone on to be PATH mentors themselves. Beginning in the fall of 2020, a PATH Scholarship will be available to a PATH participant who attends Midway.
Additionally, the program serves to motivate our current Midway students who serve as mentors. Through participation as a mentor, they are learning the importance of “paying forward” investment in their personal success. Not only is the PATH Mentoring Program setting up the mentees for success at college, but is propelling the mentors to great heights professionally.
Increasing the learners’ (mentees) receptivity to learning new information and their attitudes and interests that relate to successful learning as indicated by LASSI scores; decreasing behavioral issues by mentees in school; improving the grade point average of mentee participants; increasing classroom attendance by mentees; and increasing the number of PATH seniors who further their education after high school graduation
The PATH Mentoring Program is supported across multiple departments on campus and additional support is provided by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc., Partners For Youth, Blue Grass Community Foundation and both Fayette County and Woodford County schools.