Andre Branch is on a mission to brighten the futures of middle school male students of color.
With the help from a President's Leadership Fund grant, the associate professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University channeled his passion for helping others with his expertise in teacher education to create Students with Academic Goals — a program that caters to the needs of students who aren’t performing to their highest potential.
The program introduces students to mentors with diverse backgrounds, offers tips and advice to be successful in and out of the classroom, provides free tutoring and academic resources and inspires students to strive for higher education.
“I had this idea to connect them with professional people who were successful and let them see professionals from their own racial and ethnic groups that went on to do great things,” Branch said. “We want to show students that they can perform at high levels.”
Students with Academic Goals is a partnership between SDSU, the San Diego branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the San Diego Unified School District.
"It's amazing to have a personal
involvement in their lives —
it's quite gratifying to see them succeed."
Lending a hand
SDSU students have the opportunity to get involved through tutoring.
Both undergraduate and graduate students are able to tutor and mentor the students, gaining valuable instructing experience in addition to helping students perform to their highest potential.
Welcome to SDSU
Each year in March, Branch brings students to SDSU to get a feel for university life. Students, faculty and staff come together to show students that education is both attainable and necessary for a brighter future.
"It's an excellent way to introduce the students to the campus," Branch said. "And hopefully, they keep SDSU in mind when it's time to apply for college."
With additional funding support, Branch hopes to expand the program by providing tours of multiple college campuses in Southern California.
After being in the program for three years, the first cohort finished last year and Branch compared the students' test scores to California-mandated averages
"We looked at their California Standards Test scores and they out-performed their peers in almost every subject," Branch said.
The evident success of the program was recently recognized by the Independent Education Consultant's Association with a grant of $5,000 to continue making a difference in the lives of middle school male students of color.
"It's amazing to have a personal involvement in their lives — it's quite gratifying to see them succeed."