DEEL Chat with Roberto Lopez, ascendant advisor
Upward Bound is a national college preparation program that prepares first-generation students for higher education. Here in Seattle, Bound up is available upwards 9e, tene, and 11e students from two participating high schools: Garfield and Rainier Beach.
In 2020 DEEL welcomed Roberto Lopez and the Upward Bound (UB) program to our K-12 and post-secondary team. In this interview, Roberto shares his take on young UB Seattle academics and the Garfield College Network partners who help these students thrive.
DEEL: What it means to be college ready and how the Upward Bound program supports student preparation youth to prepare for college?
Roberto Lopez (RL): We help students understand the difference between graduation and university entrance requirements. The profile of a college-ready student is someone who does everything they can to make themselves competitive for admission selection, regardless of the level of preparation they start from before they graduate. register with Upward Bound. A college-ready scholar will also have researched whether the school they are enrolling in is the right fit academically, personally, and financially. We teach our researchers that the university is more than the classroom, the library and the laboratories. We want our researchers to engage in a school where they will thrive in the classroom and outside.
DEEL: You’ve been a bottom-up advisor for five years. Can you think of a UB student whose experience illustrates the impact of the program?
RL: I am fortunate to have had the honor of working with many researchers who illustrate the goals we have for them. It is very difficult to think of just one. My scholarship holders who enrolled in 9e note when I started with the program, the [graduating] class of 2019, stand out the most. We made some significant changes during my time at Upward Bound, and these young people went through it and came out prosperous. Two of these researchers are now employed as tutors in the program. Of my thirteen scholarship recipients in this class, seven have received scholarships from the Garfield Golden Grads Alumni Group, ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000. Ten enrolled in four-year colleges and three enrolled in Seattle colleges and Seattle Promise program.
DEEL: What obstacles do you see in the education system for students of color and how do you help students overcome these obstacles?
RL: Barriers to academic success still exist for many of our students despite efforts to eliminate them, and this pandemic has only widened the gap. Many researchers at UB did not have computers at home or a stable Wi-Fi connection when we started school practically in March. During our summer program, UB staff and teachers spent more time teaching students how to use their school-provided laptops than any previous year. We made them understand the urgency with which they need to upgrade their skills because “the system” will not slow down to meet their needs. We have continued to offer programs throughout the school year to improve the way they use technology as an academic tool, but the effect of generational poverty is the other major hurdle. Many of our families have suffered significant economic hardship because parents are not working or working, it behooves our academics to help their younger siblings meet their virtual school responsibilities at the expense of their own time. school learning. We refer our families to community supports where possible and leverage the resources we can. At Garfield, the PTSA recognized that we serve a unique demographic of students and stepped in and provided $ 2,000 in grocery gift cards to distribute to our researchers.
DEEL: How do you talk to students and families about the benefits of the Upward Bound program and how do you help them determine if it is the right choice for them?
RL:Our academics, like all of our staff, are first generation students. So I teach my academics that we go to college to develop the skills to make money doing what we love. And if we do this right – if we explore careers that we are passionate about, look for colleges that have the environments that will support us and learn who we are, what we value and what we want out of life – we can increase the probability of being successful in this endeavor.
DEEL: As a UB advisor, what approaches have you found most effective in meeting the needs of each student in their college preparation journey?
RL:This job is all about relationships. If students don’t trust you, how can you get them to believe in themselves when they may never have seen an adult outside of their family believe in them? So always be honest and respectful. I’ve learned to precede researchers who enter the program that I may not always be the advisor they want, but I will always try to be the advisor they need.
DEEL: Who are some of the UB partners at Garfield High School and how have they contributed to student success?
RL:At Garfield, the program was fortunate to have former Principal Ted Howard (2004-2020), who believed in Upward Bound and was a champion of our academics’ success. This laid the foundation for many partnerships that currently exist. The Garfield College & Career Network, which links the school’s community support programs with Garfield College & Career Specialist, leverages resources to support a college culture for the whole school. Last year I worked with one of our Spanish teachers to start a LatinX parent group where we were able to hold meetings in Spanish with building staff and interpreters to increase parent access. Spanish speakers to building administrators and teachers. I have already mentioned that PTSA provides financial supports to help our families meet basic needs. And finally, this year I joined the Garfield Data Team, which allows me to support the school’s efforts to engage students who have high truancy rates and low grades. Going forward, this movement will allow us to identify potential Upward Bound researchers as they turn the corner and seek out the global supports we provide.
Upward Bound (UB) is federally funded by the US Department of Education to help students graduate from high school and prepare them to enter and complete a post-secondary education program. In 2012, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department was one of the few municipalities to receive the Upward Bound grant.
In 2020, Upward Bound joined the Department of Early Childhood Education and Learning as part of DEEL’s focus on college and career preparation and completion. post-secondary education. During the 2019-2020 school year, UB served over 100 scholars. So far this school year, more than 60 participants have been supported by the team.
Click for more information about the Upward Bound program.