No. The program is open to any child who can benefit from it.
Most education experts agree that, if one is going to have an impact on young children’s educational development, those children must be “reached” by the third grade.
The number of 24 children in each entering class was determined by the maximum number one teacher can reasonably handle. Although college students may serve as mentors and, in effect, teaching assistants, the actual teaching in most Help Yourself academies will be done by grade or high school teachers or college professors.
Ideally, a new class of children will be added to the program annually; however, the decision of how many students to add and when to add them is the participating college’s to make.
The colleges will determine how students will be selected. For those colleges with a grade school in their backyard, there may be advantages to “adopting” that school, rather than to seek students from multiple schools, since transportation will not be an issue.
Although the curriculum developed provides for six years of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the key to the program is grades three, four, and five in order to capture children’s attention early. The curriculum has been written by National Board Certified Teachers, and it is based on what experts across the country believe will best develop the skills of students. In addition, most colleges do not have the capability to develop a grade-school curriculum. However, colleges can use the curriculum as they wish. View sample Fourth Grade Technology lesson.
Given the fact many colleges have pre-collegiate programs for high school students, Help Yourself academy students would feed into and fit easily with those programs. However, the focus of Help Yourself is on grades three through five, with the hope colleges will continue Help Yourself until their programs for high school students begin.
The cost to colleges for each grade is roughly $15,000 ($625/child), an amount covering transportation of the students to the campus, snacks and supplies for the students, and stipends for the teachers. However, as noted, the key to Help Yourself’s success is grades three, four, and five, which, in the aggregate, would cost the college roughly $45,000 annually once the programs for the three grades are fully operational.
To reach more children, Help Yourself welcomes contributions. Donations are tax-deductible, and often corporate employees and retirees are eligible for the matching gift programs. For more information on how to contribute, please see How You Can Help.