Program Strives to Make Students College-bound
Superintendent, Dr. Michael J. Martirano, signs a memorandum of understanding between SMCPS and St. Marys College of Maryland at a ceremony with Dr. Jane Margaret OBrien (left), president of SMCM, and two Fairlead Academy students, Shawn Briscoe of Lexington Park (far left), and Larissa Briscoe (far right) of Park Hall. The memorandum establishes a commitment of the colleges resources and facilities to Fairlead Academy students and alumni in coming years. (Submitted photo)
ST. MARYS CITY, Md. (June 6, 2009) During the awards ceremony for Fairlead Academys first-ever cohort of students on Friday, June 5, St. Marys College of Maryland (SMCM) and St. Marys County Public Schools (SMCPS) signed a memorandum of understanding that states their commitment to share resources and facilities to support the academys students and alumni. Fairlead Academy is a year-long program designed to help ninth-grade students at risk of not graduating from high school. The memorandum was signed by SMCPSs superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, and SMCM president, Dr. Jane Margaret OBrien.
We are absolutely delighted to have this partnership with St. Marys for years to come, said Martirano. According to the memorandum, SMCM will provide Fairlead graduates with student tutors and mentors and will coordinate fall and spring semester bus trips to give students a sense of what college is like and how to be prepared academically for success in college. The college is also exploring opportunities to underwrite a scholarship fund for Fairlead high school graduates, and it will continue to host the programs two-day culminating experience on the college campus in coming years.
Fairlead Academy was established in 2008. Students are provided with state-of-the-art electronic educational equipment, a 13:1 student-teacher ratio, andalong with their ninth grade curriculumare taught the skills to become successful citizens and make their dreams become reality.
Upon completion of the program, students re-enter comprehensive high schools in St. Marys County, but continue to have access to student tutors and academic services provided by SMCM. We look forward to helping you reach your academic goals for the next three years, and I hope some of you will consider coming to St. Marys for your college education, OBrien told Fairlead students at the ceremony, which was held in St. Marys Hall on the college campus.
In his address to the students, Martirano noted that this years cohort of Fairlead students, the first to complete the year-long program, demonstrated dramatic academic improvements. Their average attendance rate increased from 85% to 95%; average grade point average rose from 1.82 to 2.43 on a 4-point scale; and 96% of students participated in school-sponsored extracurricular activities, up from only 8% last year. Every single student in the program is being promoted to the 10th grade.
The program culminated in a two-day visit to SMCM, where they attended classes and presentations by the colleges Admissions staff. They also took advantage of the colleges facilities, including the Athletics and Recreation Centers rock climbing wall and pool and the riverfront, and they spent a night in one of the colleges dorms.