Blueprint program asks for city funding

Published 7:41 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Last week, the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association submitted a request that the LaGrange City Council help fund a new program called the Blueprint for Leadership and Success Program.

According to the request, $123,325 will be necessary in order to establish the program, which aims to provide positive activities that foster academic experience, employability and life skills while deterring delinquent and anti-social behavior.

“This proposal is being presented as an ongoing part of our initiative in Calumet Park to improve the quality of life for the people in Calumet Park and Troup County,” said Dr. Robert Tucker, the vice chair of the CPNA. “This grant proposal that we are presenting is sponsored by the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association in collaboration with Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy Inc. and The Ark Refuge Inc.”

The use of funds breaks down to $82,100 for personnel salaries, $23,100 for personnel benefits, $10,000 for education materials, $5,625 for food and $2,500 for insurance and administrative costs.

“We have developed a blueprint for parental involvement because the parents have been left out either intentionally or unintentionally in the education and development of the children to a large extent — especially in our neighborhood,” Tucker said. “This feature will be an ongoing part of a leadership program that we have. We believe this to be central since it appears that some parents are not as engaged as needed in the education of their children.”

The program’s goals are to reduce retention rates with academic tutoring by 50 percent, to increase graduation rates with academic tutoring by 50 percent, to improve grades of participants in the first year, to achieve 20 percent literacy with “A Book-a-Week” campaign, to increase GED scores with test preparation support by 25 percent, to reduce truancy rates with mentoring by 20 percent, to reduce dropout rates with mentoring by 20 percent and to increase the rate of students who attend college or vocational school. Tucker emphasized the use of measurable goals in the program to determine if it is a success.

“At this moment, 22 percent of our students — our seniors — do not receive their diplomas,” said Dr. Glenn Dowell, who is over Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy Inc. “They drop out for various reasons, so we do have some concerns with respect to the school system. We want to be a part of that success.”

The team working on the Blueprint program is made up of many of the same people who created the Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy. According to information released by the program, some students improved SAT scores by more than 90 points through Greater Achievement.

Council member Willie Edmondson thanked Tucker and Dowell for their work, especially in the Calumet community.

“I think it is a great program, and I certainly hope that we can get something going with that,” Edmondson said.

Edmondson and council member LeGree McCamey both said they would like to see similar programs in other parts of LaGrange.

“What Calumet Village has done is being implemented in other areas and neighborhoods in LaGrange, so we commend you on that,” McCamey said.

Council member Nathan Gaskin asked about the involvement of the Troup County School Board with the program, though no clear answer was available. The council will discuss all budget items on May 22 beginning at 11 a.m. at 200 Ridley Avenue.

The LaGrange City Council will hold its regular meeting on May 22 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.