Upward Bound at The University of Virginia's College at Wise serves 80 eligible students in the rural Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Located at the tip of the Virginia/Kentucky border, the target area is deeply integrated in family tradition, and local heritage and values: A culture that sets a low priority for education including the reluctance of parents to allow their children to leave home. Due to the declining coal mining industry, and very few high paying jobs, the local economy continues to struggle to rise above poverty levels.
The project is designed to generate in participants the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond secondary school. The project recruits low-income/first generation participants, including high-risk students from three high schools in the target area, which include Ridgeview in Dickenson County; and Central and Eastside in Wise County. The project is designed to achieve the six standardized objectives with a comprehensive plan for evaluating student progress and meeting the objectives. The expected outcomes will measure academic performance with GPA’s and standardized test scores, secondary school retention, graduation with a regular diploma, completion of a rigorous secondary school program of study, post-secondary enrollment ,and post-secondary completion.
The project will address Priority 2-Enabling more data-based decision-making and Priority 3-Improving productivity to help enhance the assurances of a quality program. Activities and services that accomplish the objectives are offered in the summer residential and academic year components. The summer component offers six weeks of academic classes, counseling, work-study, cultural enrichment activities, and a bridge program for seniors of Upward Bound planning to attend a postsecondary institution. The academic component provides academic support at the target schools, counseling visits to each school, individual tutoring, and monthly Saturday classes with cultural enrichment activities.