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University of Minnesota Extension

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Fostering Achievement and Connection to Engage Students (FACES)

FACES is a collaboration that aims to provide youth with the skills needed to achieve academic success. To address educational disparities in access and achievement the collaboration is among:

  • Schools

  • Afterschool programs

  • Young people

  • Families

  • Communities

FACES cultivates positive relationships with caring adults and practicing problem solving skills in three life domains:

  • Academic

  • Health and nutrition

  • Finances

The project

FACES extends the connection from school to the everyday life choices of youth through out-of-school programming and events designed to build self-efficacy and promote healthy choices, particularly choices about diet, exercise, and finances.

FACES consists of three interrelated components: academic mentoring, out of school programming, and family and community engagement.

Academic mentoring

The mentor checks on the student’s levels of engagement and persistence (as reflected in daily/weekly academic progress attendance, grades, etc.). Checking in regularly and often (face-to face, phone, email, text, etc.) makes it possible for the mentor to identify early warning signs of disengagement from school and learning.

Out of school programming

Mentors, staff and educators engage youth in lessons to enhance and support relationship building, problem solving and persistence. The format varies by lesson (computer lab, iPads, outdoors) to make the content relevant and engaging. The lessons are integrated (e.g., nutrition, physical fitness) where possible to foster skill transference across life domains.

Family and community engagement

FACES is based on an ecological framework that recognizes the importance of adult influence on student success. Parents and members of the community will take part in scheduled events both during the school year and during the summer.

This project is taking place at several sites:

  • Bolder Options (Twin Cities, Rochester).

  • Fond du Lac Ojibwe School (Cloquet).

  • Carlton School (Carlton).

The timeline

During the five year grant period, four youth cohorts will participate in FACES: A 2015-16 pilot cohort, followed by three full cohorts (2016–17;  2017–18; 2018–19).

The team

This collaboration includes staff from the University of Minnesota (U of M), Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC), and University of Minnesota Extension:

University of Minnesota: Joyce Serido, PI; Lynne Borden, Co-PI; Marsha Williams, Site Coordinator

FDLTCC: Jeffrey Tibbetts, Co-PI; and Tara Graves, Program Coordinator and Nandagilkendan Academy Director

University of Minnesota Extension: Jennifer Garbow, Rebecca Hagen-Jokela, and Sharon Powell, Extension Educators

Related resources

Bolder Options — Bolder Options engages youth and mentors in goal setting, physical activity, tutoring and community involvement to build confidence, maximize potential, and encourage healthy life skills.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College — Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College offers a postsecondary education to honor the past, for those living in the present and dreaming the future, through a spirit of respect, cooperation, and unity.

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