UNH Offers ESUMS Kids A Half-Free Ride
by Caitlin Emma | Feb 6, 2012 2:48 pm
Posted to: Schools, School Reform
Students from the Engineering and Science University Magnet School, like ninth-grader Karla Hicks, will be able to attend the University of New Haven for half the cost or even free assuming they keep up their grades—and they want to go.
New Haven, West Haven and UNH officials announced the new scholarship program Monday morning on the UNH campus. Officials signed a joint statement, reaffirming a deal that was first dreamed up in 2005—to build the state’s first science-oriented public high school and eventually place it on the UNH campus.
“It’s an option,” Hicks said of the newly announced scholarship offer. “I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, so that’s why I kind of want to go to Yale. But if I can’t get into Yale then UNH is a great second option for me.”
Medria Blue-Ellis is principal of the Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS). She said the goal is to move the school to the UNH campus by 2015, with students taking college-level classes taught by UNH staff on campus as early as next year.
“Right now we’ve got eighth and ninth-grade students taking Algebra Two,” Blue-Ellis said. “They’re building that mathematical base they need to start taking college-level classes.”
Members of the school’s oldest class, equivalent to high school freshmen, will start looking at college in a few years. (ESUMS is phasing in its upper grades.) When they do, UNH will offer 50 percent tuition grants in addition to other merit and need-based aid if they are admitted to UNH as undergraduates. Lower-income magnet school students, who maintain a 3.5 grade point average and SAT scores of 1130 or higher, will qualify for full-tuition scholarships to attend UNH.
“It’s going to give more people a chance to actually think about attending college,” Hicks said.
The state will pay the bill to build on UNH’s campus. ESUMS currently inhabits temporary quarters in two different buildings on State Street in New Haven.
About 360 students attend ESUMS in grades six through nine right now. The school plans add a new grade every year until the oldest class hits grade 12. The school’s eventual enrollment will be more than 600 students.
New Haven Schools Superintendent Reggie Mayo asked the group of ninth-graders stand up during the ceremony and repeat after him.
“I realize that college is an option for me,” he said. Students echoed him.
Many speakers and attendants at the ceremony said that in the current depressed economy, these students can bank on one thing—future jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.
“To me, this is where the future is going,” said Jennifer Walker. Walker’s daughter, Khadesia, is currently in ninth grade and has been a student since ESUMS began.
“And now with the scholarship opportunity, it’s such an incentive for them to do well,” said Loren Bologna, mother of seventh-grader Jessica.
UNH President Steven Kaplan agreed that the program grooms students for a future geared toward science and technology, which ultimately keeps America competitive in the global economy.
“American students lag far behind their international peers in engineering, math and science achievement,” Kaplan said. “This partnership will enable generations of students to become tomorrow’s leaders in a wide array of scientific and technological fields, and it will directly benefit the citizens of our region, our state and our nation.”
Kaplan also said he hopes the program will push more minority and female students into math and science, as well.
“Most engineering programs currently fail to target underrepresented minorities and women, something that we know will be addressed by this wonderful magnet school,” he said.
Kaplan said women make up about 18 percent of people awarded bachelor’s degrees in engineering and just 2 percent of female, 11th grade college-bound students show an interest in engineering in the United States. African-Americans make up about 5 percent, and Hispanics 7 percent, of those awarded with bachelor’s degrees in engineering, he said.
“These are statistics we’re determined to turn around,” Kaplan said. “In a small way, schools like this will address this problem. This is why schools like ESUMS are so critical.”
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and state Sen. Toni Harp also attended the ceremony, lauding the partnership between New Haven, West Haven and UNH.
“New Haven is quickly becoming a national hub for biotechnology and medical research, and opportunities like this are vital to assuring that New Haven students are prepared to compete and succeed,” DeStefano said.
“With programs like this one, what a privilege for these students,” Harp said. “This type of collaboration is critical.”
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This is just some more great news to come out of ESUMS! My daughter attends, and I have never been more impressed by a school’s standards for its faculty, students, or parents. I am so proud to think of her going to UNH to study science in the near future. Congratulations to Principal Blue-Ellis and her incredible staff at ESUMS.
Too bad the former ESUMS student profiled in this CT Post story won’t be able to benefit from this scholarship.
My son is in the 9th Grade and that’s fantastic news for ESUMS. I am very happy with the school and i told everyone that I know about the terrific job the Principal and Teachers are doing. They go all-out to help your children; coming early or staying after school. keep up the good work.
posted by: WHCCG on February 6, 2012 8:08pm
Medria Blue-Ellis is principal of the Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS). She said the goal is to move the school to the UNH campus by 2015
Did New Haven buy the property yet? You do need land to build a new school. Need to dig by June 2012 or the state grant money is gone.
and the hard working parents of some other kids will haver to pay a jacked up tuition to cover the cost.
@C.S. - I have a really hard time believing what was stated in that article. I am a proud parent of a lightskinned Hispanic/Irish child at ESUMS.
One of the reasons I pulled her out of her last school was rampant bullying that was ignored. Every time I have been in the ESUMS middle school building, I have seen Ms. Jenkins (and others) dealing with issues with children on a one-on-one basis. They do not put up with anything!
If these awful things did happen as reported to this child, I cannot see why they were not dealt with. Why the mother did not call upon the principal and/or Board of Education more, why she sent her son to school without explanation after the first incident. To be stabbed? I would have brought him to the doctor, hospital, and police, then the Board of Ed.
I’m shocked by what I read in the Post, and urge Paul Bass and his staff to further investigate, and to uncover all the details of the issues reported at ESUMS:
I agree with Vanessa.
My daughter has found the ESUMS student body friendly and welcoming. She wonders why the students have to attend bullying workshops, when bullying was more of a problem at her old school. (Maybe the workshops are working . . . ?)
Even the best schools will sometimes have a couple of jerks.
Great article, and I love hearing about the possibility of a high school on a college campus - these kids will be off to a flying start!
But I do have one question about something the Principal stated in the article: “Right now we’ve got eighth and ninth-grade students taking Algebra Two,” Blue-Ellis said.
Maybe I’m confused, but I didn’t think it possible for any student (no matter what school) to take Algebra II before 10th grade at the very earliest (many kids typically take it in grade 11 don’t they?).
Can anyone shed some light? Perhaps the Principal was misquoted? Or did she mean “Algebra, level 2” (as in Algebra I, level 2)?
Sheila, she really does mean Algebra II. Some students do well enough in 6th grade Algebra I to take Geometry in 7th grade and Algebra II in 8th. Others need Pre-Algebra in 6th, so the whole schedule gets shifted up a year. Not all of the students manage this, but a good number do.
It is the same class high school students take; the ESUMS students use the same textbook and pass the same district assessments. That’s why ESUMS needs to be on UNH’s campus—at some point, many students will have finished the ordinary high school math curriculum and be ready for college courses.