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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Academies geared toward college readiness conclude Aug. 2

The Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy (CWDSA) and Summer Bridge Academy (SBA) will conclude Saturday, Aug. 2, in a closing celebration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that promises to be standing room only.

Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Summer Bridge AcademyThe event–which includes the first cohort of Pulaski County Special School District students enrolled through the desegregation settlement agreement–will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Donaghey Student Center, Ledbetter Hall.

Students in the each program have been engaged for almost three weeks in an academically-intensive learning environment while receiving room and board, free of charge, at UALR and Philander Smith College.

The CWDSA aims to improve educational exposure, opportunities, and access for all students in the Pulaski County Special School District. Students in this program are afforded the opportunity to explore the idea of college attendance, refine skills needed to be successful at the collegiate level, and eliminate remedial coursework.

In addition, CWDSA seeks to ease the financial burden of college by providing a $2,500 renewable scholarship for students attending Philander Smith College or UALR. Students will continue as a Donaldson Scholar should they choose to attend either of these institutions.

SBA, last year’s pilot summer bridge program showed such promise that it provided the foundation for CWDSA, a separate entity created as part of a desegregation settlement agreement on behalf of African American students from the Pulaski County Special School District.

The SBA has the established goals of easing students’ transition to college, building relationships between faculty, staff, and students, and eliminating remediation.

Representatives of the Pulaski County Special School District, including Superintendent Jerry Guess and Attorney John Walker, are scheduled to attend the closing celebrations on Aug. 2.

Media are invited to see these students as they are recognized for their achievements and to hear some of the progress made in test scores over the last three weeks.

The SBA program is partially funded by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Frueauff Foundation, and Bank of America. CWDSA is funded by the Pulaski County Special School District.