During these unprecedented times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations of all types are faced with making critical shifts in the services they provide. Lincoln Foundation is no exception. All of our programs have been impacted as we operate remotely under the current quarantine and social distancing guidelines. We recognize this is also having an adverse effect on the youth we serve.
Our concern for our Scholars, especially those currently in the 12th grade (Phase 25) grows as their senior year experiences have been negatively impacted. Most will not be able to participate in the usual rites of passage that include a prom, a senior class trip, a yearbook or even a commencement ceremony. More importantly, the learning that takes place in the spring semester is impacted as schools convert to a virtual learning platform. These events coupled with the overall concern for the successful transition of high school seniors to college freshmen has forced us to rethink our programming. Additionally, we have similar concerns about how the lost classroom time will negatively impact the current high school junior class (Phase 26).
It is because of these concerns that Lincoln Foundation has made the critical decision to redesign the signature Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®. The Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program® will now be a 6-year program providing programming for students in grades 8 through the college freshman year. These changes are being made after much deliberation and discussions with our college and university partners. This pivot will provide mentoring, coaching and support for entering college freshmen at a level we could not otherwise provide.
This change also means that Lincoln Foundation will not admit any new students this year as the 7th grade programming will be eliminated. We will resume the usual enrollment process for rising 8th graders in January 2021. The 7th grade Science curriculum and the 8th grade Math curriculum will be merged into a new and rigorous STEM focus. Enhancements are being made to the curriculum of each grade level to ensure Scholars achieve continued success in high school and beyond.
We realize this is a significant change in the 30-year history of the Whitney M. YOUNG Scholars Program®. However, it is a necessary one to adequately address the needs of students during this difficult and challenging time.
Marshall Bradley, Jr.