Xavier hosts 151 students for five-week bridge program

Educational partnership with Withrow University High School enjoys success in its second year. | June 19, 2003

Alter Hall has become the residence of an innovative form of summer school. From Monday, June 9, through Friday, July 11, more than 150 students from Withrow University High School are participating in the Withrow University Bridge Program. Classes meet Monday-Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. The five-week program tests incoming Withrow students in mathematics, science and English, assesses their strengths and weaknesses and provides supplementary classes to review what the incoming ninth graders should know and to give them a head-start going into Withrow University—a college preparatory public high school. “It’s enrichment and it’s advancement,” explains Withrow University Principal Sharon Johnson. “The goal is to bridge the students from the middle grades to a college prep high school.” Classes meet on the third floor and computer lab in Alter Hall, and the faculty are using the writing center as temporary office space. Withrow faculty are teaching the classes and are also participating in syllabus workshops with Xavier faculty. In addition to providing classroom space, Xavier is providing students with two polo shirts for their uniforms, personal ID card giving students access to the University’s facilities such as the McDonald Library, a tour of campus, familiarizing the students with Xavier, lunch and certificates of achievement upon completion of the program. The access to facilities and the campus tour are central to one of the program’s goals—exposing the students to a college campus. “Many of the students have never been on a college campus,” says Johnson. Exposure to college life coincides with Withrow University’s motto—every student is college-bound. “It’s a chance to expose the students to a college atmosphere and to help make a college campus less intimidating.” Two years ago, Johnson, who received her certificate in education administration from Xavier in 2002, approached President Michael J. Graham, S.J., looking for an educational partner with Withrow. “We feel that the philosophy of our school is aligned with that of Xavier, and Xavier is good at giving the support we need to bridge the students into Withrow,” Johnson says. As for the success of the partnership, “We love our partnership with Xavier because we feel the partnership is helping to built a stronger community.” This is Johnson’s second year at Withrow University High School. Of the 200 incoming freshmen, to have 151 students in the bridge program is a testament to their dedication. Students from all over Cincinnati attend Withrow University. Potential students apply for admission. The ninth grade class acts as ambassadors each year recruiting potential students from eighth grade classes. “They help create their own high school,” explains Johnson. “The students know who would be a good match [for Withrow] and it creates real incentive for participation.” For more information, contact Krista Warner at 513 745-3601.