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In October 2015, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) embarked on an unprecedented partnership with three Baltimore City Public Schools: Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School; Green Street Academy; and Southwest Baltimore Charter School. After applying for and receiving grant funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), UMB launched the pilot year of the UMB CURE Scholars Program.
What is the CURE Program?
Continuing the Umbrella for Research Experiences (CURE) is a long-standing, highly successful program from the National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) for high school students. It's employed to increase the number of competitive cancer researchers from underrepresented populations.
What's different about UMB CURE Scholars?
With a slightly different focus, the UMB CURE Scholars Program is groundbreaking in that it's the first K-12 grant secured by UMB and it's the first NCI CURE Program focused on middle-school students, rather than high-school students. Moreover, the UMB CURE Scholars Program grant specifies partnership(s) with West Baltimore public school(s).
How does it work?
The UMB CURE Scholars Program accepts 25-30 sixth-grade scholar applicants from three West Baltimore public schools. The 25-30 scholars are mentored as they navigate through middle school, high school, and college. As a true pipeline, without any leaks, the program is designed to offer selected scholars a 5:1 mentor to scholar ratio with an after-school component, Saturday tutoring component, and six-week Summer Enrichment component.
Who are the partnership schools?
- Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School
- Green Street Academy
- Southwest Baltimore Charter School
After visiting all of the eligible schools in West Baltimore with a sixth grade class, and after speaking with school leaders, the three schools were selected based on:
- Strong leadership at the school
- Sustained leadership capacity
- Strong student/parental engagement
- Existing partnership/relationships
- Demonstration of commitment to the UMB CURE Scholars Program’s mission, vision, and goals
- Feedback from stakeholders
How can your school become a UMB CURE Scholars Partnership School?
If you are interested in having your school considered as a partnership school in the fall of 2016, or if you would like more information on how you can become involved in this program as we get West Baltimore youth excited and invested in pursuing careers in science, please contact Robin Saunders, EdD, executive director, UMB CURE Scholars Program.