Developing Leadership Potential in Girls
Aspire increases a girl’s awareness and investment in her learning, leadership, and choices.
Aspire targets motivated middle school girls who are limited in opportunity because of low family income and lack of exposure to higher education. Over the course of a three-year commitment in middle school, Aspire girls participate in a variety of leadership-building activities in academic classes and exploratory workshops. During high school, each Aspire graduate is able to take part in programming designed to make college more accessible. Through our Alumnae Association, Aspire students can participate in workshops focused on topics relevant to their career and personal success.
At Aspire, girls develop as learners, leaders, and decision makers. The program recruits fifth grade girls from public and charter schools in neighboring districts where students face challenges prevalent in many urban schools today: coursework that is insufficiently challenging, class sizes that are too large, lower academic achievement among peers, and insufficient college guidance.
Aspire specifically targets girls from low income families. All costs related to participation—including tuition, supplies, meals, and transportation—are fully covered.
Creating Advocates for Education
Aspire also offers high school, college and graduate students an introduction to teaching and educational leadership in an innovative environment. Aspire also offers professional educators an opportunity to practice their skills as teacher-leaders, mentors and school administrators.
Aspire has recruited potential teachers from the nation’s leading high schools and colleges. These young people work together with experienced teachers to implement creative, engaging classes. Aspire develops their awareness of the components of a high quality education, leading them to be effective advocates for education and to consider pursuing careers in education.
History of Aspire
Hathaway Brown School actively seeks ways to broaden connections to the city of Cleveland so that we can both learn from the community and participate in the exchange of ideas being generated to improve it.
Decisions regarding education undoubtedly must be part of the vision for Cleveland's future. Through Aspire we are interested in identifying ways to improve access to high quality education in our area. In the words of HB's mission statement, we aim to shape "women of vision and courage, prepared to rise boldly to the challenges of our times."
The Aspire Program, which opened in the summer of 2002, enables us to connect the resources of the School with a broader range of Cleveland 's brightest young women, including girls who come from low income families or who have limited exposure to higher education.
We are beginning to see how an appropriately timed intervention can redirect the future of a young leader from Cleveland. The mentorship offered through Aspire creates an environment that helps some of the city’s brightest young women increase investment in their own learning, leadership, and choices.
In 2000, Hathaway Brown initially supported the program with a Catalyst Grant that allowed Cammy Dubie and Koyen Parikh Shah to investigate the program's potential impact in Greater Cleveland. The Advancement, Business, Transportation, and Administration offices now allocate considerable time and essential resources to the program. The library, physical education, technology, and teaching staff have been crucial to the success of Aspire as well. Attention and efforts on the part of Bill Christ, Head of School, and other school administrators have made the program possible. This school-wide collaboration has informed the program's growth since 2002.
Hathaway Brown School is committed to the success of Aspire, and will continue to provide 30% of the program costs.