Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: May 12, 2011 1:40:43 PM PDT
WWU's Compass 2 Campus Program Wins Education Award

Contact: Paul Cocke, director, WWU University Communications, (360) 650-3350

BELLINGHAM – The Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) has awarded its first-ever Northwest Region Community Leadership Award to the Compass 2 Campus program at Western Washington University.

“Speaking for all of my colleagues, Compass 2 Campus was a unanimous selection for this award.  It is by far the very best volunteer effort in public schools that I have seen in 25 years – bar none!” said Timothy Yeomans, superintendent of the Meridian School District.

Compass 2 Campus aims to get more kids thinking early about college with the help of mentors and role models to show them the importance of higher education.

The WASA award was given recently during a recognition event in Skagit County to Cyndie Shepard, volunteer director of Compass 2 Campus.

“The Compass 2 Campus team is honored to have been selected for this award.  This program has been supported by the superintendents, principals and teachers in all of our participating districts and we thank them for their gracious involvement.  We look forward to many years of working together to Create the Future!” Cyndie Shepard said.

The award criteria include programs that: are a direct benefit to students; are a demonstrated leader in motivating students; have a demonstrated track record of success and demonstrate excellent cooperation and coordination with local school districts. Yeomans noted the more than 30,000 hours already provided to area school children by Compass 2 Campus mentors.

WASA includes more than 1,600 members and is open to all educational administrators in central office, building management and educational agency positions.

Compass 2 Campus, launched in 2009 with the help of a work study grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Board, includes 12 area elementary schools and four middle schools this year as well as partners in four community and technical colleges.

The Washington State Legislature fostered the program in hopes of increasing the number of low-income students, students of color and first-generation students in higher education. The predecessor to Compass 2 Campus, Phuture Phoenix, is now in three universities in Wisconsin after starting at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. Cyndie Shepard co-founded the Phuture Phoenix program several years ago at UW-Green Bay, where her husband, current WWU President Bruce Shepard, was chancellor.

More than 400 WWU students are currently enrolled in one of six sections of the three-credit class required to become a Compass 2 Campus mentor. Some students have taken the class more than once and are working on advanced projects in the schools in which they mentor students. Additional students who have already taken the class are continuing to mentor as volunteers. Mentors spend at least four hours a week in schools, engaged where teachers and administrators feel they’re needed most; some help with after school activities while others lead small group projects or provide one-on-one academic help to struggling students.

Working with elementary school teachers, the WWU students learn about the kids’ aspirations and talk to them about how going to college can help them reach those dreams.

While many mentoring programs focus their efforts on youngsters who have already shown academic promise or interest, Compass 2 Campus aims to reach all youngsters.

For more information, please visit the Compass 2 Campus Web site.

Compass 2 Campus is a partnership among Western and four community and technical colleges:

The elementary and middle schools participating in the program are:

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