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November 1, 2004
New Emory program to benefit Drew Charter students
BY Katherine Baust & Beverly clark
Students at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta’s East Lake community will have better access to comprehensive educational and psychological services due to a mutually beneficial strategic agreement with Emory.
“This agreement is consistent with Emory’s commitment to the community,” said Eugene Emory, professor and director of clinical training for Emory’s psychology department. “Through this creative arrangement, Drew students will receive much needed support, while Emory graduate students and clinical fellows will receive hands-on experience in the community.”
Led by Emory, a team of clinical psychologists, faculty members and graduate students will work with Drew staff this school year to provide academic support, individual testing and onsite therapy to charter school students. By offering a wide spectrum of services, the team will help address the emotional and educational issues that can inhibit learning.
“We are very excited about this agreement with Emory and the resources it will bring to our school,” said Principal LaTisha Vaughn-Brandon. “I am confident this collaboration will help everyone at Drew Charter School reach new levels of achievement.”
Among the programs to be offered are: individual therapy and support groups for students dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anger management, grief and divorce; parent education and behavior management training; and professional development seminars and techniques for teachers to increase positive classroom experiences.
The new agreement between Emory and Drew Charter School is the result of a needs-assessment study conducted in 2003 by the Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) for the East Lake Community Foundation. The assessment showed that Drew students could benefit from additional psychological and educational services.
The 4-year-old charter school for 770 students in grades K–8 is part of the East Lake neighborhood, which includes a mixed-income apartment complex (The Villages of East Lake), a public golf course that offers instruction and mentoring for youth, a YMCA, a child development center, and extensive programs that help children and their families become self-sufficient and successful.
“This innovative agreement with Emory supports the East Lake Community Foundation’s philosophy of taking a holistic approach to break the cycle of poverty by addressing the physical, social, educational, emotional and spiritual needs of its residents,” said Virgil Murray, program director for the foundation.
Emory and the East Lake Community Foundation first joined forces in 2002 when the foundation received a competitive grant through the OUCP’s Kenneth Cole Fellowship in Community Building and Social Change. The grant allowed a team of four undergraduate Cole fellows to perform a comprehensive health needs assessment in The Villages of East Lake.
“Even though the primary goal is to provide services to Drew students, training opportunities for our graduate students and post doctoral fellows and workshops for Drew faculty members, we hope to expand this agreement and eventually include inquiry-based activities,” Emory said. “We have already begun talks toward developing small-scale applied research studies that could serve as the basis for masters and dissertation projects for our Ph.D. candidates.”
For more information about Drew Charter School and the East Lake Community Foundation, go to www.eastlakecommunityfdn.org.