April 29, 2008

University, ACPE expand “I Know I Can” college outreach effort

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The University of Alaska College Savings Program and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education are expanding the “I Know I Can” outreach effort to first- and second-graders in 32 classrooms across the state this year, up from six classrooms last year. Alumni volunteers will read the colorful picture book to an estimated 730 school children across the state on Thursday and Friday.

“I Know I Can” features animal characters encouraging children to consider college and career choices, and to start thinking about those choices now. The university and ACPE started the program last year.

Alumni volunteers from the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast will read the book aloud and give away free copies of the book to an estimated 730 children.

The book shows a group of animal characters trying to determine what they want to be when they grow up, with guidance from their teacher, Mrs. Walker. A mouse donning a cap and gown hides on each page, thinking "I know I can" to himself as the story unfolds. "You should start planning for college now," Mrs. Walker says. "You can begin by coming to school every day and doing all of your work the very best you can."

"Young children are very receptive to discussing life goals, even how college might fit within their ideas and dreams," Linda Luper, director of the UA College Savings Plan said. "At least some post-secondary training and education is needed for most of the jobs on the market these days. Children should be encouraged at an early age to think about all of their options, including college.”

As they did last year with the pilot program, the alumni volunteers will ask the students to draw a postcard showing what they want to be when they grow up.» When the participating children complete elementary school, the postcard will be mailed back to them to remind them of their goals.

In last year’s pilot project, volunteers visited Willow Crest and Mountain View schools in Anchorage, Barnette Magnet and Denali schools in Fairbanks, and Mendenhall River and Auke Bay schools in Juneau. This year the program has been expanded to include Muldoon Elementary in Anchorage, North Pole Elementary in North Pole, Gastineau Elementary in Douglas, and both Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat and Ayaprun Elitnauruvik Schools in Bethel.» The UA College Savings Plan is fully funding the project. I Know I Can is a non-profit organization based in Ohio.

The UA College Savings Plan offers tax-advantaged savings plans to residents in Alaska and throughout the United States. Students who use the plan to pay for college can attend any qualified school, not just UA. The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education is the state’s higher education agency that promotes, supports and provides access to higher education through a package of financial aid and early education awareness services.

The schedule of alumni “I Know I Can” visits on Thursday and Friday will be:

Willow Crest – Thursday, May 1, Noon -1:30 p.m. and Friday, May 2, 9:30-11a.m.
Mountain View – Thursday, May 1, 1:30-3 p.m.
Muldoon – Thursday, May 1, Noon-1:30 p.m. and Friday, May 2, 9:30-11 a.m.

Mikelnguut Elitnaurviat – Thursday, May 1, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Ayaprun Elitnaruvik Yup'ik Immersion School - Thursday, May 1, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Barnette Magnet School – Thursday, May 1, 8:30-10 a.m.
Denali Elementary – Friday, May 2, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
North Pole Elementary – Thursday, May 1, 10-11:30 a.m. and Friday, May 2, 10-11:30 a.m.

Mendenhall River – Thursday, May 1, 9:45-10:45 a.m. and Friday, May 2, 9 a.m.-Noon
Auke Bay – Friday, May 2, 1:15-2:20 p.m. and 2:45-3:45 p.m.
Gastineau Elementary – Thursday, May 1, 12:45-2 p.m.


For more information, call Linda Luper, UA College Savings Plan program
director, at (907) 450-8115; or Lora Jorgensen, ACPE, at (907) 269-7591.