Kenwood Academy Principal Karen Calloway says that UChicago students are important members of the campus family — tutoring students in the school’s library, working as teachers’ aides in classrooms, leading study groups, mentoring a young men’s group, and more. “The work they do would have a very high price by the hour, something we would never be able to pay for,” Calloway says. “And the opportunities our students have to interact with them are priceless.”
The UChicago students are employees and volunteers with the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP), one of the University’s longest-running community outreach programs. For more than forty years, NSP has placed University students as tutors and teaching assistants in elementary, middle, and high schools, and as administrative interns and preschool specialists in government offices and community centers.
In addition to helping Kenwood students improve academically, Calloway says that NSP volunteers build relationships that have a lasting impact on her students’ perceptions about and readiness for college. “They come in with a wealth of knowledge around academic content areas, but they talk about other things, too,” like the ins and outs of college life and what it takes to succeed at a top-tier university. “They’re academic role models for our students to look up to and know.” More than 80 percent of Kenwood graduates go on to four-year colleges.
Kenwood Academy, located about a mile from the UChicago campus and serving grades 7–12, was one of just two NSP sites when the program began providing tutors in 1976. Today, more than 500 University students engage with more than 4,000 youngsters every year at 50 sites on the South Side. “No matter how many partnerships NSP has, they always keep Kenwood in a special place because we’ve been partners for so long,” Calloway says. Kenwood students also spend time on the UChicago campus through a number of other University programs, including the Collegiate Scholars Program, College Bridge, the Enrico Fermi Summer Internship program, STEM workshops, and learning visits to UChicago Medicine.