Lincoln Preparatory School makes academic gains, credits LOSFA and Louisiana GEAR UP services

Brittany Francis
Public Information and Communications Director 
(225) 219-3306 Office

Tyana Daquano
Public Information Officer
(225) 342-5173 Office

Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) 

November 28, 2018

Lincoln Preparatory School makes academic gains, credits LOSFA and Louisiana GEAR UP services

Baton Rouge – Each year, the state department of education issues a letter grade letter to schools in Louisiana, on a scale of A-F, which is calculated using student performance metrics including, but not limited to, students’ state assessment scores. Lincoln Preparatory School in Grambling, Louisiana, recently revamped the way teachers and students worked – the strategy: change the culture and focus more on academics – a strategy that has moved the school from an F to a C.

“A lot of people say ‘You’re doing a good job, but it’s not just me,” said Melanie Colvin, chief academic officer at Lincoln Prep. 

Colvin says Lincoln Prep began after 2014 when the former Grambling Lab School closed due to budget cuts, and a group of alumni began writing a charter for the current school. It was at that time she was introduced to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA).

She attended professional training offered by LOSFA, and learned the importance of having early conversations with students about graduation, college and a career.
Colvin says they’ve found success in using LOSFA’s Unlock My Future tool, a website that matches students with potential career paths and provides resources to discover which schools are best for them and how to pay for college. 

In the past, Colvin says Lincoln Prep did not offer any advanced placement courses, an opportunity she wanted the students to have. This past spring and summer, teachers became certified to now offer 10 AP courses at Lincoln Prep.

Colvin says the AP courses have led to an increase in ACT scores. They’ve also added more options for skill certifications for students who choose a career pathway.

Summer Clark, LOSFA Regional Coordinator, says with funding from LOSFA and Louisiana GEAR UP, students at Lincoln Prep are now able to receive financial literacy workshops, college campus tours, laptops, test prep courses, as well as tutoring and other academic support.

“When I first started working with the school they had big goals,” Clark said. “I love how the administration at Lincoln Prep is always searching for more opportunities to offer their students.”

Summer Clark (left), LOSFA Regional Coordinator, and Khristopher Hobbs (right), Aspire to Inspire Program Administrator and Lead Mentor, with Lincoln Prep students during Louisiana College Application & Access Month (LCAAM)

Colvin has also taken advantage of the mentoring program LOSFA offers, Aspire to Inspire .
“We had students who were potential dropouts, getting in trouble, being truant, and not putting academics first,” said Colvin.

Colvin contacted Khristopher Hobbs, who developed Aspire to Inspire. She said once she understood his primary goal was to make sure students got the support and encouragement they needed, she was ready to sign up.

“As someone who used to live down the road from Lincoln Prep, I understand many of the challenges they face and are now overcoming,” Hobbs, who is also the lead mentor, said.
Colvin has started one-on-one report card conferences with 6th – 12th-grade students, where the mentors review grades and discuss academic expectations.

“They know someone – not a parent, not a teacher – someone outside cares and is going to check up on them,” said Colvin. 

Between the staff at Lincoln Prep taking the initiative to improve the quality of education and the help from LOSFA and Louisiana GEAR UP, Colvin is pleased with the improvements, thus far.

“This year we’ve seen a difference. These students are coming to class and participating,” said Colvin. “LOSFA has the vision of graduating high school students. Together, we’re teaching students that they can go into any college classroom, or to any job and be successful.”

Clark’s goal for the 2018-2019 academic school year is to work more with freshman and sophomore students, as the school’s enrollment has increased due to services now being offered.