Phuture Phoenix provides an opportunity for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to believe post-secondary education is important, attainable, and available.
Goals and Objectives
- To encourage disadvantaged and underrepresented students, starting at the fifth-grade level, to complete high school and attend college, thus boosting the percentage of Northeast Wisconsin graduates who continue onto college
- To provide positive role models for disadvantaged and underrepresented students and allow UW-Green Bay students the opportunity to perform community service
- To create a relationship between the community, university and area youth
- To provide youth from our region an opportunity to visit and experience their public university
- To increase the number of pre-teens and young teens who view education as a path to a brighter future
The Phuture Phoenix program began in 2002, founded by Cyndie Shepard and Ginny Riopelle. The idea for the program was sparked by a conversation Cyndie had with a fifth grade boy at a Green Bay elementary school. The conversation centered around the idea that students who attend schools where a large majority are low-income need to be shown what college could look like for them to initiate the dream of pursuing post-secondary education in the future.
Ginny, a longtime Green Bay community member, secured the funding for the program’s first initiative, a large scale field trip to the UW-Green Bay campus. Cyndie, then the Chancellor’s wife at UW-Green Bay, worked to find college students to take fifth graders around campus as role models as well as faculty and staff on campus to host the fifth grade guests. In the first year, Phuture Phoenix hosted over 400 students on campus.
As the program grew, an education course was added to the curriculum for all pre-service educators at UW-Green Bay. This course educates students about critical teaching dispositions, mentor training and requires 35 hours of tutoring and mentoring in the field for students in the Phuture Phoenix partner schools. The tutoring and mentoring went beyond the vision that the campus visit provided--it offered help to students struggling in core academic areas that they would need in order to gain college admission.
Historically, high school graduation rates in Northeast Wisconsin have been lower than the state counterparts, and research shows that long-term attitudes toward higher education and life-long learning begin to take shape as early as fifth grade. The Phuture Phoenix program was initiated to encourage school attendance, inspire academic success and alert young people to the wide open opportunities of creating their future to involve higher education.
Partner School Districts
- Green Bay
- Oconto Falls
- Oneida Nation
- Sturgeon Bay
- Two Rivers
- West De Pere