Project STREAM, Support, Training & Resources for Educating Able Minorities, was a project funded by federal Javits Grant money and supported by the University of Wisconsin Extension & the Department of Public Instruction. The grant was authored and administered by Dr. Donna Rae Clasen at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. It ran from the late 1980s until 2002. During that time, hundreds of middle and high school students spent a week on campus. The ultimate goal was to increase the graduation rates of minority students and then have them enter and complete a university or technical college degree program.
Over a dozen years, hundreds of students from Beloit, Delevan, Racine, Milwaukee,and Waukesha visited the Whitewater campus at least once each semester in between their summer week-long institutes on campus. In addition, teachers from the region taught the workshops and developed relationships with the students. Currently an effort is underway to locate these former students (now in their 40s) who participated for their reflections on their experiences. Anyone with connections to these districts and their former students is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following excerpt from a STREAM brochure summarizes the overview of the project:
Successful collaborative efforts are driven by common goals. It is equally important that all in the partnership endorse the basic assumptions underlying the project endeavors. The STREAM collaboration rests on eight basic assumptions:
1. Abilities and talents are distributed equally without regard to race, gender, nationality or ethnicity.
2. Multiple intelligences exist. In identifying highly able young people, effort should be expanded to determine the ways in which an individual is intelligent.
3. Early identification of talents and abilities is critical. Identification prior to middle school is desirable. Many decisions affecting academic and personal orientation are made during middle school.
4. Systematic and continuous attention to students is required. A nurturing but challenging environment is required every step of the way.
5. Affective components are as important as the academic components. STREAM focuses on developing self-esteem and a sense of competence in both psychosocial and academic areas.
6. Parents and families must be involved in the education of their children.
7. Universities need to link with minority students, their teachers and their parents when students are at an early age.
8. Systems operate in interaction. Changing the status quo requires changes educationally, socially, politically, and in family patterns of behavior.”
As we look at the eight basic assumptions of Project STREAM, we are reminded that these assumptions remain imperative in gifted education today. Thank you to the many who furthered this project through teaching and participation. We hope to learn even more about the impact of this program on the lives of those involved.
WATG President 2003-2004