The readers’ forum

FIU fostering academic success for troubled students


Re FIU President Mark Rosenberg’s Dec. 23 letter, Students’ success a communitywide effort, about Florida International University’s role in helping public-school students excel on standardized tests:

I applaud Rosenberg, FIU and others for initiating another communitywide effort called Fostering Panther Pride.

This program addresses the needs of students coming from foster care or homelessness. FIU offers customized services that will provide these students with opportunities to succeed academically and graduate from a top-tier public research university.

Nearly one third of former foster and homeless youth attending FIU are on academic probation with GPAs less than 2.0. These students lack a support system to effectively achieve their goals. They don’t know how to navigate the higher-education system and to finance their studies, struggle to support themselves and often suffer from mental and emotional challenges as a result of childhood trauma.

Through generous contributions, Fostering Panther Pride will leverage the expertise and resources of community-based organizations such as the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Educate Tomorrow, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Voices for Children, Chad Moss Construction and HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected and Disadvantaged Youth) to better serve the needs of these students and together create a strong residual impact on our youth.

Betsy Suero Skipp, Miami

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