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Project GRAD Nashville education partnership has new name – Imagine College

Jul. 26, 2002, 4:19 PM

July 26, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) Nashville, an education partnership whose members include Vanderbilt University and Metro Public Schools, has a new name, “Imagine College,” it was announced today. The program’s mission is to open the door to higher education for inner city students by supporting student learning, teacher professional development, and family and community engagement in schools.

“Our mission remains the same. However, as our local partnership has evolved we have adjusted our approach to meet the needs – and build on the assets – that exist in Nashville,” Imagine College Executive Director Marcy Singer-Gabella said. “The new name better reflects our mission to have every parent and every student ‘imagine college’ from pre-school to high school graduation,” said Mac Dunwoody, co-founder of Imagine College.

“Our program now differs from those in other Project GRAD cities because we’ve tailored our program, resources and strategies in response to what we’ve learned from local teachers, students and their families, and other community organizations during the past three years,” Singer-Gabella said.

The Nashville program also differs in that Vanderbilt University plays a key role in the program by providing staffing and resources, including access to current research. As of yet, none of the other cities in the Project GRAD network has a university as a key partner. Singer-Gabella is assistant provost at Vanderbilt.

The cornerstone of Imagine College is the guarantee of scholarship assistance to any student who graduates with a 2.5 grade point average from a participating high school. Since 1999, the program has served Pearl-Cohn Comprehensive Business Magnet High School and its feeder schools – Cockrill and Park Avenue elementary schools and W.A. Bass and McKissack middle schools.

Imagine College is led by the partnership of the Inner City Education Foundation, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University. It is funded through private gifts, foundation and federal grants, and the contributions of partners.

Project GRAD started as a Houston-based program that began in 1993 with efforts to reduce the dropout rate at the city’s Jeff Davis High School.