With A Foundation Laid in Primary Schools, SparkWheel Seeks to Expand Services to College and Universities
Prior to the pilot program at Pittsburg State, Sparkwheel had seven locations in Pittsburg, KS including four elementary schools, the city’s middle and high schools. That’s in addition to locations in Chanute, Parsons, and Independence.
Starting college is difficult enough, made even more so by the challenge of relocating to do so.
A pilot program at Pittsburg State is helping to lower those barriers for students.
KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.
According to data released this summer by theNational Association of Student Personnel Administrators nearly 36% of college students in Kansas are the first in their family to go to college.
In Missouri, that figure is a few ticks high at 37.14%. Perhaps making the leap from high school to college even more difficult, 56% of all postsecondary students in the U.S. have parents who don’t hold bachelor’s degrees.
Pittsburg State’s Megan Stoneberger Johnson has walked that path before as the first person in her family to attend college. She’s gone on to earn three degrees from PSU.
Today, she’s the coordinator of the Sparkwheel program is well-known in high schools, and could expand further into universities and colleges.
“Sparkwheel provides assistance to students in need. K12, they have been around for 25 years, there in over 70 schools in four states but Pittsburg State University is hosting a pilot program. The first time we’ve branched out into higher ed. So trying to extend those services to students who are seeking a college degree.”
Stoneberger Johnson is knowledgeable in the area having been a high school teacher and a family education and support specialist for the Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area in Missouri prior to Sparkwheel’s Coordinator.
Copyright 2023 Four States Public Radio. To see more, visitFour States Public Radio.