College Transition & Success

Meet Our Students: Jermaine Murchison (SEED Miami ’23) Sets His Sights on West Point

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Although still in middle school, Jermaine Murchison (SEED Miami ’23) is already focused on charting his path to a college degree. An eighth grader at SEED Miami, Jermaine is an honor roll student who sets a stellar example for his peers. As a member of the Student Ambassador program, Jermaine gives tours to prospective SEED students and donors. He is also a member of the Bulldog flag football team, where he plays safety, corner, and wide receiver.

“I’ve had the pleasure of serving as Jermaine’s student life counselor for three years. During this time, Jermaine has truly become a leader. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the football field, Jermaine has faced every challenge with tenacity and courage,” shared Kem Chatfield, a student life counselor at SEED Miami.

Jermaine is committed to taking advantage of every opportunity he is offered. As a sixth-grade scholar, he boarded a plane for the first time to travel to Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center in Deep Gap, North Carolina. Founded in 2003, Buffalo Cove encourages visitors to find harmony and empowerment through self-understanding, self-confidence, friends, and fun. Jermaine had the chance to explore nature, learn new skills, and connect with other Buffalo Cove campers.

“When our admissions director, Mr. Lewis, visited my home when I was in the fifth grade, I knew SEED was the school for me. I was most excited to live in the dorm, because it was something new, but traveling to Buffalo Cove gave me the opportunity to really get out of my comfort zone and try new things,” said Jermaine.

Jermaine is excited to begin high school and work with an advisor from SEED’s College Transition & Success program. He hopes to find a college or university that is the right fit for him. Currently, he has his sights set on earning a degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

We’re proud of Jermaine’s progress and excited to see where his educational journey takes him!

What We’re Learning: Acceleration Academies Work!

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At SEED, we’re committed to using evidence-based practices to improve our academic instruction and help our students succeed.

That’s why, last spring, we piloted an Acceleration Academy with students at SEED DC. Acceleration Academies provide targeted instruction in English language arts and math during a school vacation. We learned about this powerful intervention through research conducted on a district-wide improvement effort in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which found that the Acceleration Academies had a significant impact on student achievement and accounted for a larger proportion of learning gains than all the other strategies combined.

Instead of having fun in the sun during their spring break, nearly 40 SEED students participated in the Acceleration Academy. The students spent 20 hours over a five-day period honing their skills and mastering content aligned with the PARCC standardized test.

SEED’s Acceleration Academy worked!

  • Fifty-two (52) percent of students who participated in the Acceleration Academy improved their raw score on PARCC, compared to 12 percent of students who did not participate in the Acceleration Academy.

  • Thirty-two (32) percent of students who participated in the Acceleration Academy improved their PARCC performance level (PARCC has five levels of achievement), compared to 12 percent of students who did not participate in the Acceleration Academy. 

During our February 2019 winter break, we held another Acceleration Academy at SEED DC and are waiting to see the results.

Going forward, we’re excited about piloting more Acceleration Academies and other evidence-based practices across the network to help all SEED students improve.

Where Are They Now? Bradley Jacobs (SEED DC ’09, Towson University ’15) Is Living His Dream in New York City

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From the very first day our students set foot on campus, they begin to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships.

These relationships are key to our students’ success. With the support of their counselors, teachers, and advisors, our scholars and graduates own their educational journeys and succeed in college and beyond.

This month, we spoke to Bradley Jacobs (SEED DC ’09). He shared with us how SEED’s guidance helped him to meet his goals and how the bonds he built are unbreakable.

What college or university did you attend after graduating from SEED?

I attended Towson University, where I majored in mass communications and minored in marketing.

How was your transition from SEED to college?

My transition was unique, since I spent my first year studying in Spain. When I returned, I spoke to my College Transition & Success (CTS) advisor, Melissa Freedman, and she helped me develop a plan. I enrolled at Allegany Community College [now Allegany College of Maryland] and secured my associate’s degree after two years. I then transferred to Towson University.

Did you stay connected to SEED while in college?

My CTS advisor was always available and constantly checked in with me. She helped me maneuver the college transfer process, determine which major was best for me, and develop a plan to ensure I had the GPA and credits to secure a degree in mass communications.

While in college, I also attended SEED’s Alumni Institute [now the SEED Graduate Institute] and received guidance on resume writing and financial literacy. The Institute helped me figure out what was beyond college and how to transition to adulthood. I found this super helpful.

What did you do after graduating from Towson University?

After graduating from Towson University, I moved to New York City.

It was my goal to work in the fashion industry, and today I work for a public relations agency where I manage relationships with fashion editors, celebrities, and online influencers. My focus is on helping my clients secure, maximize, and leverage press opportunities. Two of my clients are Nike and Helmut Lang.

How did your experience at SEED impact you?

Two things stand out for me: the importance of experiencing and traveling the world, and getting to—and through—college.

I was given a ton of opportunities to travel while at SEED. I traveled to Greece and then participated in the Experience International Living program, where I spent three weeks in Mexico. Traveling broadened my curiosity and led me to study in Spain for a year after graduation. I also studied for a semester in the Bahamas, where I learned a lot about ecology and the environment.

As a SEED student, I was guided through the financial aid process and how to apply for scholarships. The college tours gave me a firsthand look at college life and what each school had to offer. Through a tour, I learned of the opportunity to study abroad, and I am forever grateful for the experience.

But beyond travel and help with college, perhaps the thing I remember and cherish most about SEED is the relationships.

My relationship with SEED extends beyond school. In fact, this summer I’ll be attending the wedding of my former SEED advisor. The bonds I built are deep—SEED is my family.

Our Impact: SEED DC Celebrates Founders Day

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“Good afternoon, scholars!”

“Good afternoon.”

“I am sure you can do better than that. Good afternoon, scholars!”

“Good afternoon!”

On March 6, Mecha Inman, the head of school for The SEED School of Washington, D.C., kicked off Founders Day 2019 with this energetic greeting to scholars. SEED DC’s annual Founders Day celebration is an opportunity for scholars, staff, and graduates—the entire SEED family—to celebrate the accomplishments of fellow SEED community members. It’s also a time to remember why Eric Adler and Rajiv Vinnakota, co-founders of SEED and current SEED Foundation board members, started The SEED Foundation: They aspired to build the nation’s first network of college-preparatory boarding schools to provide youth living in low-income communities with an excellent education.

Founders Day is also a time to recognize eleventh and twelfth-grade scholars who have made significant contributions to SEED’s mission and vision. This year, the Vinnakota Award, was given to two remarkable scholars—Jeffrey Moore IV (SEED DC ’19) and Imani Nixon (SEED DC ’19).

Jeffrey and Imani are both members of the Peer Group Connection, where they serve as leaders and mentors for their fellow scholars. In addition, both students model the SEED mission by taking advantage of the many opportunities that SEED offers, such as traveling internationally with SEED’s Experiential Learning & External Opportunities program, performing with The SEED Falcon Theatre, and more!

“Founders Day is a wonderful time to celebrate and share our rich history and our mission with scholars, staff, and other stakeholders,” said, Ms. Inman. “We look forward to announcing the winners of the Vinnakota Award, and honoring our long-time staff members.”

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Finally, Founders Day is a time to recognize outstanding SEED teachers and faculty. Teachers who have served the school for four years receive a special chair to recognize their tenure at SEED and their commitment to SEED scholars. This year’s honorees were Brendan Dowd, campus operations manager; Alexis Holloway, school receptionist; Marjorie Howard, government grants manager; Davette Nutridge, special education teacher; Michael Street, director of information technology; Tina Taylor, student life counselor; and Nakeda Walker, administrative assistant.