Upward Bound Math Science Grant Funds Educational Opportunities for Students in Breathitt and Perry Counties

BEREA, KY — Partners for Education at Berea College has been awarded an Upward Bound Math & Science (UBMS) grant worth $260,000 to serve students in Breathitt and Perry counties. The United States Department of Education grant will provide 60 students annually from Breathitt County High School and Perry County Central High School with services designed to strengthen math and science skills and encourage the pursuit of postsecondary degrees and eventual careers in math and science professions.

UBMS at Berea College implements a broad spectrum of intervention activities and services to meet students’ needs. “Check and connect” is the overarching intervention strategy. By monitoring grades, attendance and other factors in addition to checking in with students, UBMS staff members assess each student’s educational needs.  Mentors then connect directly with students to improve challenge areas.

The program provides a variety of services designed to strengthen academic skills, including tutoring, instruction in core curriculum areas and intensive instruction in math and science. UBMS mentors also serve as guides as students navigate the transition from secondary to postsecondary education. Students receive advice and assistance in secondary and postsecondary course selections and assistance preparing for college entrance exams, completing college admissions applications and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students also participate in an on-campus residential program that allows them to experience college life. Parents and caregivers of students also receive educational services designed to improve financial literacy and resources for locating scholarships.

“As an Upward Bound alum, I can attest to the impact the program can have on students,” said Jenny Ceesay, Director of Programs at Partners for Education, “I would have never seen myself as a college student –much less actually gone to college–without the guidance of my Upward Bound program.”

Ceesay added the program works because it “uses experiential learning opportunities to help students explore and develop their interests and helps them develop skills to be successful in any future endeavor.”

Partners for Education at Berea College uses a place based, student focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky. By braiding services and aligning federal, state and private funding streams, Partners for Education works to ensure all Appalachian students succeed at school.




Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 60 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of seven federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing, and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.