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35 Years Ago

from The Bridge, vol. XIV, no. 5, p. 1; November 3, 1982.

Transition Year Begun:
Ms. Shoemaker Appointed Head

Northfield Mount Hermon School was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to conduct a “transition year program” at the school. English Department member, Pamela Shoemaker, has been appointed to coordinate the program.

The program, which will be called “The Dodge Transition Year Program,” has according to Ms. Shoemaker, the goal of “helping capable minority students bridge the gap between an inadequate secondary school education and college work.” In this program students that certain colleges see as capable but not quite ready to handle the first year of college will be referred to NMH to take a post-graduate year. Ms. Shoemaker will follow and supervise these students during their year at NMH. The transition year program will provide the students involved with special helping problem areas such as English. The details of the program will be decided upon once Ms. Shoemaker gets a better idea about what the specific needs of the student might be.

The idea for a transition year program arose from conversations with colleges such as Dartmouth, Brown, and Amherst, who feel there is a need for such a program. Money was then made available by the Geraldine R. Dodge foundation, a New Jersey based institution which supports work in independent schools in New England. This foundation, which was established in 1974 with funds from Geraldine R. Dodge, has awarded sixty-three grants in the past five years totaling 1.8 million dollars. The money that NMH has received will go toward some of the salary for the coordinator, transportation costs, and office expenses.

In this, the first year of the grant, Ms. Shoemaker will spend time visiting various colleges and working with them to try to identify prospective students for the program. The goal is to enroll, at most, ten students next fall. About ten more students will be enrolled the second year, and then the third year the program will be evaluated. Ms. Shoemaker will continue to teach English half-time in addition to her new responsibilities. Ms. Shoemaker feels that, “NMH is very equipped” to make a program such as the Dodge Transition work. If the program is a success, similar programs may be started at other private secondary schools.

Editor’s note: The transition year program flourished from this modest beginning. This fall marks the 35th group of TYP scholars who’ve come to NMH.