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Smart Scholars: First cohort registers for free college courses

Smart Scholars: First cohort registers for free college courses

The first cohort of the Mount Vernon Smart Scholars program began registering for free college courses this year. Students began the program in 2020 as ninth-graders, and as 11th-graders will be taking advanced placement courses and college courses. Registration was held at Mount Vernon High School at 10:00 a.m., the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy at 11:15 a.m. and Denzel Washington School of the Arts at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.  

The Smart Scholar program is run in conjunction with Mercy College, and students can make progress towards their college degree by participating. The program began in the 2020-2021 school year, and the first cohort of ninth-grade students are now in 11th-grade and engaging in the concurrent college enrollment portion of the program. 75 11th-grade students are enrolled, 25 at each high school. This year’s ninth-graders, the third cohort of Smart Scholars, began this year by going through the summer program. 

Lillian Serret-Morales, the principal of the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy was impressed by the resiliency of her school’s 25 Smart scholars, who completed a portion of the program online due to COVID.  

“Last year was the first year in person, and it was difficult,” said Ms. Serret-Morales. “But they’re still all on track and continuing their regular courseload.” 

Mike Nash, assistant director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment at Mercy College, is the Mount Vernon City School District’s Smart Scholar admission point person. Others involved are Dr. Cecil Wright, executive director of admissions at Mercy College, Anne Gilligan, Assistant Vice President of Admissions at Mercy College and the Mount Vernon City School District Office of School Improvement. 

11th-grade Smart Scholars are taking college courses in US History, pre-calculus, English, and chemistry. Other course offerings include Spanish, physics and statistics.  
The district is paying for the courses in full, so students can save even more money on college tuition. Additionally, students who decide to attend Mercy College will get an additional $1,000 off their tuition.  

Taking these courses will prepare students for the workload of college courses and relieve some of the stresses that come with paying for and preparing for college.  
The Mount Vernon City School District will hold a zoom meeting for any parents interested in the Smart Scholar program in late October. Any middle school parents that are interested in enrolling a student in Smart Scholars, please reach out to your child’s school counselor.  

Students being helped with their registration for college courses.
Students and teachers posing with No Place for Hate bags and shirts

All 16 Mount Vernon City School District schools were presented with No Place for Hate (NPFH) Banners at the NPFH Banner Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The district became the largest school district in Westchester County to have all of its schools designated as No Place for Hate. They are among the 239 NPFH schools in downstate New York.

MBK Fellows seated at table

Kevon Palmer and Levonn Latham, 11th-grade students at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, were inducted as 2023-24 My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) fellows on Friday, May 19, 2023. The induction ceremony was held at the annual My Brother’s Keeper Symposium. They traveled to Albany, New York, where the symposium was held, with their mentors Brother Arthur Muhammad, youth development specialist, and Noel Campbell, director of career and technical education.

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson has been a school social worker for close to 25 years.  She began her educational career in the Yonkers Public School system in 2000 and became the school social worker at Rebecca Turner Elementary School in 2005. Throughout her career, she has always searched for engaging and enriching programs for her students to participate in, including No Place for Hate.    

Logo for news post

The Mount Vernon City School District needed an extra day to determine the winners of the Board of Trustee race to fill four of the five seats being contested. Following the closing of the polls at 9 pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, electronic results were reported and absentee ballots were counted, but 23 affidavit ballots still needed to be verified by the Westchester County Board of Elections and ballots that met residency requirements were counted.