Early Identification Program Prepares T.C. Williams Students for College

Amira Dalmazio, a T.C. Williams High School senior, has been part of the partnership between George Mason University and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) for the past five years. She moved to Alexandria from France and entered the sixth grade speaking no English. She came to the United States speaking three other languages and is now fluent in English as well. Amira has also been a part of the Academy of Finance since her sophomore year. Her grade point average is 3.92. She takes five Advanced Placement classes and one Dual Enrollment class via the Academy of Finance program. She is proud to be one of 33 Northern Virginia students vying for a full scholarship at George Mason University (GMU). She credits the George Mason Early Identification Program (EIP) for giving her the drive and confidence to learn more about higher education.

"I came to this country in sixth grade. I started the EIP process in eighth grade and my mother and I learned so much about college preparation," Amira said. "The program helped me with the SAT, completing FAFSA and staying on top of my schoolwork. They also helped me apply to colleges, and I just interviewed with GMU for a full ride through the EIP program."

Other T.C. Williams seniors and future EIP graduates include Tatyana Keen, Freyner Rosales and Mohamed Sidibe. These students and 22 other ACPS students from Francis C. Hammond and George Washington middle schools and T.C. take part in the EIP, a GMU partnership program that supports first-generation college goers who are required to be identified in the eighth grade. Students receive weekly mentor support from GMU graduate students, participate once a month in college preparatory sessions at the GMU main campus and take part in a three-week Standards of Learning preparatory course every July. These students maintain drive and commitment from when they first apply and are accepted in the eighth grade. Throughout the school year, grades are monitored and students receive weekly individual mentoring and tutoring.

These students report that among the most impactful pieces of EIP are the July preparatory workshops, on such subjects as Geometry, held during summer academy. These students are looking forward to being EIP graduates and tutors for other EIP students. Additionally, students who hold high GPA status will qualify for various GMU scholarships during senior year. With more than 1,000 EIP graduates in the area, this partnership continues to support students with access to educational resources all year long. EIP is currently in the middle of recruitment season and is featuring parent meetings during April for recommended students.

The EIP partnership is monitored by T.C. Williams Dean of Students Gregory Baldwin, who has served as EIP district coordinator for the past four years. Nicole Wright-Guise serves as the local site teacher host, who also teaches EIP summer academy courses. AVID District Director Jodie Peters is currently supporting the EIP team as a means for sharing college resources. Read more information on the GMU Early Identification Program.