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Tuscaloosa Academic Enrichment


TAEP feb 2011

The mission of Tuscaloosa Academic Enrichment Program (TAEP) is to provide high-quality academic and cultural learning experiences to incoming high-school freshmen and sophomores. Using research-based approaches and models of effective practice, TAEP strives to ensure students have access to high-quality learning opportunities during summer months.


Academic studies have consistently shown all young people – in particular those from low-income families – experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer (Cooper, Nye, Charleton, Lindsay, & Greathouse, 1996). Read “Summer Slide for more details on this problem.  Tuscaloosa Academic Enrichment Program provides three weeks of academic and cultural programming for incoming high school freshmen through careful planning, extensive staff/intern development, strategic partnerships and continual evaluation.


Program structure

Taking place in June, a select group of 20-30 ninth and tenth grade students receive literacy instruction along with afternoon enrichment activities. Meals and transportation are provided through local partnerships and grant-initiated support. Academic instruction is provided by UA College of Education students through a summer service-learning course taught by Professor Lisa Scherff.


Afternoon enrichment activities consist of hands-on recreational exercises that involve participants in everyday uses of science, physics, engineering, and math, while also emphasizing the importance of history and civic engagement. Some afternoon activities include: a tour of the Mercedes Plant, a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, a college interest day, and art lessons provided by art students at the University of Alabama.  Two college mentors will serve as leaders of the program under the direct supervision of The Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility.


How UA Students Are Involved

Tuscaloosa Academic Enrichment Program receives year-round direction from a dedicated staff member based in the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility. CESR shares responsibility for planning and overseeing program implementation with the UA School of Education. Seasonal staff, including certified teachers and youth development professionals, will be brought on immediately before the start of the summer program.  Both undergraduate and graduate student volunteers receive intensive training during a summer course at UA and participate alongside certified teachers in staffing the summer program.


Undergraduates and graduate students of all majors can participate as classroom aides.  TAEP aides work alongside certified teachers teaching daily lessons and enrichment activities to rising high-school freshman. Training for TAEP aides takes place during the three-week May interim. Participants receive academic credit hours for their commitment to the TAEP program. Complimentary on-campus housing also is available to aides. 



We are seeking undergraduates and graduate students of all majors to participate as classroom aides. If you are interested in staffing this program, please contact Lindsey Thomas at cesr@ua.edu or (205) 348-6490, or Dr. Lisa Scherff at lscherff@bamaed.ua.edu or (205) 348-5872.