Future Forward is a pilot program serving 25 Spanish speaking 5th and 6th grade limited English proficient students in Harrisonburg City Schools through year round advocacy and supplemental educational support. The goal of Future Forward is to ensure that all its students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma or complete a GED that prepares them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment. Future Forward students will be assigned to the caseload of a bilingual (English/Spanish) “Advocate” who will conduct regular home visits and phone contact to ensure students’ needs are being met. Future Forward will offer the following services to participants:

  • Advocacy: Through frequent home visits and phone contact, Future Forward Advocates develop strong relationships of trust with families served and are able to personally hear parent concerns and respond accordingly. Understanding that parents play a critical role in their children’s academic success, Future Forward equips parents with information and opportunities to actively participate in the educational process. Program staff advocate for families in formal educational settings to ensure that parents are informed about their child’s academic progress in a way that is culturally and linguistically relevant. The ultimate goal is to increase parent comfort and self-sufficiency with the school until they are able to act as their own advocate for their child’s education. Advocates help families navigate the US educational system, connect with community resources, and understand individual rights to access educational, health and social services.
  • Student Empowerment: A Future Forward Advocate’s primary goal is to empower students to set ambitious educational goals and reach them. Future Forward supports its students in taking charge of realizing the future they want for themselves and understanding that they are capable of achieving their full potential. Advocates help students develop personal action plans that account for their current academic standing, their future educational goals, and the barriers to achieving said goals.  
  • Interpretation/Translation/Transportation Services: Advocates offer interpretation services for school conferences and meetings and translation of school correspondence, documents and forms. Staff also provides transportation to and interpretation for any appointment directly related to a student’s health or well-being (i.e. doctor/dental/social service appointments), and assists with translation of documents and applications from the Virginia Department of Social Services (i.e. Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF). 
  • Tutoring: Future Forward supports student learning and expands educational opportunities in and out of school by offering home and school-based tutoring programs. Advocates collaborate with students from James Madison University to offer an in-home tutoring program to any eligible participant. JMU volunteers fill out an application form, undergo a background check, and complete a volunteer orientation before they are carefully matched with a Future Forward student whose needs are compatible with the volunteer’s skills and interests.  The tutor visits the student’s home twice a week for a minimum of one hour per session to assist the student with homework, school projects, studying for tests, and reviewing SOL material.
  • Summer Enrichment: Future Forward offers summer enrichment opportunities to its participants. Advocates plan and implement a week-long STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) based camp to prevent summer learning loss and keep students engaged in constructive activities which will reduce risky-behaviors.  

For more information, contact Kathleen Stoehr at 540-568-3666 or chris2kd@jmu.edu

Download the Future Forward Infographic (PDF)

Back to Top