What's Happening Now
The Peak Education Newsletter
August 10, 2020
Dear Peak Education Community,
I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. We are so excited to release our summer newsletter in which you will find updates about our work and feature stories about some of our resilient and hardworking students. From all of us at Peak Education, we extend our congratulations to the class of 2020 and well-wishes to our students, families, volunteers, and donors as we look forward to another great (though unorthodox) school year.
L. Carlos Jimenez, Peak Education CEO
June 23, 2020
Peak Education looks to expand its college counseling services
COLORADO SPRINGS—In the wake of pandemic-induced budget cuts, Colorado’s k-12 schools stand to lose 10% of their already strained funding, totaling $448 million. At the same time, students are requiring more support from teachers and counselors than ever. As education funding is poised to shrink, Peak Education, a Colorado Springs nonprofit, is set to expand its college counseling services.
Peak Education, which has supported students primarily in D2 Springs schools for more than 20 years, has hired a new dedicated director of college counseling, Jasmine Rainey. “Peak Education’s mission has always been to help students not waste potential,” Rainey said. “My position seeks to achieve that mission while also empowering and encouraging students to maximize their potential. I’ll be able to provide more one-on-one college and career counseling to students and their families and help them match to the best educational pathway, whether that is an apprenticeship, technical school, a two-year or four-year college.”
Rainey, who spent nine years with the Denver Scholarship Foundation, said college counseling is as necessary as ever: “Most job losses due to COVID-19 occurred with occupations not requiring degrees,” she said. “So, it’s important for me to convey to students that college or obtaining some type of educational credential is still important and possible despite the pandemic.”
“Because of the pandemic, many districts are on a hiring freeze,” she added. “This will probably place an additional strain on school counselors who already have large caseloads and multiple responsibilities. My role will allow me to partner with schools and assist with presentations and workshops to alleviate some of the load for our partner schools.”
Peak Education’s CEO, Carlos Jiménez, is optimistic about Peak Education's growing impact in the community. “Our mission to increase college access and educational equity is strongly resonating with school and community leaders. Despite the challenges presented by COVID 19, we are excited to be engaging in new partnerships with Manitou Springs, North, and Fox Meadow Middle Schools and to be enrolling the largest cohort of new Peak Education Scholars in program history,” he said.
Continuing its longstanding commitment to students in southeast Colorado Springs, Peak Education, which currently supports 259 students from 7th graders to college seniors, is looking forward to another year in spite of the challenges facing Colorado public schools in the wake of COVID-19.
Initially conceived as a scholarship-based incentive program, Peak Education has evolved into a mentoring and college access organization that provides long-term engagement with students and families focused on four strategies for success: developing college and career readiness, building students’ capacity for leadership, fostering full family engagement in their students’ journeys, and creating broad-based community connections.
Jasmine Rainey, Director of College Counseling
Standing in Solidarity
June 5, 2020
Dear Peak Education Community,
Recent events are vivid reminders of the realities of injustice and inequality in our world. We at Peak Education echo the anger and anguish being expressed across our state and our country over the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other people of color. Our sympathy and solidarity is with the Black community as they face not only the disproportionate dangers of COVID-19 but the cruelties of racism as well. Now more than ever, we must remember the urgent need to combat injustice—particularly within the system of law enforcement—and work for peace. While it can be difficult and uncomfortable to confront the realities of systemic and entrenched racism, we are all compelled to do so.
Two decades ago, Peak Education was founded in response to violence and inequality standing in the way of young people reaching their potential. Today, our mission remains, and the work continues. We are engaged in work that provides low-income and students of color the tools and resources to pursue higher education and reach their dreams. As we do this, Peak Education cannot ignore the roles that race and racism play in the lives of many of our students and families. We believe that listening to them, supporting them, and learning with them are vital in addressing inequities and advancing opportunities. We remain committed to identifying and changing systems of oppression and injustice encountered by our students and families every day.
In the Colorado Springs community, each of us may be moved to work to combat racial injustice in different ways: joining protests, communicating our views to elected officials, educating ourselves and others, donating money to organizations engaged in anti-racist work, or sharing our opinions and support on social media platforms. Peak Education supports members of the community in finding productive ways to express their frustration, grief, and desire for substantive change. To the communities of color that we serve— families, colleagues, school counselors, volunteers, and partners—we support you; we stand with you. To our students, your dreams matter, and you matter; we are here for you.
The Peak Education Team
Spring semester is here and all hands are on deck! Scholars are applying to colleges, others are getting accepted, and even more are applying for scholarships. Contact Carlos with questions about scholarships and all other college counseling questions.
We have been meeting with all of our students once a month to teach them something different every time. Last month we talked about social skills and first impressions to the middle schoolers. In the high schools we talked about realities of college life and relating career research and conversations to the college search process.
Peak Ed scholars are also welcome to come into the office any time to get help completing their applications.