The Tomorrow's Scientists, Technicians and Managers (TSTM) program functions as a supplement to the structure and curriculum offered by high schools and relies heavily on the cooperation of the career counselors, teachers, and parents. The program consists of eight different components to address the strengths and needs of the youth in the program. Special Counseling is provided for the students in the selection of their high school program as well as for the students' high school programs, college entrance and career selection. Tutoring is offered to TSTM students in advanced mathematics, science, and other subject areas by staff and volunteers. Many of the students have not been exposed to colleges and universities outside of the Peoria area. In order to provide them with other options for higher education, TSTM offers an Out-of-State field trip. Additionally, actual contact with individuals working in engineering, mathematics, science, and other related fields is provided through field trips, to research centers, universities, engineering firms, national meetings of scientific organizations, etc. One-year scholarships are awarded to minority graduating high school seniors who achieve specified grade point averages ranging from 2.5 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, depending on the funding source, and are pursuing an interest in careers in college preparatory mathematics, physical science, English, health, or accounting courses. Most scholarships require a 3.0 GPA. Students are awarded one-year scholarships ranging from $500.00 to $2,500.00 for tuition, fees and other college-related expenses to various colleges and universities. All area High School students are invited to apply beginning January of their senior year. A scholarship committee reviews applications, which are submitted by the March deadline. Recommendations are then made to Board of Directors, with priority going to active TSTM seniors. The TSTM program also encourages students to fulfill a minimum of 20 hours of community service at the Tri-County Urban League and other designated locations within the city throughout the TSTM school year. The objective is to encourage students to give back to their community. An Annual Youth Awards Banquet is conducted to recognize TSTM students who successfully participated in the program and to acquaint the community with the various activities of TSTM.
The TSTM program collaborates with neighboring agencies and organizations, and businesses including the Peoria Public Schools, Illinois Central College, Bradley University, Caterpillar Inc, and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in order to fulfill requirements for participants to obtain diversified knowledge and positive experience both educationally and socially. We have worked closely with these agencies in an effort to increase the effectiveness of the TSTM program.
Services through the High School TSTM program are provided for high school students (grades 9 - 12). The High School program serves approximately 55 - 75 youth, with an average of 30 students per session. Each structured session provides one hour of direct service (consisting of structured discussion groups, guest speakers, and activities) and one hour for follow-up activities. The students will complete an Individual College Development Plan upon enrollment into the program, which includes self-assessments for academic and career preparation. Assessments will include information on the student's career and academic goals and measures to take to reach his or her goals. Students will also be given a reading and math assessment to demonstrate minimum grade appropriate competency in mathematics and reading. Additional assessments/evaluations are given after each session. Information from the assessments is gathered and the results are analyzed. Results of the assessments show that over 85% of the students have increased their knowledge of the subject matter being presented and have applied what was learned to their lives, demonstrating a change in behavior.
Since 1983, the Urban League's TSTM Program, with the support of local businesses, industry, and private donors, has experienced a great amount of success. An average of 95% of the high school seniors who actively participated in the program, successfully graduated. Of those who graduated, approximately 85% of them entered college. An average of 10 scholarships were awarded annually to graduating seniors of the program.
The Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League and the TSTM program have had a long-standing relationship with members of the community and high school officials of the local school district, Peoria District 150. Teachers, school administrators, and District administrators have referred students to various programs operated through the Urban League. Staff has also relied on the school officials and parents of the students to provide information and progress of the students enrolled in our programs.