Spruce Grantee Spotlight – 12 Plus

12 Plus believes in empowering students to reach their full potential and continue their education past 12th grade. What began in 2010 as a pilot program at Kensington school, quickly grew into a multi-school initiative. Their first program only had 9 students. Now, 12 Plus works with 1500 students annually at partner schools throughout the Philadelphia school district.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ernest Tam, Impact Director at 12 Plus who’s passion and commitment to the students is inspiring. Ernest began volunteering with 12 Plus as a University student and transitioned into a full time role after graduation. He discovered that it’s not enough just to work with individual students and now works with students in all grades.

According to Ernest, the 12 Plus aims to help, “every student, every year, every step of the way.” With a 95% post-secondary acceptance rate, 12 Plus is doing just that. “Our staff works hard to advise and make the best decisions possible for our students.”

At Philadelphia schools, 12 Plus’s centers have become a hub for student life. Throughout the day students can drop by for additional support by staff members and site directors. Freshman year workshops advise students on how to succeed in high school. Students learn how to select class credits and the importance of a GPA. By senior year, students are prepared to take workshops that teach them how to submit college applications and apply for scholarships.

12 Plus students during College Week
12 Plus students during College Week

12 Plus is a multi-faceted program that aims to help students throughout every step of their high school journey and beyond. Once students graduate, they continue to receive support and guidance from 12 Plus stuff members dedicated to their success. “Hearing from alumni that they’re succeeding is very rewarding,” said Ernest.

12 Plus plans to expand into a new school this upcoming year and will continue with their mission to inspire students throughout Philadelphia.

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