PRINCETON — Hennepin based ethanol producer Marquis Energy has partnered with Princeton High School for its ‘Energizing Education’ program.
The program, which Marquis has implemented with several area schools beginning with Putnam County, focuses on mentoring students one-on-one, goal-setting by students to improve academic performance, providing financial incentives to encourage and recognize success and identifying students who are under performing or are at risk.
According to Dennis Thompson, who oversees the program, the Marquis family started the program at Putnam County High School during their second semester about six years ago.
“The family, through Marquis Energy company, spends about $150,000 per year and without COVID, would have spent almost twice that much had we had a normal school year,” Thompson said.
The primary source for mentors is teachers and other personnel who are employees of the school district and who volunteer to participate in the program. The main objectives of a mentor are to help students set and meet their individual goals and to model, through his/her own personal character, a commitment to student success.
Students who are striving to improve their academic experience, are accepted into the program and required to set two goals for the semester and to meet regularly with their mentor for 30 minutes each week throughout that semester. The students’ objective is to reach their stated goals by the end of the semester.
Students must set two goals for a semester. The first goal must be a quantitative goal, i.e. one that can be measured to show improvement in academic performance. The second goal can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature, but in either case, the second goal should support the first goal. A qualitative goal is one that facilitates and helps to improve the quality and degree of the quantitative goal; it can be observed rather than measured.
PHS Principal Andy Berlinski said school administration is looking forward to the partnership and right now they are working on their end to finalize the program, application process and specific expectations they will have for the mentors and students who will take part in the program.
“We are excited to partner with Marquis Energy in order to help support our students who will benefit from this program,” Berlinski said. “At this time, we are still working to finalize what will be presented to both students and staff in the early fall.
“Our goal is to have everything in place so that we can meet the recommended time frame for implementation that was given to us by Marquis Energy. Dennis Thompson has been a fantastic resource through all of this.”
Thompson said Marquis Energy, through the Energizing Education program, has helped some students complete their graduation requirements, improved the GPA of many students, helped to promote a change in student behavior, allowing them to succeed in school and in some cases to be a better employee, broadened the future horizon for a few, even helped many of the students to earn money.