Full Steam Ahead with Upward Bound

Upward Bound student holding painting

Upward Bound (UB) transitioned to online and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) approved services for our students. In the spring of 2020, our immediate Covid response was to assess participants’ needs and reactions to the crisis, provide multiple outlets to communicate with UB staff, deliver learning aids to students as needed, launch online social activities, and offer staggered learning hours. Upward Bound pivoted to contactless recruiting, which included an online application, tech-friendly recruitment posters, and virtual interviews.  We also used online tools, Google forms, and a mobile messaging platform to initiate and maintain meaningful connections with prospective students.  

See what we've been up to below! 



In the summer, Upward Bound (UB) hosted a Virtual Summer Academy and a Bridge Program. Since the Summer Academy was facilitated via Zoom and Community Moodle, we provided a session on communication, attendance, and Zoom etiquette.  We partnered with the LSU Cain Center Pre-College program to provide comprehensive preparatory services to high school students. Participants chose from one or all of the following course areas: Foundations of Math, Statistics, Physics, Calculus, Chemistry, Biology/Environmental Science, Reading Comprehension, Technical Writing, Spanish, French, ACT Prep, Virtual Job Shadow, and College Knowledge/Prep.

The Upward Bound Bridge program held a Zoom orientation where scholars met their University College Academic Advisor and learned virtual appointment scheduling. They also met their UB Bridge Mentor and learned how to access support throughout the summer. We provided training on how to navigate Moodle, complete summer enrollment and online immunization records. Students were safely delivered their textbooks and course materials, and regular check-ins were conducted via email, phone and Moodle to challenge and support the participants.  

While fall 2020 activities continued online, spring 2021 activities were implemented in a hybrid format.  

Fall events included:

  • ACT Prep
  • After-school Sessions for tutoring and homework help
  • Recruiting at Baton Rouge Magnet High School
  • Financial Literacy Session
  • Family Movie Night on the Parade Grounds where Spiderman was featured
  • Virtual Job Shadow - career exploration platform for high-school

Spring Events included:

  • Weekly Recurring Virtual Tutoring
  • Student and Staff Conferences
  • Scholarship Application Support
  • Painting Event with UB Scholars
  • Virtual Escape Room
  • Virtual Murder Mystery
  • Virtual Game Night
  • In-person Saturday Sessions; workshops included (but not limited to):
    • Communication
    • Codeswitching
    • Documentaries
    • Resume assistance
    • Student-led discussions

Upward Bound was one of 10 programs invited to participate in the STEAM National Saturday Academy, which runs from February 20 – May 22, 2021. This pilot project's purpose is to test remote learning strategies for Saturday program activities that foster student engagement, active participation, capacity building, academic & personal growth and resume building for post-secondary enrollment..  The program objectives are to engage youth nationwide in synchronous remote STEAM learning sessions, increase academic and personal growth, develop critical skills and capacities for peer-network community building, and promote interest in STEAM with a lens of social justice impact.

Two LSU Upward Bound students, Kelis Kent (10th grade) & Raelyn Edwards (11th grade), have committed to participating in the academy with the commitment of a program staff member, Olubodunde “Stephen” Agboola, who will provide technology support and learning outcomes during asynchronous activities. The current goal is for students to participate (post-covid) for a week long session in a location such as Puerto Rico, where participants will engage in STEAM and social impact Project-Based Learning.