There are a multitude of ambitious scholarship programs across the United States that open doors for students to attend the universities of their dreams. From a financial standpoint, some of the best provide renewable opportunities so that worries about ongoing costs are minimized. Others, provide year one funding that greatly enhance the ability to get into a top school. From there students are free to explore both campus and local opportunities for work that will offset costs in years two and beyond. However, an elite group of scholarship providers have thought more broadly about what it takes for young people to succeed in college and beyond. So what does it take?
In January 2014, The Atlantic published an article about what it is like to be the first member of the family to go to college. It discussed the many challenges students encounter in their initial year on campus and pointed to the importance of mentors in terms of their persistence. For many, getting into college is only the first hurdle – getting through college was the bigger obstacle. Mentors help shape the habits, practices and beliefs that help increase the odds that students find success in their journey. At the Tiger Woods Foundation, we provide each of our Earl Woods Scholars with a mentor to help fill this important role. Our mentors meet regularly with their scholar, sometimes serving as emotional supporters, and other times just listening and offering advice. Our students often say their mentor is the best part of our scholarship program – and even more important than the financial support.
Another key component for student success are business internships. In lean economic times, organizations utilized interns to fill important gaps in their companies without having the overhead of hiring a full-time employee. Post-recession data still show that internships can lead to full-time job offers for students post-graduation. Securing an internship is competitive and comes with the same stress and anxiety of finding a full-time job. Students are well advised to put their best foot forward during all phases of an internship so that while their job skills are honed, they are producing quality work that is noticed by organization management.
The Earl Woods Scholarship provides funding, mentoring and internship support to all of our scholars. But it also goes beyond, providing one-on-one assistance to individuals so they may thrive while they are in school and receive support in decision-making for grad school and workforce entry. This guidance includes pointing students to on-campus resources that can address emotional, physical and academic support. Moreover, providing career readiness workshops for resume writing, mock interviews and basic workforce etiquette are other offerings we have found necessary for our scholars' future success.
Lifting the financial burden brings to light a number of disparities faced when students go off to college. Great scholarship program providers take to heart the importance of providing access to resources that will not only protect their investment, but allow students to experience success in college and beyond.
Why wait for the college years to incorporate resources for high school students in these areas? You can begin by building community partnerships that will join you in supporting youth by providing mentors and internships. Start now!
For breakfast I had a hazelnut coffee, banana and Greek yogurt.
Are you an after school program leader looking to better connect students to the community? Have you heard about project-based learning but lack the skills to implement it effectively? Do you want to see every single one of your students engaged in work that both challenges them and ignites their passions?
Master PBL in 5 Simple Steps
Imagine telling your students that they will be designing and printing 3-dimensional medical devices to assist ophthalmologists with eye exams. Or, if 3D printing isn't their thing, that they will be creating small businesses to raise funds for displaced refugee training. I've seen students as young as 10 years old complete these tasks! You too can lead these kinds of experiences in your after school program. When you couple high-interest projects with out of school time, the possibilities are endless.
What You Will Learn
This master class will provide program leaders with the 5 simple steps to lead effective project-based experiences during after school time.
The class will draw upon the experience of Kyle Wagner, a former educator at High Tech High and leader of project-based learning programs on both sides of the globe. Through anecdotal experience and concrete examples, you will learn:
I hope to see you there at the BOOST Master Class. Sign up today!
If you're reading this; that means you are involved with or care about the world of expanded learning time. I'm going to start this blog with a generalization. Ordinarily that's not the best idea, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.
Your mission is not to give extra help to the kids who are doing fine. You're not involved with expanded learning because you want to provide more access and opportunity to those young people who are already clearly on track for success.
You're in this work because you recognize that in the context of our current society, the "school-day only" model of public education doesn't work for tens of millions of children, most of whom are from low-income families. Those children are why you're here. That's why I'm here too.
Right now there are an estimated 23.5 million kids living in poverty in the United States. There are millions more in families living slightly above the poverty line. All the research – and our common sense – tells us that expanded learning time can give these kids a boost.
But there are a lot of elephants in this room, and here's one.
It's not just about time. It's about environment.
My organization, the Partnership for Children & Youth, is headquartered in Oakland, California. A district official once told me that around half of Oakland's truancies came from children living in affordable housing. Oakland's poverty rate sits at about 20%. (It's not the highest rate in the country, but we're in the top 100.) And only a fraction of those residents live in affordable housing.
This small percentage of kids make up half of the district's truancies.
The promise of affordable housing is to provide pathways out of poverty. And obviously this starts with putting a roof over the heads of families that need one, and providing them with some stability. But that alone doesn't work.
When we think about pathways out of poverty, the stories that immediately jump to mind are the one-in-a-million talents; the brilliant artists, the gifted athletes, the poetic or scientific or literary geniuses. Maybe throw in an occasional lottery winner, or a spunky orphan who gets taken in by an eccentric billionaire while telling us through song that the sun'll come out tomorrow.
These are not reliable pathways.
Statistics show us that right now, about one-in-ten kids from low-income families go on to graduate from college.
We say that education is the MOST reliable pathway out of poverty. It's still not terribly reliable (would you want a car that only started one out of every ten days?) but it's better than one-in-a-million. So how do we make that pathway more reliable? How do we bring it to the kids who – statistics show – need it the most?
In other words, how do we embed education into the environment of affordable housing?
HousEd (The California Network for Expanded Learning in Affordable Housing) is convening housing providers, educators, youth development experts, technical assistance providers, and a whole host of other stakeholders in order to figure out how to do this.
I invite you to take a few minutes and watch the story of one child, Anthony Rodriguez, living in one of the communities we work with closely – and see how his housing community's expanded learning program has given him the confidence he needed to be excited about learning and express himself in a positive way. Anthony's success doesn't just affect him. All of his friends and neighbors – and especially his own brother and sister – can now see, firsthand, how education can make a difference.
Education is part of their environment.
Educators and affordable housing providers have the same goals, share the same neighborhoods, and share the challenge of meeting the needs of often the exact same students. We can do it if we work together.
Before you head to the BOOST Conference, I invite you to consider where your kids live. If they're in affordable housing or public housing, what are the special situations and opportunities they encounter? There may be a partnership waiting to happen between your program and Resident Services Directors. They can connect you with families, siblings and other support services in the housing development, while you offer a much-needed link to their young residents' school experience. And all of these connections will give you more leverage to help your kids succeed in school and move along their pathway out of poverty.
For breakfast I had, southern style grits, biscuts, gravy, and scrambled eggs with cheese.
Jenny Hicks serves as the Senior Program Manager for HousED at the Partnership for Children and Youth.
For most inner city students of color, college is a distant dream. The thought of four more years of school is enough to discourage many inner city students from going for the gold in education. The military seems to be the golden ticket instead of college. In fact, 2 out of every 4 seniors I have counseled from the inner city intend to choose the military over college. Conversations of escaping current situations and making instant money surpass the collegiate pursuit. I am not bashing the military, as both of my parents were in the military - one of them, a retiree. I do however find it alarming that many of our inner city students find fighting for their own education more exhausting than fighting for our country. My position in their life is to encourage personal growth and education by planting seeds of change and providing resources.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in today's economy those who have a Bachelors degree make roughly $1100 per week whereas those without a degree make roughly $651 a week. I show many of my inner city students this chart of earnings and unemployment rates to show them that not only would you make more money by obtaining their degrees, but also they are less likely to be unemployed than those who do not have a degree. In short, it is easier (but not guaranteed) to obtain and hold a job once you have a Bachelor's degree.
Coincidentally, the interesting trend in rap music is adding a college degree to the repertoire. For most of our inner city youth, finding out their favorite artist went to college and has obtained their degree sends a powerful message pointing towards the importance of academic achievement. This new backdrop on rap music is beginning to enhance the inner city culture. As music production, lyrics, industry happenings and technology grow more and more complex the following generation must adapt. I find an advantage in using these rappers as examples and benchmarks for most of the inner city youth I have counseled. The world is also beginning to notice some of the most acclaimed or revered hip-hop artist have degrees. Not only are these artists living testimonies to defying the odds of the inner city but they are examples to follow (rappers being examples again, yikes!). I am excited that their life is actually a display of the alternative. They prove that there is a reason for going for the gold in education.
In case you were wondering, USA Today and the Huffington Post share that Lil Wayne has a B.S. in General Studies, J. Cole obtained a B.A. in Business and a minor in Communications (Magna Cum Laude), David Banner obtained a B.A. in Business, Ludacris obtained a B.A. in Music Management, just to name a few. There are countless other top artist who are enrolled and have obtained honorary degrees and for many artists, college has added a new level of knowledge and expertise to their craft. Whether honorary or with honors, the message of higher learning is being projected to young fans throughout the world, across many cultural barriers providing a new "notch" on the belt of greatness. It's simple: if you want to stand out from the rest in your chosen field you're going to need a degree or certification. Point blank. Today's top artists are proving that and you cannot deny there is a correlation between top performing artists and their level of education. The question most of my kids ask is, "why?"
The answer I give them is because like most art forms there is a medium to be used. Within music, words are the medium used to reach people. According to this trend, education enhances one's ability to manipulate the medium of music. Not only that, but acquiring business management tools requires schooling, art and business that seem to have a mutually exclusive relationship as well. The better the artist, the more fans pay attention, the more fans pay attention the more popularity and dollars fall into the pocket of artist. Once I talk about dollars, that's when my inner city youth pay attention. Hook, line and sinker, got 'em coach! Then I usually say, "So would you like to attend a community college, trade, or a state school?"
To sum it all up, individuals with degrees make more money, keep their jobs longer, are less likely to be unemployed, and have an easier time obtaining new jobs than those who don't. Music artists from the inner city have figured out that higher education is significant within the music industry, enhancing their craft and reaching more fans. It is undeniable that today's top artist from the inner city have climbed to top after their educational achievement. Higher education is not so distant for inner city youth anymore, they may not have a single family member who went to college but they can listen to a graduate on any popular radio station and be touched, moved, and inspired by their "educated art-form."
This morning I had ham and eggs with a handful of almonds and a protein shake for breakfast.
About six months ago I moved from Minneapolis to New York City to take a two year position at Inwood Academy for Leadership, a small charter school that serves a population made up almost entirely of Dominican kids from the Inwood and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan, many of whom are living in poverty, struggle with English, and come to us grade levels behind. It's a remarkable school that does remarkable work for these kids.
My kids too.
You see, both of my sons go to this school as well. One is in 8th grade, the other in 5th. We lived in a suburb outside of Minneapolis for the bulk of their young lives. They went to fantastic schools in Minnesota and had a network of friends, resources, and opportunities that were pretty close to ideal. That background paired with their blue eyes and blonde hair made the transition to their new school seemingly jarring. On paper, these two boys going to this school just shouldn't have worked.
Except that it is working. Amazingly. We just had parent-teacher conferences this morning and by all accounts, both boys are not only doing well, they're thriving. Their report cards (Common Core aligned of course) were an accurate reflection of their academic progress thus far. The teachers were proud of them, and we're proud of the teachers.
But there was something not listed on the report card. There was something unquantifiable not reflected there. While the boys are transitioning beautifully academically, how could it be that in short order they have found themselves so fantastically well-adjusted, socially and emotionally? How could they find such a sense of place in a place so foreign? There are a lot of contributing factors to this but few more impactful than their involvement in after-school activities.
My 8th grader played for the school's flag football team and my 5th grader was on the track team. This brought them into the community more not only because of opportunities to meet new friends but also because of the sphere of adults who were there to coach, connect, and comfort. School goes everyday from 7:30 – 4:00. After school activities last from 4:00 – 6:00. And technically, it's true that nothing from 4:00 – 6:00 shows up on their test scores or their College and Career Readiness scales.
But you and I know the truth. The relationships being forged and support being given in these critical out of school times are not only reflected in their social and academic growth but are actually the very reasons for this success. Were it not for the awesome work being done by these adults in the lives of my own children, I do not think I'd be writing this in the same emotional space. This transition could have been so rough and instead it has been so good. That's magic.
The reality is that schools face entirely new pressures in today's educational arena and are being forced to rethink how they teach, assess, and evaluate their academic work with students. Classrooms are increasingly environments that are predicated on test preparation and ever-narrowing definitions of what "successful students" look like. Not all of these shifts are bad. Some are driving tremendous innovations in teaching and learning. But often these shifts come at a price, as educators are not always able to connect with students in the same meaningful fashion that they perhaps once did.
That is why the work of out of school adults has never been more critical. If ever there were a growth opportunity within the ecosystems for youth, the essential role of out of school adults is front and center. It's fair to say that the pendulum in education has swung towards accentuating academic outcomes more than social/emotional outcomes. And while that pendulum shift can pose challenges to students and educators alike, it certainly intensifies the work that adults outside of the curricular sphere do.
Gone are the days where after-school enrichment is erroneously depicted as "glorified babysitting." Gone too are notions that other positive adults in the lives of students beyond the classroom teacher are "nice for kids." Nonsense. That has always been nonsense, but it's uniquely the case in today's arena. In fact, in the present scenario it's a legitimate argument that the crucial work of out of school adults will no longer augment the work of educators in the classroom but will actually be setting a relationship-based foundation on which the great work of classroom educators can be built.
I don't mean to pose absolutes about the roles adults play in the lives of students. Of course classroom educators will always be in the relationship-building business. And out of school adults are also in the education business. But I would suggest that as our classrooms struggle to adjust to the new landscape of hyper-intensified testing and evaluation we will rely more strongly than ever on the tremendous efforts of out of school staffs to connect kids to school, their peers, and their own view of themselves.
As a teacher I knew this to be true. But as a parent I know it more clearly than ever. I see it in the experiences my boys have every day. I see it in their faces as they talk about the adults who surround them in all their hours at school. And while those experiences aren't going to show up in their permanent academic records, I know that the successes they're having are not accidental. These successes are due to intent and practice. The intentional relationships that are being built through the artful practice of their out of school staff members. Consider this post a public thank you letter not only to these stellar adults in our children's lives but a thank you to you because I know that what I've written here rings true for families everywhere. So keep it up. We need you now more than ever.
This morning I enjoyed a breakfast sandwich with fried egg, pepperjack cheese, turkey bacon, and green salsa and 2 cups of coffee.
College access and career readiness are important in the discourse regarding social mobility and at the center of discussions about the future of American competitiveness in a global economy that has significantly become knowledge and innovation-based. The Council of Economic Advisors stated in their report Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow (July 2009),"Well-trained and highly skilled workers will be in the best positions to secure high wage jobs, thereby fueling American prosperity." There are labor and economic experts and thought leaders who posit that approximately 60% of the future jobs and careers that await our current third graders have not even been created yet. These may be jobs and careers with titles such as sustainable urban planner, augmented reality architect, social education specialist, mass energy storage developer, nano medic and smart dust programmer.
We have seen significant federal and state education reform initiatives over the past several years all geared at improving academic outcomes for learners spanning the educational spectrum. President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's educational imperative calls for our country to ascend to the top of global higher education ranks- restoring our leadership after having lost ground, within one generation, of being the country with the highest proportion of students graduating from college. The U.S. currently ranks 14th among the 37 membership countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and G20. Korea, Japan, Canada, Russian Federation, and Ireland hold the top five slots. But many of our country's reform initiatives have focused almost exclusively on an in-school reform agenda. This by no means is an issue to argue. Education in the United States is in need of drastic reform measures. But, are there other initiatives that can support the types of education reform, transformation and innovation to improve learning outcomes that can lead to positive gains in college and career readiness outcomes?
I say "yes" and I would suggest that we look at high quality afterschool programming.
One may ask "afterschool programs?" Many hear the term "afterschool programs" and think of safe, supervised places to keep young children after the school day ends and until a caring adult arrives to take them home. Many hear the term "afterschool programs" and they think of fun and games geared towards keeping those very children engaged and happy. Others may hear "afterschool" and just think of it as the opposite of "in school." These may all be true to some degree, but what is to preclude afterschool programming from promoting those rigorous outcomes that correlate with college and career preparation- even at the early ages? Are those in the afterschool sector even convinced that high quality programming will have an effect on our children and youth?
We have to believe that high-quality afterschool programming can significantly influence the skills our students need to be successful in a 21st global economy. More focus in the discourse regarding practice, policy and research in afterschool should emphasize educational outcomes with the presumed intent of this emphasis on promoting achievement. Achievement in this
context can be defined as high school success, college access and career-readiness particularly for those students who are from low-income backgrounds or are first in their families to potentially attend college. More effort should be made to uniquely join the interests of two very large fields- afterschool and college access and career readiness- to think about how to build an educational pipeline that intends to yield strong results.
There are three questions that might guide our efforts in facilitating a relationship between afterschool and college access and career readiness:
o What is unique and discernible about the afterschool and college access and career readiness professions?
o What is the relationship between afterschool programming and college access and career readiness programming?
o What can afterschool not do (or not do effectively) to promote college access and career readiness?
I have had tremendous opportunities throughout my professional life to create bridges in purposeful ways. I have spent 18 years in higher education, five years in the afterschool education and two years in college access and success. In February 2006, I spoke before congressional staff at a briefing on Capitol Hill to the U.S. Senate Afterschool Caucus. During that presentation, I advanced the notion that high-quality afterschool programming could:
o positively affect academic and student achievement;
o provide a platform for a deeper focus in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math);
o influence outcomes for older youth in middle and high school;
o promote stronger public and private partnerships;
o postsecondary access and success; and
o career awareness and workforce preparation.
So for nearly seven years I have spoken and presented widely on this theme suggests the need for a tighter alignment between afterschool, college access and career readiness. As I made my way back into higher education, I have been able to develop and implement institutional and community-based programming that bridges afterschool, college access and career-readiness.
Researchers and practitioners in the college access and career readiness fields have suggested five major influencers in the college-going decision making process. These include:
1. Academic Preparation: students' level of academic preparation and readiness to attend a college or university.
2. Expectations: students' expectations about attending college (or not) as well as their parents', family and teachers' expectations.
3. Culture and Support: peer culture and the presence (or absence) of parental, familial and school support.
4. Information and Awareness: information and awareness of planning for a postsecondary experience and admissions and applications processes.
5. Perception of Affordability: perspective of the cost of a post-secondary experience
So how can afterschool address the primary influencers through programming? I will share examples in my subsequent writings. I will share more about what we can do in afterschool to ensure college readiness and success for those we are serving as well ideas for specific types of curricular, co-curricular programming and partnerships that support our efforts. I will also share some musings about the role higher education institutions can play as strong partners in the process. It is time for us to reimagine afterschool.
This blog entry is written by Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success and Chief Diversity Officer at Wheelock College in Boston, MA. He currently serves as Immediate Past Chair after having served as the Chair, Board of Directors of the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) based in McLean, VA from 2008-2012. Follow him on Twitter at @AKHaugabrook.