Texas Comprehensive Center

Previous Work
October 2005 through September 2012

These resources were published under a previous TXCC funding; therefore, information contained therein may have changed and is not updated.

Briefing Papers

Parent and Community Involvement in a College/Career-Ready Culture

Appendix A: Profiles of Reported Successful School, District, or State Programs

 

Citizen Schools

Bedichek Middle School, Austin, Texas

Source and/or contact information:

Leanne Valenti, Campus Director
leannevalenti@citizenschools.org - (512) 414-3805

Web site/additional information:

http://www.citizenschools.org/texas/bedichek.cfm

Main focus of the program:

Citizen Schools is a national network of after-school education programs designed to complement classroom learning with hands-on learning projects led by community volunteers. The program focuses on building students’ career awareness and strengthening the school’s relationship with its surrounding.

 

  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Citizen Schools bring community volunteers/“citizens” into the schools to share career information and professional expertise with students. Volunteers focus explicitly on the college/career connection.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

Citizen Schools was founded in Boston, MA in 1995. The Bedichek Middle School campus was established during the 2006-2007 school year. Bedichek is one of two Citizen Schools in the Austin area.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • Citizen Schools promote the support of “many caring adults” for each student.
  • The program builds a relationship with the community surrounding the school via ongoing communication and partnership.
  • Staff communicate with the students’ families regarding student progress and future academic goals.
  • The Citizen School at Bedichek also has as one of its future goals to establish a parent leadership council.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • Community experts (“citizens”) volunteer to provide twelve student apprenticeships each semester.
  • Each year, between the fall and spring semesters, the program hosts an 8th Grade Academy where the focus is on transitioning to high school. Students, parents, and Citizen Schools staff review local high school course offerings and magnet school options with an eye toward the college and career goals of the student.
  • Each team leader (program staff) is assigned to a maximum of 16 students for whom they conduct individual “grades and goals conferences.” This involves reviewing with the student his/her grades and setting future achievement goals consistent with college or career plans. Parents, as partners in their child’s future, are informed of this information.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • The Citizen Schools program builds students’ career awareness and strengthens the school’s relationship with its surrounding community.
  • Citizen Schools staff maintain ongoing communication with parents/family members about student progress and program activities.
  • The director of the Citizen Schools program at Bedicheck works closely with the school principal to align the apprenticeships with the academic goals of the school.
  • Experts in their respective fields work with after-school staff to implement apprenticeships.
  • The majority of Citizen Schools staff are “Teaching Fellows.” Staff work part-time (in the mornings) for various Citizen Schools partners, bringing those experiences to the after-school program. For example, one of the Teaching Fellows at Bedichek works as the College and Career Coordinator for the campus. Primary responsibilities in this role are to secure bi-weekly guest speakers for the program and produce newsletters and other publications to keep the school community informed of program activities.
  • Family events are held monthly for parents and students to attend together. Events may include trips to university campuses.
  • Another way that the program builds a relationship with the community around the school is with its “WOW” events. These are held at the end of each semester to highlight the accomplishments of the apprenticeships.
  • There have been 96 apprenticeships since the start of the Bedichek program. This year, one apprenticeship involves a student working with a local architect to redesign headquarters for a superhero.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

Citizen Schools staff are permitted to access student grade information in order to hone student academic support.

  • Many parents expressed strong interest in this component of the program, which includes 45 minutes for homework each day of the program.
  • Grades-and-goals-conference information is shared with parents/family members and teachers to keep them in the loop and incorporate them as members of each student’s network of “many caring adults.”

 

Community Links
High School

Chicago, Illinois

Source and/or contact information:

Francisco Borras, Principal
fborras@hotmail.com - (773) 534-1997

Web site/additional information:

http://www.comlinkshs.org/

Main focus of the program:

The primary focus of the program is college preparation and the majority of the students are the first generation in their families to attend college.

 

  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Community Links High School (CLHS) considers the impact of every school decision in light of how it helps students in their college pursuit and during their college career. For example, the school offers an English class—College Reading and Writing—that deals with a variety of college-related issues and provides students with experiences such as essay writing, completing college applications, finding the right school to attend, and studying for entrance exams.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

The John Spry School, located in Chicago, was founded in 1898. CLHS was added in 2003. The two schools now span Pre-K-12th grades.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • Parents serve on the School Council (Board) that has final say over all school decisions.
  • Annually, the Community Resource Coordinators conduct a parent/community assessment.
  • Quarterly newsletters go out to parents and community.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • CLHS students and their parents make a commitment to complete high school and enroll in college.
  • Key partnerships:
    • Boys and Girls Club (B&GC)—provides space and programming for students (homework support/clubs) and parents (ESL, G.E.D., technology, and local interest classes such as knitting). Younger students participate from 3-8 p.m. High school students often go to B&GC to get support and finish homework when their school day ends at 5:30 p.m.
    • National Louis University—provides professional development for teachers, student internships, and oversight for the University Links program.
    • Alderman’s Office—provides needed services such as health clinics to both students and parents. Issues of community safety and health are the primary focus of this partnership. Student interns work in the Alderman’s Office.
    • Local hospitals, libraries, universities, law firms and other community-based organizations—provide internships for students.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • Generations of families in the community participate in the CLHS program
  • CLHS was established to solve the problem of students ending their educations after 8th grade.
  • The college prep focus takes into consideration everything from curriculum and textbooks used to electives and clubs offered. Even discipline is filtered through the college lens to help students understand how current behavior may impact their future.
  • High school students attend school eight hours daily, year-round including summers, to ensure that they graduate in three years—at the end of junior year.
    • Students enter high school during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. Incoming freshmen receive seven weeks of programming during the summer to orient them to CLHS. Students are required to serve as Pre-K-2 tutors and classroom assistants every day before school for one hour. Freshman year is also when students participate in college and university tours.
    • Sophomores are placed as interns in the community at local hospitals, libraries, universities, community-based organizations, law firms, and government offices. The students work two hours a day before school, 2-3 mornings per week, and gain both job skills and academic credits for their work.
    • Students enroll in college-level courses through the University Links program during junior year and receive both high school and college credits.
    • Struggling students receive assistance through Saturday and early-morning tutoring programs.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

Student engagement and achievement have increased at the high school and postsecondary levels. Elementary students have also shown achievement gains.

  • Students’ test scores have improved 4-5% each year.
  • CLHS outperforms neighborhood high schools.
  • High school graduation rate has increased to 95%.
  • College enrollment increases 15-20% each year.
  • More than 75% of 2009 graduates enrolled in college.
  • Students’ credits often exceed what is required for high school graduation and most will have college credits by the end of their high school career.
  • John Spry Elementary students meeting standards has increased from 30% to 73% since 2003.

Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE)

New Mexico Statewide Collaborative

Source and/or contact information:

Dr. Lawrence Roybal, Director, ENLACE New Mexico
lroybal@unm.edu

Web site/additional information:

ENLACE New Mexico Web site: http://enlacenm.unm.edu/

January 2008 Audit Report:

To inquire about specific programs/schools—

  • ENLACE Parent Centers are located in the New Mexico communities of Deming, Las Cruces, Clovis, Farmington, and Albuquerque
  • Pojoaque Valley middle & high schools; Pojoaque, NM
    Contact: Mr. Hoyt Mutz, Assistant Principal and AVID District Director,
    505-455-2234
  • Española Valley High School; Española, NM
    Contact: Mr. Bruce Hopmeier, Principal, 505-753-7357
  • Santa Fe Public Schools; Santa Fe, NM
    Contact: Bobbie Gutierrez, Superintendent, 505-467-1000

Main focus of the program:

ENLACE strives to make educational institutions at all levels more responsive to the needs of all students, especially Latino students, by specifically engaging parents and communities in collaborative partnerships. Implementation strategies remain focused on the overarching mission of meeting the needs of students and families to improve academic achievement and graduation rates.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Goal: “To transform New Mexico’s educational systems in order to dramatically increase the academic and socioeconomic success of its greatest resource—
young people.”

In Spanish enlace means “to link or weave together.”

Length of time the program has been in operation:

Initially funded in 2001 by W. K. Kellogg, ENLACE has grown from three regional centers to a five-center statewide collaborative with additional support from the New Mexico legislature and national and state funders.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:

ENLACE is a collaborative organization in which community members, families, parents, and students are part of decision-making processes. Strategies for eliciting input are unique to each community and include community forums, statewide meetings, and surveys.

Partnerships with community organizations, businesses, and institutes of higher education also help engage community voices and commitment.

Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • Leadership development programs—Parent leadership development programs emphasize family literacy and parent education
  • Mentoring initiatives between college and high school students (Los Compañeros)
  • Family/parent centers run by parents
  • “Knock and Talk” initiative to reenroll dropouts
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:

A framework for including promising practices throughout the education system, depending on needs of students and community, is comprised of three integrated themes:

  • Strengthening supports for students through mentoring, tutoring, and leadership development
  • Changing educational institutions by engaging families and communities in partnerships
  • Creating a seamless pathway to college through P-20 alignment, increased rigor, improved cultural literacy, and teacher preparation to ensure smooth transitions

The ENLACE framework strengthens support for students through the following programs: AVID tutoring and College Prep programs, EXITO/Pathways to Success, Los Compañeros Mentoring program, Summer Bridge, and other programs.

ENLACE programs make educational institutions more responsive to needs of Latino students through the following:

  • Action research and service learning
  • Champion Teachers program
  • Cultural competency training
  • AVID parent nights
  • Family and youth resource centers
  • Parent leadership development

ENLACE programs for creating a seamless pathway to college include Academic Curriculum for Excellence (A.C.E.), Exito!, Student Ambassadors Program, and Parent Civic Engagement

How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

According to ENLACE’s 2007-2008 annual report, more than 5200 students and 9400 family members were served by family centers that year. By 2009 involvement in ENLACE family centers reached a peak of 56 schools, 74 workshops, and 30,000 family member contacts.

  • The impact report for June 2006 through January 2007 indicates that more than 83% of ENLACE graduates went on to college.
  • The majority of its programs have a 97% retention rate of students in the educational pipeline.
  • ENLACE programs show a 91% matriculation rate and an 86% success rate for both high school graduation and college acceptance.
  • GPAs and attendance rates fluctuated slightly but with no statistical significance.

 

Futures & Families Program

Los Angeles, California

Source and/or contact information:

Auerbach, S. (2004). Engaging Latino parents in supporting college pathways: Lessons from a college access program. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 3(2), 125-145.

Web site/additional information:

To access online version of article: http://jhh.sagepub.com/content/3/2/125.abstract

Main focus of the program:

The mission of Families & Futures (F&F) was “to build a college-going culture for students and families of color.”

F&F aimed “to make privileged college knowledge accessible by promoting certain forms of college-relevant cultural, social, and critical capital.”

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

F&F was a bilingual outreach program for parents at a large, diverse high school in Los Angeles (unnamed in the source article).

F&F was the parental component of an experimental college access program developed at UCLA, called the Futures Project. “The data for this qualitative case study were drawn primarily from field notes and transcripts from 3 years of participant-observation in F&F and other parent meetings at the school as well as from a survey and a series of interviews with parents of Futures students” (p. 128). A longitudinal study followed the students through high school and beyond.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

The F&F program took place from 1997-2001.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • F&F conducted parent meetings, surveys, and interviews with parents of students.
  • Meetings were planned in response to parent concerns.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:

Parents participated in 25 monthly, bilingual meetings held between students’ sophomore and senior years.

Components of the F&F program included the following:

  • Information provided to parents to guide students in preparing to attend college
  • Family social networks established to give parents and families the opportunity to understand college information through conversations with others who have had similar experiences
  • Opportunities provided for parents to network with professors and school staff to create a support system
  • Barriers to college access discussed, along with strategies for overcoming them
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:

The authors felt that the program had the following effects on the parents:

  • Parents grasped the idea of the steps in preparing students for college.
  • Parents realized their need to be involved in the path to college.
  • The desire and viability of a 4-year degree for their children became a reality for parents.
  • Parents expanded their college-relevant social networks.
  • Some parents gained confidence in intervening and advocating for their children, and taking leadership roles.
  • Parents were more informed and proactive in support of their children’s college pursuit.
  • F&F parents’ college knowledge increased over the 3 years of the program.
  • Some parents were empowered to take small, proactive steps to support college pathways that went beyond their usual focus on behind-the-scenes moral and emotional support.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

Most F&F students were accepted at and enrolled in 4-year colleges.

 

Giano Intermediate School

West Covina, California

Source and/or contact information:

Rourke, J., & Hartzman, M. (2009). Giano Intermediate School: The parent factor. Principal Leadership, 9(10), 24-27

Web site/additional information:

Principal Leadership, June 2009: http://online.qmags.com/PL0609/Default.aspx

Main focus of the program:

Giano Intermediate School is committed to building leadership capacity and increasing parental involvement.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

The school motto—high expectations, high support—applies to everyone in the community. Parents are welcome at the intermediate school, which serves 852 students in 7th and 8th grades. Giano’s students are 90% Hispanic, and 87% qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

The program was established in 2007.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • Regular weekly parent chats in both English and Spanish to discuss topics regarding parenting, academics, high school, and preparation for college and career.
  • Principal encourages staff, parents, and students to “work together to provide meaningful input” through shared decision making and rallying around a common mission.
  • Questionnaires are used to gather specific information.
  • The school is open to the community.
    • English and computer skills classes are held for parents.
    • Parent Patio is a space on campus where parents can meet with one another and/or with teachers.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • Parents are partners in their child’s education.
    • At the campus level—parents serve on the school site council, the language advisory council, and the gifted and talented advisory committee.
    • At the district level—parents participate on the district’s budget committee, the strategic planning committee, and the superintendent’s parent council.
  • Parent/teacher/student association (PTSA) sponsors recognition programs for student performance and other special events.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • High expectations and high support
  • High level of teacher collaboration
  • Shared leadership between principal and staff
  • Schoolwide culture of effective data use by teachers, administrators, and students
  • Teachers’ use of common teaching strategies such as AVID techniques, Cornell note-taking strategies, and Thinking Maps
  • Mentoring program (counselor/student)
  • Individual student interventions in place, such as strategic reading and Read 180, after-school intervention, and academic acceleration Saturday classes
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:
  • High recommitment by entire school community to end complacency and strive to use data to analyze student results in relation to the supports and instruction each student is receiving
  • Success built on improved relationships developed over time
  • All stakeholders have a voice in and responsibility for every aspect of the school
  • Increased collaboration among teachers, parents, and student to excel
  • Selected as 2007 California Distinguished School
  • Is an AVID Demonstration School

 

Harlem Children’s Zone

Harlem, New York City, New York

Source and/or contact information:

Anna E. Casey Foundation. (2008). School, community, family connections (Closing the Achievement Gap Series). Baltimore, MD: Author.
The Harlem Children’s Zone Web site:
http://www.hcz.org/

Web site/additional information:

Story on 60 Minutes—aired December 9, 2009
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5914322n

Main focus of the program:

The Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) is a comprehensive program that combines social, educational, and medical services to improve outcomes for children. As a community school, HCZ supports several programs from the early childhood level through high school and into college, as well as programs for parents and community members. The HCZ is located in a neighborhood where 60% of children live below the poverty level and 75% score below grade level on state math and reading assessments.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Motto: “From cradle to college to community-building”

For children to do well their families have to do well, their community must do well.”

HCZ is a community school with two fundamental principles: “to help kids in a sustained way, starting as early in their lives as possible, and to create a critical mass of adults around them who understand what it takes to help children succeed.”

(The Anna E. Casey foundation defines community schools as public schools that are enhanced by coordinated partnerships with organizations that provide diverse activities and programs for students, families, and community members.)

Length of time the program has been in operation:

Started in 1970 as truancy prevention program, working with families and children

Early 1990s—began providing a range of support services to one block in Harlem; by 1997, expanded to a 24-block area that became HCZ; by 2007, HCZ had grown to a 100-block area

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:

Not specifically addressed in sources

 

Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • HCZ produces data and information that let stakeholders know how the initiatives are making a difference for children, families, and the community.
  • It creates incentives for local initiatives to identify and characterize the populations that need to be reached and served to achieve community-wide changes for children.
  • Families are connected to workforce programs, employment opportunities, education and training, and income supplements aimed at living above the poverty level; emphasizes linking families to the services and opportunities that help lift incomes.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • The Harlem Children’s Zone promotes coherence among programs from pre-K through college
  • Midtown Family Place—counseling, referrals, advocacy; after-school and summer programs for children 5-12
  • Specific programs are in place at each level:
    • Early Childhood (Baby College, Three-Year-Old Journey, Harlem Gems)
      Elementary School (Promise Academy Charter School, Fifth Grade Institute, Harlem Peacemakers)
    • Middle School (Promise Academy Charter School, Academic Case Management, A Cut Above, Boys to Men)
    • High School (Promise Academy Charter School, Academic Case Management, TRUCE Arts and Media, Employment and Technology Center, Learn to Earn, College Prep)
    • College (College Success Office)
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

From HCZ Web site:

  • Many of these children have been in HCZ programs from the time their parents were in The Baby College, which highlights the effectiveness of our comprehensive model of supporting children.
  • For 2008-09, 100% of the seniors from TRUCE Arts and Media went on to college; the Employment and Technology Center had 90% of its high school seniors accepted into college.

Data on each program offered can be found at http://www.hcz.org/our-results/by-the-numbers

Indiana Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC)

The Indiana PIRC, in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indianapolis, Indiana

Source and/or contact information:

Jacqueline R. Garvey, Executive Director, Indiana Partnerships Center
(Indiana PIRC)
921 E. 86th Street, Suite 108, Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 205-2595; (866) 391-1039 (toll free); (317) 205-9790 (fax)

Web site/additional information:

Indiana Partnerships Center Web site: http://www.fscp.org

Indianapolis Public Schools website: http://www.ips.k12.in.us/
Dr. Jane Kendrick, Superintendent, IPS

America’s Promise Alliance, Overview and 3A Framework:
http://www.americaspromise.org/Resources/ParentEngagement/Overview-and-3A-Framework.aspx

Annenberg Institute, College Pathways Tools Series:
http://www.annenberginstitute.org/Products/BTO.php

Main focus of the program:

The Indiana PIRC, in partnership with the College Access and Readiness Initiative and others, works with the middle and high schools of Indiana’s largest urban school district, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), to create a college-going culture that focuses on high school graduation within four years and enrollment in post-secondary institutions.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

The initiative involves all 17 IPS middle and high schools.

In its first year, the Indianapolis initiative focused specifically on low-income and first-generation college families so that “all students and families know that college is possible.”

Noted parent involvement scholar, Anne T. Henderson, Senior Consultant with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, collaborates with the program.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

The program started in April 2009.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • Parent liaisons
    • conduct workshops for parents and
    • make home visits.

 

Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • Parents are encouraged to oversee their student’s progress on the state mandated test (ISTEP) and participate in college visits with their child.
  • At George Washington Community High School (GWCHS), parents established and voluntarily run the Parent LOFT (a parent center). The facility is used for parent-to-parent outreach and to host meetings to engage parents.
  • GWCHS is a full-service community school. The PIRC is one of 52 partners that work with the school to increase student achievement.
  • Contributions made by parents and families across the district’s middle and high schools include
    • participation in college visits,
    • enrolling students in 21st Century Scholars program,
    • communicating and tracking students’ progress, and
      attending scholar recipient meetings.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • Parents are informed of curricular recommendations for college-bound students, such as taking algebra in middle school. They are also informed about 21st Century Scholars funding and the Core 42 (credits needed to be on track for college).
  • The PIRC serves as an intermediary for financial aid information, such as assistance with the FAFSA, and for ELL services.
  • In collaboration with other partners through the “Learn More Indiana” statewide communication initiative, the PIRC assists students and their parents with college and career preparation, planning, and financial information.
  • The PIRC uses the 3A Framework (Attendance, Achievement, Attainment) of the America’s Promise Alliance and Annie E. Casey Foundation with parents to support high school graduation and college/career preparation.
  • A parent guide is currently under development.
  • College pathway teams in each of the middle and high schools consist of the principal or assistant principal, the guidance counselor/graduation coach/social worker, staff representing schoolwide initiatives such as AVID or College Summit, a parent liaison, and family members.
  • The teams meet monthly on campus and come together districtwide three times a year.
  • The college pathway team uses the latest research-based best practices for improving academic standards, high school persistence and graduation rates, and college enrollment and completion rates.
  • The team develops and implements data-collection systems that allow for the documentation, monitoring, and tracking of student performance, as well as access to support in college advising, financial aid, and tutoring. The college pathway team assesses policies, curriculum, and funding to support the college-preparation action plan developed at each school site in collaboration with the school improvement team.
  • Two milestones for the initiative include the following:
    • Parent/family awareness concerning programs currently in place at the schools has increased.
    • Parent/family liaisons are included as members of the college pathway team. Previously, the team consisted only of school faculty and administration.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:

Increased ISTEP scores and graduation rates at GWCHS.

Oyler Community Learning Center

Cincinnati, Ohio

Source and/or contact information:

Craig Hockenberry, Principal
hockenc@cps-k12.org - (513) 363-4190

Web site/additional information:

Learning First Alliance, Public School Insights:
http://www.publicschoolinsights.org/stories/Oyler

Axelroth, R. (2009, August). The community schools approach: Raising graduation and college going rates—Community high school case studies. Washington, DC: Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership.

Main focus of the program:

High school graduation and academics are the main focus of the program. “The Community Learning Center at Oyler School has created a one-stop shop for all the needs of our students and their families,” according to Principal Hockenberry.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Oyler Community Learning Center is located in the Lower Price Hill area of Cincinnati. The student population of about 900 ranges from pre-K through 12th grade. About 54% are white and about 42% are African American; 79% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Most of the students are first generation high school graduates. Prior to the program, 84% of students left school before the 9th grade. After high school graduation rates increased, students wanted help to continue their education beyond high school, which led to programs focused on college access.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

2010 is the fourth year of the program

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • Over a 2 ½ year period, parents and community members participated in an evaluation process to determine the community’s greatest needs. One of the needs revealed was college access. The Oyler Community Learning Center program was built based on information from the needs assessment.
  • Parents share ideas and talk with teachers during informal meetings held throughout the school year.
  • Weekly “Partners” meetings are held by the program coordinators to monitor progress and obtain feedback. The coordinators communicate this information to the principal.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:
  • There are two AmeriCorps workers on-site to coordinate program activities that support students and their parents in reaching the goal of attending college.
  • Six times each year the school holds a major event such as an open house or a “themed” conference. Food is catered for these events to encourage participation. The themes reflect cultural and other aspects of significance to the community.
  • Partnerships with local agencies and organizations were established to address needs identified through the assessment process. The following partnerships have resulted in services to both students and their families:
    • Christ Church Cathedral donates $25,000 each year for parental involvement. This money is used to promote and support the school’s six major events.
    • Through the school’s partnership with St. Aloysius, four therapists are on-site to provide care for mental health and behavior problems.
    • Parents and students also have access to medical care at the in-school clinic provided through the local health department.
    • The local Boys & Girls Club provides after-school programming and recreational activities for students and their families.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • Due to the increased number of students signing up for the ACT and SAT tests, the school has arranged for the tests to be given on-site in the future.
  • Students are excited about learning and the possibility of going to college. Behavior issues are no longer a problem among juniors and seniors.
  • College representatives visit the campus every week, with a goal of 50 representatives on-site during the school year.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:
  • Since 2007, when the high school was added, there have been a total of 27 graduates, and 13 of those are in college.
  • Fifty potential graduates of the class of 2010 are on track to enroll in college.
  • At least 150 students who had dropped out or needed alternative schedules to graduate have been recaptured through APEX online curriculum.

 

High School Puente

California statewide program

Source and/or contact information:

Gándara, P., & Moreno, J. (2002). The Puente Project: Issues and perspectives on preparing Latino youth for higher education. Educational Policy, 16(4), 463-473.

Tierney, W. G. (2002). Parents and families in precollege preparation: The lack of connection between research and practice. Educational Policy, 16(4), 588-606.

Web site/additional information:

Link to online version of the article:
http://epx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/4/474

Link to The Puente Project:
http://www.puente.net/

Main focus of the program:

High School Puente focuses on increasing the number of Latino students who graduate high school, become college eligible, and enroll in a 4-year college. Usually, High School Puente students are the first in their families to attend college.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

“The Puente Project was conceived as a bridge program from one segment of education to another.” The project was originally a community college program intended to address the low attendance rate of Latino students at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. Because of the program’s success it was shifted from the college to the high school level. The Spanish word, “puente,” means “bridge.”

To increase the number of college-going Latinos, the High School Puente program emphasizes three major components:

  • Rigorous language arts instruction
  • Intensive college preparatory counseling
  • Adult mentors or peer partners for students
Length of time the program has been in operation:

The High School Puente program began in 1993

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:
  • For a student to be accepted into the program, at least one parent or guardian must request it and be willing to sign a statement agreeing to support the student.
  • Each year features a picnic at the start of the school year, a posada, and a year-end banquet.
  • Parent and mentor meetings are held regularly, often in the student’s home.
  • Parents are encouraged to participate actively in the program and are given opportunities to assist in planning and implementing Puente activities.
  • Food and conversation, presentations in Spanish and English, and materials and information on topics of interest to parents (such as financial aid) are used to attract parents to meetings and events at the school.
  • A special effort is made to recruit Latino community members as volunteers or guest speakers.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:

The program emphasizes three major components:

  • Rigorous instruction in writing and literature—Two-year college prep English class focuses on Latino literature. The program emphasizes community-based folklore and assignments that incorporate parents, family members, and community mentors.
  • Intensive college preparatory counseling—The counselor ensures that students are placed in college prep classes, participate in activities, arrange college visits, and arrange parent and mentor meetings.
  • Adult mentors or peer partners for students—A community mentor liaison (CML) seeks out appropriate community mentors, trains them, and matches them to students in the program. Mentors continue a two-year relationship and meet with students and their families monthly.

These components were designed to “work in concert with each other to raise skills and aspirations of the students, increase information available to both students and parents about college opportunities, and change the consciousness of the school and the community about the students’ potential.”

Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • Four-year academic counseling for students, focused on college preparation
  • Mentoring/community leadership activities that foster an expectation for students to return to their community as leaders and mentors to future generations
  • Study found significant, positive differences for Puente students compared to non-Puente students regarding attitudes toward school, preparation for college, aspirations to attend college, and percentage of students going on to 4-year colleges
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:
  • The High School Puente program began in 1993 with seven high schools in California districts. By 2002, nearly 40 high schools were hosting a Puente program.
  • Puente students reported going on to 4-year colleges at nearly double the rate of non-Puente students with the same grades and test scores.

 

University Park Campus School

Worcester, Massachusetts

Source and/or contact information:

Conley, D. T. (2009). Creating college readiness: Profiles of 38 schools that know how. Eugene, OR: Educational Policy Improvement Center. http://www.epiconline.org/publications/college_readiness

Web site/additional information:

University Park Campus School Design Web site:
http://www.upcsinstitute.org/

Coalition for Community Schools Web site:
http://www.communityschools.org/

Main focus of the program:

University Park Campus School (UPCS) was “designed around the promise to prepare every student for college.” The school has created a culture “that refuses to let any student fail to achieve high standards.” The college-bound culture is made clear to the students and their parents from the beginning, with 7th graders attending a month-long academy prior to the start of the school year.

 

  • Strong Focus on Parent-Community
  • Strong Focus on College/Career Readiness
  • Strong Focus on Academic Success

Located one block from and in partnership with Clark University in the poorest section of Worcester, UPCS was established as part of an effort to reverse the economic and social decline of the neighborhood. Education Trust, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Newsweek magazine have recognized the school as a national model for its successful record of academic achievement.

The 7th through 12th grade school accepts only students that live within a one-mile radius of the school. The student population is very diverse: 19% Asian, 7% African-American, 40% Latino, 32% White, and 1% multiracial. Many of the white students are recent immigrants from Eastern Europe—64% of students are English language learners. Seventy-eight percent of students receive free or reduced-price meals.

Length of time the program has been in operation:

UPCS was founded in 1997.

Ways the program solicits input, involvement, and commitment from parents/community:

UPCS teachers are closely connected to their students and their families.

  • Monitor student progress and act as mentors and advisors
  • Assist students and their parents with housing, health care, baby sitting, taxes, etc.
Ways in which parents, families, and community partners are engaged to promote a college-going culture:

Partnership between UPCS and Clark University:

  • Masters students from Clark’s Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education teach at UPCS.
  • Clark faculty collaborate with UPCS faculty on the school’s curriculum team.
  • Clark library, lab, and gymnasium are open to UPCS students.
  • 7th through 10th graders participate in mini-seminars with Clark faculty.
  • 10th graders are assigned an undergraduate mentor from Clark.
Indicators that the program has instituted a culture of college going and career readiness:
  • UPCS students participate in a rigorous academic program consisting of all honors classes beginning in 9th grade.
  • The college prep curriculum is aligned with college standards for all grades and subjects.
  • Junior and senior seminars focus on college selection and application process.
  • Juniors and seniors have the option to take courses at Clark for dual credit.
  • Students that do not enroll for dual credit take an entry-level class at Clark to learn how to work with college professors.
  • UPCS students take elective classes at Clark University, tuition free.
  • Senior year is structured to parallel college experience:
    • Class schedule (90-minute courses that meet two or three times a week)
      Class sizes are larger
    • Class syllabi mimic college syllabi
    • Note-taking and self-management emphasized
  • A relationship with Clark facilitates ongoing mentoring of younger colleagues by veteran teachers.
  • Collaboration among teachers integrates instruction across grades and subjects, and it serves as a model to students for how to work together.
How the program has increased student achievement, and supporting anecdotal evidence:
  • Over 95% of UPCS graduates attend college or university.
  • Lower numbers of UPCS students require remedial coursework in college, especially in writing.
  • Dropout and mobility rates are near zero.
  • UPCS is the highest performing urban high school in Massachusetts.

 

 

Top of page

end of article

 


About SEDL | Contact SEDL | SEDL store

arrow  GO TO SEDL WEBSITE
The contents of this site were developed under grant number S283B050020 from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.