A University-Community Partnership to Address College Access and Success


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This session will explore how Elon University in North Carolina partnered with the local community to develop and implement Elon Academy, a college access and success program for high school and college students with financial need and/or no family history of college attendance. The session will cover how the partnership began, the program components of Elon Academy, assessment data, and lessons learned from the university-community partnership.

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  • Residence Halls & roommatesMentor supervisionCafeteria mealsRigorous daily schedule8am Breakfast8:45 Morning Meeting9:20 Academic Class #111:30 Lunch12:25 R.E.C.E.S.S.1:35 Academic Class #23:45 College Planning5:50 Dinner6:45 Evening Activities8:30 Scholar Choice & Homework11:00 Lights OutAcademicsEnrichment/InspirationCritical ThinkingWriting & Reading StrategiesField TripsCapstone Reflection (POLs)College PlanningPathways to CollegePlanning for CollegeCollege Visits UNC, Wake Forest, Guilford, A&T, Campbell, etc.Evening ActivitiesSwimming LessonsGolf, Racquetball, BasketballStep, Dance, Improv DramaSelf Defense, Art, and moreService ProjectsGiving back to the communityLeadership opportunitiesSaturdaysFirst Friday Leadership workshopKopper Top, Habitat for Humanity, Community Garden, etc.
  • 6 in 10 of students with our demographics complete high school1 in 3 will attend college1 in 7 will graduate
  • – not because they can’t do the work - but because they lack time management and organizational skills or struggle with setting priorities.
  • A University-Community Partnership to Address College Access and Success

    1. 1. Elon Academy:A University-Community Partnership<br />Deborah Long, Professor of Education and Elon Academy Director<br />Elon University<br />
    2. 2. How it all began . . .<br /> In 2006 when Judge Howard Manning threatened to close an underperforming school in Alamance County, President Lambert began to rethinking the role of Elon University in the life of our local community.<br />Elon Academy<br />
    3. 3. In Alamance County . . .<br />1997-1998<br />Hispanic Population 4.1% <br />Free/Reduced Lunch 34% <br />Non-White Students 43.6% . <br />2009-2010<br />Hispanic Population 18%<br />Free/Reduced Lunch 52%<br />Non-White Students 46%<br />2.5 students drop out of high school every day. <br />More than 17,000 students are growing up in households where no one has earned a four-year college degree.<br />
    4. 4. Our Mission<br />responsibility.<br /> The mission of the Elon Academy is to inspire academically-promising students who are often underrepresented on college and university campuses to pursue higher education, build leadership skills, and develop and active sense of social responsibility. <br />Shelby Oldham<br />SALEM COLLEGE<br />
    5. 5. Current Scholars & Families<br />115 scholars<br />300 family members <br />20 first-year college students (Alpha class)<br />22 high-school seniors (Beta class)<br />25 high-school juniors (Gamma class)<br />24 high-school sophomores (Delta class)<br />24 high-school freshmen (Epsilon Class)<br />Jaron Torain<br />ST. AUGUSTINE COLLEGE<br />
    6. 6. Scholar Recruitment<br />Over 2,000 letters sent to 9th graders in the Alamance Burlington School System (ABSS)<br />Postcards returned for application request<br />Student and family applications sent (≈ 300)<br />Applications received (≈ 100) <br />Screened by Advocates<br />Interviews by staff (≈ 60)<br />Invitations to join the Academy (24-26)<br />
    7. 7. Selection Criteria<br />Current 9th grader<br />Student in Alamance-Burlington Schools<br />Financial need and/or no family history of college<br />Demonstration of academic promise<br />No pattern of disciplinary problems<br />Desire to succeed<br />Commitment to the Elon Academy <br />
    8. 8. Demographics<br />
    9. 9. Demographics<br />
    10. 10. Demographics<br />
    11. 11. Elon Academy High School Program<br />Phase I: The Elon Academy<br />Three-year, year-round college access program for high school students and families including three summer residential experiences and a monthly Saturday Academy<br />Phase II: The EA College Transitions Program<br />Summer Program for graduated seniors<br />Phase III: The EA College Success Program<br />Year-round program for first-year college students and families<br />Phase IV: The EA Alumni Program<br />Year-round program for EA graduates and families<br />
    12. 12. Elon Academy Summer Program<br />Residential living<br />Roommates and Mentors<br />Rigorous daily schedule<br />Academics<br />College Planning<br />Evening Activities<br />Service Projects<br />R.E.C.E.S.S.<br />Presentations of Learning<br />Internships<br />
    13. 13. Year-Round Support<br />Advocates<br />Academic Tracking <br />Academic Coaching<br />Counseling<br />Family Support<br />Phoenix Cards<br />Dream Fund<br />Saturday Academy<br />
    14. 14. Monthly Saturday Academy<br />SENIORS<br /><ul><li> Scholarship Search
    15. 15. Essays, Applications
    16. 16. FAFSA</li></ul>JUNIORS, SOPHS<br /><ul><li> College Planning
    17. 17. SAT Prep (Princeton Review)
    18. 18. Study Skills
    19. 19. Writing Projects</li></ul>ALL SCHOLARS<br /><ul><li> “Book Jam” (Phi Kappa Phi)</li></ul>FAMILIES<br /><ul><li> College Advising
    20. 20. Financial Aid </li></li></ul><li>Measures of Success<br />Program Persistence<br />Alpha Class 85%<br />Beta Class 88%<br />Gamma Class 90%<br />Delta Class 96%<br />
    21. 21. Measures of Success<br />College Acceptances<br />Graduates accepted at over 30 institutions<br />19 out of 22 graduates enrolled in 4-year colleges or universities<br />1 graduate attending community college<br />
    22. 22. Gates-Millennium Scholars<br />Sarah Rawls ’10<br />UNC-Chapel Hill<br />Araceli Morales-Santos ’11<br />Wake Forest University<br />
    23. 23. How are we doing?<br />90% of scholars are enrolled in Honors and/or AP classes.<br />Enrollment in non-college prep classes has decreased.<br />Involvement in extracurricular and service activities has increased.<br />
    24. 24. Some Research Findings . . .<br />Increased . . .<br />Willingness to take risks<br />Understanding of relationships to others and the community<br />Desire to make a difference in the world<br />Sense of life purpose and meaning<br />Sense of identity and acceptance of others<br />
    25. 25. How are we doing?<br />
    26. 26. Saturday Academy ~ Looks Good?<br />College-Ready Skills<br />Book Jam<br />Essay Writing<br />Test Preparation<br />Academic Coaching<br />College, Scholarship, and Grant Applications<br />Family Workshops<br />
    27. 27. Why redesign Saturday Academy?<br />30% of our graduates are struggling in college ~ most will finish, but . . .<br />We also want 100% of our scholars to enter college ready to take advantage of a FULL range of opportunities – making them career ready.<br />We began asking ourselves: Why do some students (not just low-income students) struggle in college (in spite of these efforts – other than the obvious reasons)?<br />
    28. 28. How are we doing?<br />
    29. 29. Why do some students struggle in college (other than for financial reasons and/or inadequate academic preparation)?<br />College/Career<br />
    30. 30. High School vs College/Career<br />High School<br />College/Career<br />Student is passive <br />Late work is accepted <br />Time is managed through daily classes and activities<br />Focus on passing tests<br />Individual accountability<br />Short-term assignments<br />Little feedback<br />Lack of course rigor<br />Minimal homework<br />Student is active<br />Deadlines matter<br />Students are expected to manage their own time<br />Focus on quality of work<br />Team accountability<br />Persistence over time<br />Acting on feedback<br />Rigorous coursework<br />Extensive out-of-class assignments<br />
    31. 31. What happens when scholars are immersed in an experience that is an authentic college experience?<br />College/Career<br />
    32. 32. Transformation at the Intersections<br />Research team<br />15 Elon Academy scholars<br />1 undergraduate student<br />Elon Academy Staff members<br />Faculty from across disciplines<br />Produce a book to share with community stakeholders<br />Research on challenges and opportunities for college access<br />
    33. 33. Year-long immersion in the work<br />Interviews<br />Focus groups<br />Surveys<br />Photovoice<br />Reading<br />Writing<br />Presenting<br />Summer Class Goal: <br />Book Project<br />&<br />Art Exhibit<br />
    34. 34. What our scholars are saying . . .<br />Passion<br />For learning<br />For service<br />For leadership<br />Persistence<br />To overcome obstacles<br />To see challenges as opportunities<br />To sustain interest over time<br />Self-Control<br />Manage time<br />Prioritize<br />Resist the Marshmallow<br />
    35. 35. What we have learned . . .<br />Immersing high school students in authentic, meaningful, high-interest, engaging work over an extended period of time develops college and career skills and develops a passion for academic learning and service.<br />Having specialized knowledge increases confidence and self-esteem.<br />ALL scholars would benefit from this type of opportunity.<br />
    36. 36. Key Cognitive Strategies<br />Inquisitiveness, Analysis, Problem Solving<br />Reason, Argumentation, Proof, Precision<br />Key Content Knowledge<br />Writing & Research<br />Academic Subjects, Languages, Arts<br />Academic Behaviors<br />Time Management, Study Skills, Persistence, Metacognition<br />Contextual Skills Awareness<br />Understanding Academic Culture, Interacting with Professors<br />Understanding Admissions Process and Financial Aid<br />Co-lead by Elon University Students<br />*David Conley, 2007<br />*Redefining College Success<br />
    37. 37. Initiate multiple year-long projects (5 - 7)<br />Meaningful<br />Authentic<br />Engaging<br />Important<br />High Interest<br />Inbed skills throughout<br />Redesigned Saturday Academy<br />
    38. 38. Teams of 7 – 10 scholars<br />Lead by faculty, staff, or community partners<br />Co-lead by Elon University Students<br />Redesigned Saturday Academy<br />
    39. 39. Conservation Education for Kids<br />Community Mentor: Mindy Stinner, The Conservators’ Center (local wildlife education, conservation, and rescue facility)<br />Project Goal: Develop a science workshop for school children about wildlife ecology or conservation challenges<br />Tasks for EA scholar-participants include:<br />Learn about wildcat ecology and conservation issues through popular and scientific texts, videos, and field experiences at the Conservators’ Center<br />Find and understand the requirements for science education at a targeted grade level<br />Explore what it takes to create a quality science workshops for children<br />Interview grade school teachers for their specific needs<br />Learn to work safely and appropriately with an educational ambassador animal (serval or singing dog)<br />Design and co-teach a workshop for a 3rd or 4th grade class to share their knowledge<br />SAMPLE PROJECT:<br />Ambassador Sammy Serval visits an Elon University class, Spring 2010<br />
    40. 40. SAMPLE PROJECT:<br />Herpetology in the Piedmont<br />Faculty Mentor: Dr. Terry Tomasek, Assistant Professor in the School of Education<br />Project Goal: Students plan a demonstration booth for the NC Museum of Natural Science during Reptile & Amphibian day. They share their newly acquired knowledge with community visitors who attend this event. <br />Tasks for EA scholar-participants include:<br />Exploring how various cultures utilize reptiles and amphibians as food sources. <br />Considering the tensions between economics, culture and conservation. <br />Elon Academy Herpetology Class. Summer 2010. <br />
    41. 41. Engineering Project<br />Faculty Mentor: Mr. Stu Johnston, High School math and physics teacher<br />Project Goal: TBD<br />Tasks for EA scholar-participants include: TBD<br />Elon Academy Engineering Class. <br />Summer 2010<br />
    42. 42. Hunger Project<br />Staff Mentors: Ms. Holly, Campus Kitchen Director and Mrs. Dianne Ford, Community Garden Sponsor<br />Project Goal: TBD<br />Tasks for EA scholar-participants include: TBD<br />Elon Academy Community Garden Service Project. <br />Summer 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010<br />&<br />Campus Kitchen Grand Opening.<br />Spring2011<br />
    43. 43. Project/Problem-Based Learning<br /> Problem/Project-Based Learning (PBL) focuses on simultaneously developing problem-solving strategies, inter-disciplinary knowledge bases and critical thinking skills by placing students, teachers and community members in an active problem-solving role in the real world. <br />
    44. 44. Why PBL? <br />PBL provides a framework that supports current standards of excellence and provides opportunities for community collaboration.<br />PBL is consistent with current research in education, cognitive science, and psychology that has revealed hitherto unsuspected strategic competence and metacognitive knowledge in young people.<br />
    45. 45. In other words . . . <br />Young people are capable of doing amazing things when given adequate structure and support.<br />
    46. 46. Assessment<br />Holistic Assessment<br />Summer Academy<br />Saturday Academy<br />High School Classes<br />Test Scores<br />Family Programs<br />
    47. 47. What else should we be thinking about?<br />
    48. 48. Questions?<br />Contact Information:<br />Deborah Long dlong@elon.edu 336-278-5859<br />