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A University-Community Partnership to Address College Access and Success
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A University-Community Partnership to Address College Access and Success



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 ...

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 A University-Community Partnership to Address College Access and Success Presentation Transcript

  • Elon Academy:A University-Community Partnership
    Deborah Long, Professor of Education and Elon Academy Director
    Elon University
  • How it all began . . .
    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.
    Elon Academy
  • In Alamance County . . .
    Hispanic Population 4.1%
    Free/Reduced Lunch 34%
    Non-White Students 43.6% .
    Hispanic Population 18%
    Free/Reduced Lunch 52%
    Non-White Students 46%
    2.5 students drop out of high school every day.
    More than 17,000 students are growing up in households where no one has earned a four-year college degree.
  • Our Mission
    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.
    Shelby Oldham
  • Current Scholars & Families
    115 scholars
    300 family members
    20 first-year college students (Alpha class)
    22 high-school seniors (Beta class)
    25 high-school juniors (Gamma class)
    24 high-school sophomores (Delta class)
    24 high-school freshmen (Epsilon Class)
    Jaron Torain
  • Scholar Recruitment
    Over 2,000 letters sent to 9th graders in the Alamance Burlington School System (ABSS)
    Postcards returned for application request
    Student and family applications sent (≈ 300)
    Applications received (≈ 100)
    Screened by Advocates
    Interviews by staff (≈ 60)
    Invitations to join the Academy (24-26)
  • Selection Criteria
    Current 9th grader
    Student in Alamance-Burlington Schools
    Financial need and/or no family history of college
    Demonstration of academic promise
    No pattern of disciplinary problems
    Desire to succeed
    Commitment to the Elon Academy
  • Demographics
  • Demographics
  • Demographics
  • Elon Academy High School Program
    Phase I: The Elon Academy
    Three-year, year-round college access program for high school students and families including three summer residential experiences and a monthly Saturday Academy
    Phase II: The EA College Transitions Program
    Summer Program for graduated seniors
    Phase III: The EA College Success Program
    Year-round program for first-year college students and families
    Phase IV: The EA Alumni Program
    Year-round program for EA graduates and families
  • Elon Academy Summer Program
    Residential living
    Roommates and Mentors
    Rigorous daily schedule
    College Planning
    Evening Activities
    Service Projects
    Presentations of Learning
  • Year-Round Support
    Academic Tracking
    Academic Coaching
    Family Support
    Phoenix Cards
    Dream Fund
    Saturday Academy
  • Monthly Saturday Academy
    • Scholarship Search
    • Essays, Applications
    • FAFSA
    • College Planning
    • SAT Prep (Princeton Review)
    • Study Skills
    • Writing Projects
    • “Book Jam” (Phi Kappa Phi)
    • College Advising
    • Financial Aid
  • Measures of Success
    Program Persistence
    Alpha Class 85%
    Beta Class 88%
    Gamma Class 90%
    Delta Class 96%
  • Measures of Success
    College Acceptances
    Graduates accepted at over 30 institutions
    19 out of 22 graduates enrolled in 4-year colleges or universities
    1 graduate attending community college
  • Gates-Millennium Scholars
    Sarah Rawls ’10
    UNC-Chapel Hill
    Araceli Morales-Santos ’11
    Wake Forest University
  • How are we doing?
    90% of scholars are enrolled in Honors and/or AP classes.
    Enrollment in non-college prep classes has decreased.
    Involvement in extracurricular and service activities has increased.
  • Some Research Findings . . .
    Increased . . .
    Willingness to take risks
    Understanding of relationships to others and the community
    Desire to make a difference in the world
    Sense of life purpose and meaning
    Sense of identity and acceptance of others
  • How are we doing?
  • Saturday Academy ~ Looks Good?
    College-Ready Skills
    Book Jam
    Essay Writing
    Test Preparation
    Academic Coaching
    College, Scholarship, and Grant Applications
    Family Workshops
  • Why redesign Saturday Academy?
    30% of our graduates are struggling in college ~ most will finish, but . . .
    We also want 100% of our scholars to enter college ready to take advantage of a FULL range of opportunities – making them career ready.
    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)?
  • How are we doing?
  • Why do some students struggle in college (other than for financial reasons and/or inadequate academic preparation)?
  • High School vs College/Career
    High School
    Student is passive
    Late work is accepted
    Time is managed through daily classes and activities
    Focus on passing tests
    Individual accountability
    Short-term assignments
    Little feedback
    Lack of course rigor
    Minimal homework
    Student is active
    Deadlines matter
    Students are expected to manage their own time
    Focus on quality of work
    Team accountability
    Persistence over time
    Acting on feedback
    Rigorous coursework
    Extensive out-of-class assignments
  • What happens when scholars are immersed in an experience that is an authentic college experience?
  • Transformation at the Intersections
    Research team
    15 Elon Academy scholars
    1 undergraduate student
    Elon Academy Staff members
    Faculty from across disciplines
    Produce a book to share with community stakeholders
    Research on challenges and opportunities for college access
  • Year-long immersion in the work
    Focus groups
    Summer Class Goal:
    Book Project
    Art Exhibit
  • What our scholars are saying . . .
    For learning
    For service
    For leadership
    To overcome obstacles
    To see challenges as opportunities
    To sustain interest over time
    Manage time
    Resist the Marshmallow
  • What we have learned . . .
    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.
    Having specialized knowledge increases confidence and self-esteem.
    ALL scholars would benefit from this type of opportunity.
  • Key Cognitive Strategies
    Inquisitiveness, Analysis, Problem Solving
    Reason, Argumentation, Proof, Precision
    Key Content Knowledge
    Writing & Research
    Academic Subjects, Languages, Arts
    Academic Behaviors
    Time Management, Study Skills, Persistence, Metacognition
    Contextual Skills Awareness
    Understanding Academic Culture, Interacting with Professors
    Understanding Admissions Process and Financial Aid
    Co-lead by Elon University Students
    *David Conley, 2007
    *Redefining College Success
  • Initiate multiple year-long projects (5 - 7)
    High Interest
    Inbed skills throughout
    Redesigned Saturday Academy
  • Teams of 7 – 10 scholars
    Lead by faculty, staff, or community partners
    Co-lead by Elon University Students
    Redesigned Saturday Academy
  • Conservation Education for Kids
    Community Mentor: Mindy Stinner, The Conservators’ Center (local wildlife education, conservation, and rescue facility)
    Project Goal: Develop a science workshop for school children about wildlife ecology or conservation challenges
    Tasks for EA scholar-participants include:
    Learn about wildcat ecology and conservation issues through popular and scientific texts, videos, and field experiences at the Conservators’ Center
    Find and understand the requirements for science education at a targeted grade level
    Explore what it takes to create a quality science workshops for children
    Interview grade school teachers for their specific needs
    Learn to work safely and appropriately with an educational ambassador animal (serval or singing dog)
    Design and co-teach a workshop for a 3rd or 4th grade class to share their knowledge
    Ambassador Sammy Serval visits an Elon University class, Spring 2010
    Herpetology in the Piedmont
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Terry Tomasek, Assistant Professor in the School of Education
    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.
    Tasks for EA scholar-participants include:
    Exploring how various cultures utilize reptiles and amphibians as food sources.
    Considering the tensions between economics, culture and conservation.
    Elon Academy Herpetology Class. Summer 2010.
  • Engineering Project
    Faculty Mentor: Mr. Stu Johnston, High School math and physics teacher
    Project Goal: TBD
    Tasks for EA scholar-participants include: TBD
    Elon Academy Engineering Class.
    Summer 2010
  • Hunger Project
    Staff Mentors: Ms. Holly, Campus Kitchen Director and Mrs. Dianne Ford, Community Garden Sponsor
    Project Goal: TBD
    Tasks for EA scholar-participants include: TBD
    Elon Academy Community Garden Service Project.
    Summer 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010
    Campus Kitchen Grand Opening.
  • Project/Problem-Based Learning
    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.
  • Why PBL?
    PBL provides a framework that supports current standards of excellence and provides opportunities for community collaboration.
    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.
  • In other words . . .
    Young people are capable of doing amazing things when given adequate structure and support.
  • Assessment
    Holistic Assessment
    Summer Academy
    Saturday Academy
    High School Classes
    Test Scores
    Family Programs
  • What else should we be thinking about?
  • Questions?
    Contact Information:
    Deborah Long dlong@elon.edu 336-278-5859