The High School Connection: Bridging the Gap Between High School and College

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  • 1. The Writing Connection: Bridging the Gap between High School and College 
    Passaic County Community College’s “Connections” program to work with area high school teachers across disciplines to create varied opportunities in writing-to-learn rather than the traditional learning-to-write approach that might apply only to the English classroom.
  • 2. The Writing Connection: Bridging the Gap between High School and College
    Two Year College English AssociationWashington, DC - November 2010
  • 3. Who – about us
    Why – the rationale
    What – the activities
    How – lessons learned
    Continuing the connections
  • 4. Who
  • 5. About Us
    Ken Ronkowitz – Director of the Writing Initiative (Title V Grant)
    Alexandra Della Fera – Professor of English
    Elizabeth Nesius – Coordinator of the Writing Center
  • 6. About PCCC
    Main Campus - Paterson, NJ
    with 3 satellite campuses
    Total enrollment 10,000+
    Past Year - 9% increase; 36% online growth
    64.4% Basic Skills
    20.0% ESL
    15.6% College Level
  • 7. About PCCC
    Top 5 Degree Programs
    A.A. Humanities 16.5%
    A.A.S. Nurse Education 13.9%
    A.S. Business / Accounting 7.6%
    A.A. Criminal Justice 6.8%
    A.S. Human Services 6.5%
    Graduation Requirements include
    One or two writing intensive courses
    College Writing Exam
  • 8. Why
  • 9. About the Writing Initiative
    5 Year, Dept of Ed. Title V Grant to improve writing
    Build college-level writing center
    Design 20 writing intensive GenEd courses across disciplines (40 course sections)
    Incorporate writing, critical thinking & information literacy
    Year 3: Connecting with county high schools and Year 4: area four-year colleges
  • 10. The Connections
    4-year colleges where PCCC students often matriculate
    Dual enrollment program
    Connecting to other writing programs and writing centers, especially at community colleges
    Sending county high schools
  • 11. What
  • 12. Activities: Big Ideas
    Teachers as Writers
    Writing to Learn
    Learning to Write
    NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing
  • 13. Teachers as Writers
    Bluebook writing exercise on feedback experiences in our own lives
    Blogs and Wikis
  • 14. Process
    Pre-Seminar Questions
    Visual Prompts
    Best lessons
    Lessons in Progress
    Grammar Interactive Sites
  • 15. Writing to Learn
    Instant Messaging
    Website Creation
  • 16. Learning to Write
    Email exercise
    audience, purpose, point of view
    Holistic Grading Session
  • 17. Reflections
    Portfolio work
    Reflecting on the teacher as writer
    Reflecting on how we teach writing
  • 18. HowLessons Learned
  • 19. Limitations in the High Schools
    Limited technology
    In many places, technology unavailable due to budget or unavailable to students at home
    Restrictions on websites that can be accessed within schools
    Faculty were still interested in incorporating more technology into their classes
    They were creative in coming up with solutions or end-runs around technology problems
  • 20. Limitations in the High Schools
    Unable to access their campuses during summer
    Invitations sent to school emails may not have been received.
    For the second institute: Faculty were unable to test links on campus to gauge access capabilities.
    Many responded to mailed invitations.
    The links are still provided to them (on the LibGuide) for use when they get back to school.
    Some faculty had tried similar things and were able to guess at access capabilities
  • 21. Challenges / Solutions
    Most respondents were English and social studies teachers
    Asking teachers to do pre-institute activities was unsuccessful
    Coming up with session topics – managing time
    Second Institute: targeted non-humanities departments
    Possibly contact faculty earlier in the school year
    Used survey results from the first Institute to inform plans for second
  • 22. Challenges / Solutions
    4. Their shared materials were limited
    In some cases, only hard copies were available
    Some brought no copies and instead described the materials
    4. Have faculty send materials with their application
    Request digital copies in advance so that copies could be made for all
  • 23. Challenges / Solutions
    5. Tended to form “cliques” when multiple people came from the same school
    6. Some personalities dominated
    5. Tried to choose faculty from a variety of schools
    Arranged seating to encourage collaboration with new people
    6. Used “classroom management” techniques
  • 24. Most popular topics
    Teachers as writers
    Using prompts (visual, audio…)
    Critical thinking activities
    Portfolios and reflection in the classroom
    Sharing college level writing and materials
    Topics suggested for future sessions
    Technology for writing (blogs, portfolios, podcasts…)
    Sample materials and lesson plans, especially for writing assignments
    Survey Results
  • 25. Additional Benefits Noted
    Learning about the approaches to writing at other schools
    Sharing ideas and lessons and getting feedback on them
    Hearing about the problems other schools face (and that they’re not so different)
  • 26. Continuing the Connections…
    Possibility of going into high schools to offer professional development workshops
    Writing at 4-Year Colleges
    Other community college writing initiatives – you?
  • 27. Contact:
    Presentation and Resources