My name is Nathan Lockett and I currently work for Cornell University as the K-12 Outreach Coordinator. My role at the university is to create educational programs through collaborations with other staff and faculty using student volunteers and work study students to help enhancing the education provided to students in school that are local to Cornell. Currently, there are hundreds of Cornell students providing general tutoring, science, math, art and english extension programs, after-school programs for low-income youth, a college attainment program, book collections, lesson plans and field trips to local schools. Also, in partnership with my colleagues, I provide staff development courses for local schools and help create and develop course curricula, standards, units and lesson plans for our partner schools.
About this Mini-Course
The overarching goal of this mini-course is to help teachers create a program that helps their students and students' families realize how possible college is. This type of program is extremely important in low-income rural areas, like those that surround Cornell University. Last year I helped develop the first attempt at this type of program with the help of a community partner and am hoping that I can use this mini-course to help other schools develop one, as I will not be able to create one for more than the one I am working on for the school I am currently working with.
Because the needs and the ability to implement a program for each school is different, I've tried to make this course very flexible. Individual units can be done, instead of doing the entire course. Additionally, each part has a number of different options that vary greatly in terms of time commitment and goals. I believe this will allow the program to be implemented in a way that is most useful for each unique school.
What is provided by this course?
This course will provide teachers with the following:
- A guide for creating a college attainment program.
- Examples of parts used by college attainment programs.
- Available resources that will elevate the program.
- Information about why each part of the course is important.
- Statistics that prove the need for such a course.
Who is the course intended for?
This course is intended for teachers, after-school program leaders, guidance counselors and administrators of all levels. This course can be implemented on an individual grade or full-school basis. It can be effective on a small scale basis but is most useful when implemented with a full grade. A collaboration between many stakeholders would add value to this program and may be best to work as a grade-level team to get the best results.
Course Structure, Units and Prerequisites
This course is divided up into three units. Each unit has an overall theme and is broken down into a number of simple parts that will allow the developer of the program to pick and modify the units and parts that best serve the needs of the students. File:Curriculum Map NL.pdf
Unit 1: Building Relationships to ensure that the program will be supported.
Part 1: In a variety of settings, teachers will demonstrate the ability to connect with local colleges by contacting them and creating an agreement that the teacher will collaborate with the college to implement a college aspirations program using email or telephone.
Part 2: In a school setting, teachers will demonstrate the ability to connect and work with same grade level teachers and administrators, teachers will meet regularly with this group and discuss program goals, outcomes, needs and roles.
Part 3: In a community setting, teachers must be able to engage with parents and community members to create a mutual understanding about goals and possibilities for the students. Parents will work with teachers to push students towards college admittance.
Part 1: Create goals and identifiable outcomes for students. This will be used at the end of the program to assess needed changes.
Part 2: In a general education classroom, teachers will generate a timeline that will allow a program to be integrated into the school year during regular school hours, that has students actively working during class on a college attainment project and schedules days where students will be available to go on field trips to local universities..
Part 3: In the structure of the created timeline, teacher will create a plan for having students apply to college, learn about financial aid, majors, college life and what needs to be done in high school so that students are prepared to get into their preferred college.
Part 4: Work to instill excitement about attending college by incorporating college visits that are more than simple tours.
Unit 3: Evaluation and Progress
Part 1: In a group setting, teachers will meet to discuss the successes of the current year and create a program that builds upon the skills and enthusiasm that the students have gained. This will be demonstrate through group meetings that results in an enhanced program.
Need for this type of program
The needs assessment page (linked above) has a great deal of statistics about college attainment in the local communities and provides a good quantitative analysis for why there is a need for this program. However, I believe that a qualitative assessment is much telling of the need for a program that is meant to teach students and their parents about the possibilities of college. For anyone who grew up and taught in low-income rural areas, as I have, can attest, there is a significant Us vs Them mentality when it comes to the college or people who attend college. Additionally, there is a "brain drain" problem, meaning the students from these areas who do attend college, do not move back to their home town, but move to where jobs that require high degrees are. This means that the majority of students who attend school in these areas have parents who did not attend college and who believe that are not like their peers who attended college and left town. This hinders the students ability to attended college, because they are not given the guidance they need from home as to how to attend college because their parents never attended and don't know what the process is. Now, of course, I don't mean to say that this applies to every student and person that lives in a rural area, but this is a significant problem that I have discussed at length with the administrators at the school where I am currently developing the programming that spurred the idea for this mini-course.
Outcomes for students of the teachers who created the college program
For a teacher's program to be successful they must have they will have to create a program that has the learning outcomes where the middle school students will be to:
Understand, and help their parents understand the financial aid process
Identify the many types of college majors available.
Identify a possible college major.
Identify the type of HS course work that needs to be taken to be accepted to a college that has that major.
Understand the college admissions process.
Understand that college is accessible for them, even if they or their parents didn’t realize that.
Links to College Access Programs
Programs with the focus of college attainment:
http://www2.cortland.edu/community/outreach/ace/ - This is a local program for Cortland/Ithaca.
http://www.collegefes.org/ - This is a national program that can be used to assist you. Much of the information I used to create this course came form discussions I had with the members of this organization. They would an EXCELLENT partner and can help you with every aspect of this process.
http://www.collegeaccess.org/accessprogramdirectory/ A national directory, I have collaborated with a couple of programs I've found on this site.
ETAP 623 Fall 2011 Homepage
Needs Assessment for College Aspirations Course
Outcomes, Objectives and Sequencing of Unit
Unit 1: Building Relationships to ensure that the program will be supported.