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Morris County USD 417

  • An Early Taste of College Academics

    For many years, high school students have had an array of supportive services to help them enroll in college, largely in the form of navigating admission and financial aid processes. This guidance may have eased the path to college, but the gap between college enrollment and college completion is still wide.

    The failure to graduate with an undergraduate degree is particularly common among students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who may be the first in their family to matriculate to a college or university. K-12 educators have a major role to play in addressing this serious shortcoming. It’s no longer a question of how do we make college accessible but how do we fully prepare our students so they complete degree programs?

    Dual enrollment offers a practical purpose for students to acquire college credits. These programs offer a practical route for high school students to earn college credits, to experience the challenges of college-level academics and to learn how to navigate an institution of higher education before matriculating.

    “Early college high schools and dual and concurrent enrollment break down traditional silos between K-12 and higher education, enabling students to earn postsecondary credit while in high school,” says Lillian Pace, senior director of national policy for KnowledgeWorks, a nonprofit organization promoting personalized learning for students. “Both options put students on a more efficient pathway to college, lower the cost of postsecondary education and reduce the amount of time needed to complete a college degree.”

    The Ohio Early College Association, a network of 13 early colleges, recently shared data showing early college graduates are 2½ times more likely to graduate from college than their Ohio peers in similar districts. At early college high schools, students can earn up to 60 hours of college credit while still in high school, at no cost to the student and their family.

    The association’s data are reinforced by numerous studies by Jobs for the Future and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships showing high schoolers who are enrolled in college-level classes are more likely to obtain college certification. But there are variations of success when we break down the findings from the association by high school, meaning some early colleges are more effective than others. Within Ohio’s network, some have college completion rates of up to 58 percent while others show completion rates as low as 12 percent. On average, 39 percent of the graduates of Ohio’s Early College Association schools went on to graduate from college, compared to 15 percent of their peers within Ohio’s eight urban school districts.

    Requisite Supports
    This begs the question: What are the targeted supports and interventions students need to be successful and when do they need them?

    The answers will differ from one school community to the next, yet our organization in working with schools across Ohio has identified several practices that distinguish high-quality dual and concurrent enrollment programs leading widely to completion of college degrees.

    » PERSONALIZED SUPPORT FOR ALL STUDENTS. Ask students about their needs and conduct formative assessments to identify the targeted interventions and tiered supports that will best help students when they need it.

    The University of Toledo, the higher education partner for Toledo Early College High School, has developed success coaches as part of an early warning system to keep students on track to success. This personalized support system considers students’ life transitions, goal setting, time management, career exploration, study strategies, financial aid, budgeting, networking, tutoring and more.

    Cheryl Connolly, principal of Akron Early College High School in Akron, Ohio, which offers a full-year seminar with University of Akron for college-bound students.


    About 275 students took part in the Toledo Early College High School in 2017-18, enrolled in courses in career and self-evaluation, orientation strategies for college success, communications, cultural anthropology and theater, as well as classes in engineering, education and pharmacy.

    By identifying early in the semester those students who may need some additional support, the university can develop a plan tailored to their needs, says Kari Dilworth, one of the two success coaches who work with high schoolers enrolled in the Toledo Early College High School.

    » COLLEGE LIAISONS. Identify a “champion” to bridge the gap between high school and higher education.

    Secondary and postsecondary education often operate in distinct silos that don’t interact. Establishing partnerships between these two entities is the first of many steps to providing learning opportunities to better prepare students for the rigors of college life. We’ve found several examples where college liaisons can bridge a gap and spur student growth.

    Dennis Trenger served for many years as the college liaison between Stark State College in Canton, Ohio, and Timken Early College High School, where more than 460 high school students enrolled in college-level coursework in the past year. Trenger would facilitate a successful exchange of resources and ideas by convening a quarterly design session with the partner institutions. He recruited higher education teaching resources and helped students and staff at the high school in navigating college culture.

    “You are advocating for students, faculty and parents and you are working with leadership from both sides,” he says. “If that piece isn’t solid, the early college high school and higher education relationship won’t work as effectively as possible.”
    Cheryl Connolly, principal of Akron Early College High School, described one of the most promising practices her program has used to raise the college completion rate for students: a senior seminar, co-taught by counselors from the high school and the University of Akron. All 83 seniors participated in the full-year seminar in 2017-18.

    “The seminar features guest speakers to address careers, best ways to navigate university life, and giving back to the community and others to help create the well-rounded graduate,” Connolly says.

    » PARTNERSHIP A RELATIONSHIP. Deep, rich partnerships are an essential component of dual enrollment.

    Close collaboration among the school and its partners ramps up the rigor of learning experiences through implementation. Creative practices emerge when both the school and the university come to the table with the attitude of “what’s in it for them,” not just “what’s in it for me.”

    It’s that close partnership that allows Kelly Herold, assistant to the dean at the University of Akron, to say, “Akron Early College High School students become University of Akron students the day they step on campus.”

    The difference between early college and college is minimized by the close working relationship between the high school and the university.

    Connolly, Akron’s principal, says one thing that works well for them is locating the dual enrollment classes on the University of Akron campus. “Having college students working alongside our students creates the high expectations necessary to be successful in high school and college,” she says. “Our students over the years have won various awards from their professors for being outstanding students in their programs. They become immersed in the college culture, which contributes to them being successful.”

    Dual enrollment partnerships extend beyond the school walls and campus boundaries, reaching into the larger community. The first graduating class of the Marysville Early College High School in Marysville, Ohio, benefitted from partnerships with Honda of America Manufacturing, Columbus State Community College, Union County Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Hi-Point and others in the workforce. No matter which level of education we work in, strong partnerships between school districts, community organizations, local industry leaders and higher education institutions can be built over time to create relevant learning opportunities.

    » LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING. Identify leaders and establish ways to build capacity at every level — classroom, school and district.

    At the district level, support from the superintendent plays significantly in the success of dual enrollment schools. In Akron, David James, the superintendent, lends his support directly to Connolly, who is the third principal of Akron Early College High School, which opened in 2007. “Being very unique and different from the other high schools, having prior knowledge of how our program works, being part of this program from the beginning gives continuity to the momentum that we have built and continue to tweak to maintain our success,” Connolly says.

    Dual enrollment options have been around for decades. As we expand the academic options for students and make the dream of a college degree a reality for many, the education community now must build upon best practices to ensure more students achieve college completion.

     

    This article can be found on http://my.aasa.org/AASA/Resources/SAMag/2018/Nov18/Varatta_Westrich.aspx

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    SBR: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships The new three ‘Rs’ to keep students safe

    There’s a new three `Rs’ in school – relationships, relationships, relationships.

    That’s what Kansas education leaders say is needed to make their students safer as fears increase with each school shooting.

    In meetings across the state in September and October, hundreds of school board members and school administrators discussed what they are doing and what more they need to do to ensure that students can function and learn in a safe environment.

    In addition to “hardening” facilities, educators are trying to reach all children and make them feel welcome and important.

    “Districts all over the state are grappling with this issue, how do we best serve our students’ social and emotional needs right now,” said KASB President Patrick Woods, who is a member of the Topeka USD 501 school board.

    At one of the meetings, conducted by KASB and United School Administrators of Kansas, a school official wrote the key is “Relationships Relationships Relationships.” Many said students, community partners and parents must be involved in the process.

    The issue of school safety will be addressed in the upcoming legislative session that starts in January. During the last session, legislators approved $5 million in matching grants funds for school security improvements.

    The grants were quickly utilized as districts requested more than $13 million. It is expected that legislators will consider allocating more dollars for these security grants in 2019.

    The Legislature also approved a measure that changed the number and mix of emergency preparedness drills, including nine crisis drills that focused on intruder response and lockdowns. That requirement, however, was a one-year proviso, so legislators will probably re-visit this issue.

    And the Legislature has required the Kansas State Board of Education to develop and adopt statewide standards for school safety and security plans that must be adopted by each district.

    During the KASB, USA|Kansas meetings, officials reported they meet regularly with local law enforcement to develop emergency responses, go over those plans and consider changes when needed.

    And many are implementing a wide range of programs, from efforts as simple as installing “Buddy Benches” on the playground, so no child feels alone during recess, to forming school families across grade levels, anti-bullying efforts, monitoring social media, hiring more social workers, guidance counselors, school resource officers and much more.

    Gail Billman, of the Labette County USD 506 school board and KASB Region 3 vice president, said she enjoyed hearing from different districts on what they are doing in safety.

    “We all have different issues based on the logistics of our districts, so I really appreciate that input. We gained some really good insight,” she said.
    Another area school officials are working on is assessing what threats exist and how serious to take them.

    Art Gutierrez, a member of the Emporia USD 253 school board and KASB Region 2 vice president, noted a recent study by the U.S. Secret Service found in 93 percent of school attacks, the attacker had planned the incident for months, while in 81 percent of those cases the attacker had told someone else of the plan. Schools must provide a culture that discourages a “code of silence” among students, he said.

    “We keep preaching to our kids, `See something, say something’,” said Fred Patton, a state legislator and Seaman USD 345 school board member. He said that applies to whether students hear about a threat to the school or simply inappropriate behavior or something inappropriate on social media.

    KASB plans to review all the comments and discussions from the 10 meetings and put together a report of recommendations to drive public policy in school safety.

     

    This article can be found on https://kasb.org/sbrcovernov18/

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    November Lunchroom Update

     

                Thanksgiving is here!  Mark your calendars we will be having our Traditional Thanksgiving Lunch on Tuesday, November 13th  Please Parents/Grandparents, you are more than welcome to eat with your child please let the office know by Wednesday, November 7th so we can be prepared.

                We have also this month switched to our Winter Menu, make sure you look at the menu some of the days are a bit different.  We are bringing back Tater Tot Bake, Chili/Cinnamon Roll, and Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers!  The plan is to have heartier meals to keep us warmer this winter.  

    See you in the lunchroom,

    Becky Shearer

    USD 417

    Food Service Director

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Notice of Non-discrimination:   USD #417 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Aron Dody, 17 S Wood Street, Council Grove, Kansas 66846 (620)767-5192