College prep initiative shows success

Reorganizing and coordinating resources can raise college enrollment — especially among African-American and Latino students, concludes a five-year pilot program. The Postsecondary Success Collaborative, which operated in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Miami-Dade County, “asked participants to coordinate academic programs, align K-12 curriculums with postsecondary and workforce requirements, and engage community groups,” reports Inside Higher Ed.

An independent analysis by the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning found the initiative bucked national enrollment trends. From 2009 to 2012, 12 percent more students from the initiative’s target high schools enrolled in college. Among black and Latino students at high schools that were deemed to have strongly implemented the initiative’s recommendations, that number rose to 39 percent, boosted by a 69 percent increase among black students in Miami-Dade County. Among students who enrolled in college, the analysis also found a 16 percent increase in students who continued as sophomores.

In Miami, an advisory board started with “marathon” financial aid sessions, funding field trips to universities across the state and math courses to prepare students for college work.

In Philadelphia, two similar advisory boards found that the high school English curriculum was out of alignment with the kind of writing skills expected from college freshmen.

. . . the advisory boards created “instructional rounds,” where high school teachers and college professors visited each another’s classrooms to better understand what was being taught in them.

Many students enrolled at collaborating institutions such as Temple in Philadelphia, Miami Dade College and the City College of San Francisco.

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