Ellet and Firestone High School Students Experience Campus Life
Twelfth graders from Ellet and Firestone high schools at Akron Public Schools visited Kent State University for the College TODAY Summer Institute June 23-25. This event was made possible by a two-year grant from the Great Lakes Education Philanthropy, and a partnership between Akron Public Schools and the College of EHHS’ Office of Diversity Outreach and Development (DOD).
“The goals of this three-day event were for students to take the College Level Examination Program test, to write personal statements to be used for college applications and scholarships, and to overall have fun on a college campus,” said Daniel Diaz Nilsson, director of DOD.
The Summer Institute is just one component of a bigger project. The goal of College TODAY is to provide more than 77 high school students with college-level English and math coursework taught by college professors five days a week in their respective schools during their junior and senior years, so that they can potentially complete their college freshman-level coursework before graduating from high school. Additionally, the students also take college-readiness classes, such as learning about financial aid and how to choose a major, during their junior and senior years.
“This project grew out of a previous project where we learned about lowering remediation rates of incoming college freshmen, and we wanted to continue that work. The key question we want to explore with this project is: What happens when we bring college curriculum and support to the high school settings?” said Dr. William Kist, a professor in the School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies and College TODAY project director.
The outcomes from the past year look promising. “We are seeing a slight rise in ACT scores, but I think the most rewarding aspect of the project is the kinds of learning communities that we are seeing taking shape at both Ellet and Firestone. We are creating ‘schools within schools’ and the students are seeing the value of the atmosphere we are co-creating with them. Additionally, our pre-service teachers from the Adolescent & Young Adult Education program are enjoying the increased time they are getting to spend in schools working with the students,” said Kist.