College access is an integral component for student access to the Common Core Curriculum for college and career readiness. According to the National Center for Education Statistics "63 % of low-income students and 62 % of african-american students attend college, juxtaposed to their high-income peers at 83 % and asian peers at 87 %" (NCES, 2017). Therefore, for many of my students, who will be first generation college students, planning and participating in college tours is a fundamental component for learning and access.
Access #3: College Access
In the fall of 2017, in accordance with American Education students in my classroom took a walking field trip to participate in a 'Bear Tour' at Morgan State University. During the week students listened to staff, faculty, teachers speak about college experiences, relating to issues of access during our morning Freedom & Democracy meeting. Through the collective shared college experiences of staff members college became more accessible to students. On Friday, November 17th, 2017 students and families toured the largest historically and predominantly black college in the area, Morgan State University, to become more familiar with the process and begin to visualize themselves on campus.
Staff, Faculty, and Teachers College Experiences
In October 2017 Professional Development, we as a staff were encouraged to share our college story. Inspired by the myriad of college experiences we had in the room, following professional development, I asked our principal, if staff members could share their college experiences with the school during our Freedom & Democracy morning meeting. The principal approved and affirmed the idea and I sent the email below to organize staff participation throughout the week.
College Access Teacher Series
To begin American Education Week or college access week at NACA I, students watched the trailer of Monsters Inc. University. The trailer encouraged students to become excited and intrigued about the college experience. The trailer also captured how fun and exciting college can be and the different challenges one might encounter on a college campus.
To visually capture students attention, I created a power point titled, American Education Week: College Access. The power point was displayed behind each teacher as he or she shared about his or her college experience with the school. In the initial e-mail, I asked staff members sharing to send over an pictures he or she wanted to share with our school community, in addition to his or her words about their college experience. Staff members sent over images and I added the images to the power point to capture the different forms of opportunity college provides.
Each teacher's college access story challenged the singular narrative many students encounter when thinking about college. The diversity of college attendance and stories shared within the five staff members presented outside college-specific opportunities to students, which each staff member encouraged students to work hard in school and take advantage of those opportunities to come. The two college perspectives shared by myself, a Colby College alumni, and my colleague who attended Ohio University motivated students to attend colleges not regionally obvious and readily available to students schema, such as Morgan State University, Towson University and Loyola University all within a fifteen minute radius of our school.
Above is a short clip of the college access speech, I shared. The written speech is shared below. Students were excited and engaged as I shared about attending college in a cold but rewarding school in central Maine.
Ms. Bazinet-Phillips' College Access Speech:
As a first generation college student, a student with a mother or father who did not complete college my college experience ensured the development of personal grit and founding. In middle school, I knew I was athletically talented and chose to focus on a sport, ice hockey. I chose to go to Colby College in Waterville, Maine the most northern part of the US because it was a small liberal arts college, which held high expectations of its students academically and socially, similar to NACA I and it was a place where I would be athletically and academically challenged.
College in Maine was cold and my favorite space on campus was the third floor of the Miller library. As a double major in Education: schools, society and culture and Government, I often spent time studying on the third floor of Miller dreaming about my classroom of students and implementing pedagogical teaching or a classroom, in which all students would be successful and have access to an excellent education. The girl in the picture is my roommate she is also a teacher in Philadelphia. This picture illustrates a time when we skied on campus together. That's how much snow we would get!
My most proud accomplishment in college is my facilitate a more warm and welcoming ice surface to all Colby students. Throughout my career at Colby I worked closely with a professor (a teacher) to design a course and out reach programs extending from our campus club CCOR OR 'CAMPUS CONVERSATIONS ON RACE', encouraging access to the ice, which I skated on.
Off Colby campus, I had the awe-inspiring opportunity to study abroad. I had the opportunity to see things, which I only had read about as student. I loved having all the different things, which I had read and dreamed about as kid come to life in my travels. I also got to learn from students with different life experiences and university educations from all around the country.
College was an awe-inspiring experience and encouraged me to take responsible risks and to continue value superior academics and character, which I work to instill in our students.
At the end of American Education week and staff college access presentations, students concluded their learning with two videos: A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students Teaser(video on the left) and College Kid President: Pep Talk: NCC 2013 Student Leadership Awards(video on the right). The first video "A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students Teaser" is reinforcing the multidimensional narrative of college attendance sharing there is not one way students arrive at college and complete college attendance. The summary video shared, "College Kid President Pep Talk: NCC 2013 Student Leadership," encouraged students to attend college to contribute and make an impact in his or her community. Students left morning meeting inspired and thinking about, which college he or she would like to attend and how she or he will make an impact in the world.
Fourth Grade Scholars' "Why College?" Statements
In addition to staff stories in the morning, as a class, we began exploring college and why a student chooses to attend college following high school. In our classroom, we listened to podcasts and read articles about college achievement and admission rates. Students used this information to compose a statement in their writing journals, "Why College?"
Morgan State Campus Tour
In October 2017, I scheduled a campus tour online for students and families with Morgan State University. Below are the artifacts of reminders of my scheduled reservation sent by the Morgan State admissions office.
On Friday, November 17th, 2017, students took a walking field trip to the largest predominantly and historically black college in Maryland. Morgan State University has a comprehensive elementary college tours, which encourages young fourth-grade scholars to become familiar with the college process. The permission slip for the Morgan State University Campus Tour Walking Field Trip is displayed below.
Before dividing the fourth grade class into two group students participated in a question and answer activity with two Morgan State Students. During this time, the tour guides gathered students knowledge of Morgan State University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, additionally the Morgan State students answered any questions presented by the fourth grade scholars. During the question and answer, students learned that Morgan State has been open for 150 years.
At the beginning of the tour, our tour guide a sophomore engineering student at Morgan State University taught our young fourth grade scholars a Morgan State Chant to get them excited to see the school. The chant the students learned and are saying in the video is displayed below:
"We are the bears..WHAT...we don't take no mess....WHAT....we get mad in a minute...WHAT..we'll stomp you in your chest.............WHAT DID YOU SAY. .......We are the bears......WHAT.......we dont take no mess.....WHAT...we get mad in a minute.....WHAT......we'll stomp you in your chest.....WHAT DID YOU SAY"
During the chant students began to learn about the school spirit at Morgan and the importance of the mascot the bear. Throughout the tour, the tour guide would return to this chant by stating "Bear Down," when signalling to students it was time to listen.
Morgan State University is an university partner of Northwood Appold Community Academy I (NACA I) and located approximately five minutes away from our school building. Despite, these two facts many students before our college tour had not considered attending Morgan State for college or walked on Morgan State's campus. The tour of Morgan State University made college a more accessible reality for students. After the 'Bear Tour' students easily envisioned themselves as students on campus.
By attending the Morgan State University 'Bear Tour' students participated in a college access opportunity. The college tour created a point of reference for students as avid participants in a college and career readiness curriculum. Moreover, the tour encouraged my students to take advantage of opportunities provided at Morgan State University. From this process and the college access series, during our morning and Freedom & Democracy meeting, students learned there are many different ways to experience, apply and attend college. Not all staff member stories shared were regionally obvious or readily available college access story patterns. Additionally, through in classroom research and discussion students learned the importance of college and began sculpting their own college vision and goals in the process moving forward. In this access example, students became apart of the college process, and started an active dialogue about application and attending college.
Izac, D. (2013, May 28). Retrieved November 21, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbqkHUByVso
(2014, August 22). K-State College of Education. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-nosalDTac
(2017, March). National Center for Educational Statistics. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cpa.asp