About the Practice
Campus visits generally take place year round at BK Law and Tech. There is definitely more of an emphasis during the second semester as students and professors have settled into the academic school year. Last spring we developed a “Spring Campus Crawl”.
During the second term 1-2 campus visits took place each month. We selected and visited a variety of post secondary institutions so that students would have multiple views and experiences. We were able to expose students to an Ivy League (Yale), Historically Black College (Morgan State) , CUNY Community College (Kingsborough Community College) , Private ( UMASS), Test Optional (Hampshire) and a Tech/ Vocational Institution (TCI).
The entire 9th grade teacher team was involved in the process. The ESI Coordinator/ Liaison scheduled and arranged the logistics (admission office paperwork, transportation, food, lodging…) The 9th grade teacher team selected students and set up criteria for traveling. We invited and were able to get parents to accompany students on various visits. For the most part each teacher on the grade team accompanied / chaperoned students on at least one of the campus visits. School Leadership (Principal) also accompanied students on the overnight trip to Massachusetts.
Target Population/Total Students:
During the Spring term we made a concerted effort to mobilize and to expose the scholars in the 9th grade to various campuses. Our goal was to ensure that each 9th grade scholar participated in at least one campus visit. Exposure at an early stage in their high school career is critical. Students who had participated in various school culture days such as “Dress for Success” Wednesday’s, who participated in REAP afterschool tutoring, or who were involved in school service were also offered extra/additional opportunities to participate in ventures such as the overnight college excursion. All in all the majority of 9th graders (approximately 160 students) set foot on a college campus last spring (2013). We have estimated that about 16 males did not attend due long term absences and other factors. (Please see attached speadsheet)
- Scheduling . We found that scheduling visits on the same day was a challenge. We did not want to disrupt many instructional days. It was often difficult to coordinate with colleges admission offices to schedule visits on the same days and time.
- Relevancy: The experience is new for many 9th grade scholars. For many “college” is a far off venture… something they should think about in the 12th grade. We had to ensure that students were attentive to the task and help them to take full advantage of the opportunity and experience.
- Participation: Selecting Students and ensuring that everyone had a chance to participate.
How did school overcome challenges?
Balancing Scheduling We worked closely with the teacher grade team. The team was committed to the idea that students needed to actually see what we were working towards. Our scholars needed to see the goal of college. They needed to speak with students of color on campus. They needed to see and hear what colleges were expecting and requiring of them over the next 3 years.
When at all possible we tried to have trips run on the same day or close to one another so as not to throw off the academic schedule in the classroom. This was a challenge because we were really working with the college admissions office schedules.
Tracking Participation and Selection Criteria: We wanted to ensure all students had the opportunity to explore and visit a campus. To ensure that all or the majority of the scholars got an opportunity to participate the grade level teacher leader (Mrs. Servania) developed a document to track student and chaperone travel. The grade team developed criteria for travel (example …participating in dress for success days, attendance) This made the process transparent for all students.
Relevancy: We needed a way to help capture pertinent information and a means for keeping scholars accountable. We gave each scholar a list of possible questions to ask. We developed a reflection for students to complete at the end of each experience. When at all possible we arranged for our students to meet with students of color on campus and we set up time for students to eat in the campus dining halls.
How did you evaluate that this practice was effective?
Surveys/ Reflection Sheets: At the end of each campus visit we issued a campus rating and reflection sheet. The small reflection asked students to rate the categories such as cost, size, student life…. Scholars were also asked to complete a short written response to see if they could actually see themselves on that particular campus.
Student Voice: We also listened to what themselves students were saying. This year we had our 9th graders present at the 9th grade monthly assembly. Students had to inform other students about the campus they did not visit. Our 10th graders still indentify our ESI program with the campus visits.
How will you continue to sustain this practice?
External Partnerships: The school leadership (Principal) is working on building and renewing key partnerships in both the public and private sectors. The additional funding will allow us to continue to provide opportunities for scholars to explore institutions that are outside of the city limits.
Rewriting the Mission and Vision to Include an Early College Model– Key stakeholders (students, parents, professors, school partners) are meeting in March for the ESI school retreat. During the retreat the team will develop a new mission and vision. The school is currently in motion to have an early college model (grades 13 and 14) with Medgar Evers college. This model will provide students and professors with unique opportunities to collaborate and share resources.
Career Visits/Internships/ Mentorships: Some of the professors have suggested that we start to incorporate career visits. In year 3 we will seek to have students visit career sites to meet and speak with professionals who do what our students want to do. There they can speak to individuals about their specific education paths.
Continue Local Visits: Continue to organize and plan visits in the tri-state vicinity.