Educators, teachers and other organizations promoting school successfulness met yesterday for a symposium hosted by the College of Education titled “Inspire. Incite. Innovate” from 12:30-4 p.m. in Room 200AB of the Student Center.

The symposium consisted of three different breakout sessions, all discussing different issues with the shared goal of sending students to a post-secondary program, and keeping them in those programs.

The breakout sessions were broken down into three topics: cross-sector partnerships for expanding post-secondary opportunities, creating college access pipelines for non-traditional students and best practices for college access, career readiness and success.

A main focus during the breakout sessions and the keynote speakers’ addresses was issues students from low-income homes or first-generation students to attend college face. Discussion also covered how students in these situations should be exposed to college before the ninth grade.

“Ninth grade is just too late,” Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said during her keynote speech.

The greater support of counselors and advisers in schools was another topic of discussion during breakout sessions Councilwoman Brown strongly pleaded for in her keynote speech.

“I am an academic advisor so I can basically help students and guide them for career guidance by helping them prepare for a good major for them with different resources that I learned today,” academic adviser for the College of Public Health Carmella Trippett-Blanks said.

A representative from the College Board attended this symposium and discussed how the College Board is making changes to its tests so they may be more interesting and reflect a student’s knowledge.

“We have best practices on what works, and we have best practices on what we shouldn’t try [in cross-sector partnerships],” said Christina Wood, a panelist and director of public advocacy for Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling, during the breakout session.

“College success is looking like this: last week [Murrell Dobbins CTE High School students] went on a college tour to Cheney and Lincoln and the ambassadors who toured our students were recent graduates, talking to their just-recent classmates about the opportunities that they had, internships, things like that,” Principal of Murrell Dobbins CTE High School Dr. Toni Damon said during the college readiness, success and retention breakout session. “That’s what success is looking like.”

“We are still not preparing students academically to be ready to do college level work,” said Tom Butler, a panelist and director for advancement and operations of Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable. “College access programs that are focused around college fit, selection, financing college alike—I think we need to find and address programs that holistically help the student stay on campus.”

Author: 
Gillian McGoldrick