In addition to taking time to unplug and relax during the summer months, students from across the network pursued opportunities to plan for their postsecondary endeavors by participating in educator-led college and career readiness (CCR) academies. Building on the success of Grade 9 summer bridge programs, schools across the RISE Network have now expanded their summer programming to reach upperclassmen, ensuring all high school students graduate with a well-matched and personalized postsecondary plan. Despite the virtual context this past spring and summer, students and educators made this year’s CCR academies a big success. RISE checked in with students and educators from across the network to learn how summer CCR programs helped them prepare for their next steps.
Across the RISE Network: Social Media Gets the Word Out
Students were often notified via social media platforms of the postsecondary opportunities their high schools were offering. Counselors used social media to help kickstart college application campaigns this summer.
Manchester High School: Students Share their Perspectives
Students in Manchester came together this summer to work with English teachers on their personal narratives, which will serve as the basis for students’ college essays and cover letters. A rising senior at Manchester High School begrudgingly attended the programming with some persuasion from her mother. She stated her reason for attending was, “My mom. I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of dreading doing this but I’m like so glad she made me do it.” The student found such value in the program, she went on to say that she would recommend this program to a friend by telling them, “Dude you really need to do this, it is really helpful…they’re super nice teachers, too.”
Middletown High School: College Essays Receive an Extra Boost
Students at Middletown High School have historically worked on the Common Application. However, for the first time ever, they also incorporated the support of English teachers to assist students with refining their college essays. In past years, this program was facilitated by one school counselor. This year, staffing increased to five counselors and three English teachers. In addition, enrollment also drastically increased! Last year, the program serviced 45 students in twelfth grade. The program was expanded this year to incorporate opportunities for students in eleventh and twelfth grade, with a total of 241 participating students!
Maloney and Platt High Schools (Meriden): Educators Capitalize on Hybrid Learning
Similar to other schools, leaders of the College Prep Academy programs at Meriden’s Maloney and Platt High Schools adjusted how they supported participating students with their college essays. Program coordinators made the most of the hybrid format, prioritizing in-person time for teaching students about the college application process and pointers for writing strong essays, and at-home time for students to independently draft and edit essays. During the program’s two remote days, students also had individual coaching sessions over Google Meets with teachers and counselors who staffed the program and served as essay experts.
East Hartford High School: Students See the Impact
Educators adjusted this year’s program to include components delivered both in person and online, and 100% of EHHS participants responded that this programming was a valuable experience, despite having to give up some of their precious summer vacations. One student stated, “The College Bootcamp is very beneficial, and I’m progressing rapidly.” Another student stated, “I finally have a grasp on how to apply to colleges, both in the U.S. and out of it, and I’ve set up my Common App so the only thing I have remaining, is to choose what colleges I want to go to/what would be best for me. This program has also instilled in me that whenever I need college help that there is always somebody to help me.”