The College Today Program consists of four main elements:
1. College curriculum in English and math leveled to the needs of the student and delivered by adjunct faculty during the school day.
We believe that the major strength of College Today is that it delivers leveled college curriculum, with supports, to the participating students during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years onsite at the students’ high schools (Ellet and Firestone) during the school day, every day. This curriculum will be delivered during the school day instead of the high school English and math classes the students traditionally take. College Today curriculum will be delivered onsite each day by Kent State adjunct faculty members—one in math and one in English.
Another key component of this curriculum and instruction is that, while it will be college-level curriculum, the English and math curriculum will be completely differentiated and leveled to the students. Each student will create an online digital portfolio of his or her work with weekly assessments and regular one-on-one conferencing to ensure that progress is occurring appropriate to that individual student’s plan towards becoming college ready.
At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, each student will take the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) in hopes of earning the minimum score for course credit. CLEP scores are accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities. For more information, see the following website: https://clep.collegeboard.org/
2. Six administrations of the ACT test
Students will take the ACT test six times—three in the junior year and three in the senior year with the goal of reaching remediation-free levels.– 18 for Reading, and 22 for Math
3. Ample supports from tutors/coaches and pre-service teachers from Kent State University concentrating on so-called “Third Space” interventions in one-to-one and small groups
Each student will be supported not only by the differentiated instruction provided by the Kent State instructor, but also by Academic Intervention Directors, one from English — English Academic Intervention Director (EAID) and one from math — Math Academic Intervention Director (MAID). These directors will, in effect, be co-teachers, trained in intervention in English and math, who will be onsite to provide scaffolding and interventions as needed.
Our project is rooted in a “Third Space” theoretical framework that places an emphasis not only on academic assistance but also on regular mentoring that focuses on helping the student to link their out-of-school and in-school literacies to optimize academic success. College Today will include support offerings such as: team and relationship building, financial literacy and financial aid, college transition and preparation, writing scholarship essays, understanding GPA and adhering to a high school college academic plan, choosing and admission to an institution of higher learning, career selection and readiness, organizational skills and planning. In the summer of 2016, a Summer Summit Camp will take place on the campus of Kent State University, offering additional academic support, a service learning project and social activities. Each student will have an opportunity to meet with a Kent State University admissions counselor and will have the option to complete their application with the fee paid for through the grant. This summit will also give the students an opportunity to interact with current college student mentors to further expose them to the college environment. The mentoring activities will extend into the evening with planned educational and social events.
4. Use of Technology
Students in College Today will be exposed to the most current forms of online instruction in use in higher education. Use of an online learning management system (LMS) yet to be identified (i.e., Blackboard) will allow for frequent feedback to be provided to students in the areas of writing and math. Each student will get more frequent feedback on his or her writing and math work as well as help with Third Space issues not only from College Today team members, but also from pre-service teachers at Kent State University. Teacher education faculty in both areas (English education and math education) will be working on the project to be liaisons between the College of Education at Kent State and the personnel involved in the project.