Title

Promoting college access for at-risk high school students in Central Florida: A community-based intervention model.

First Presenter's Institution

Valencia College

Second Presenter's Institution

Valencia College

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Westbrook

Strand #1

Family & Community

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Our proposal relates most strongly to strand #5, Home: Family & Community. Over the past year, The Valencia Promise-Take Stock in Children program staff has worked to cultivate and sustain relationships with (1) our students and their parent(s)/guardian(s); (2) mentors from the community who work individually with our students; (3) businesses and non-profit organizations that have provided scholarships, grant-funded career explorations experiences, volunteer events, and networking opportunities for our students; and (4) high school counselors, principals, and Valencia College staff who have helped our students overcome personal and academic challenges that were preventing them from reaching their goals. As we begin our second year of program development and growth, we have already seen an increase in our students’ academic achievement, increased involvement from parents and guardians, and higher satisfaction ratings from mentors and our community partners.

Brief Program Description

In this interactive session, audience members – which can include high school and college personnel and those interested in higher education advocacy - will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and rewards of building partnerships in their community that are focused on increasing college access for at-risk high school students. We will also explore ways in which other institutions that are underrepresented in these types of prevention initiatives can become active in drop-out prevention.

Summary

For the past eight years, Valencia College has partnered with Take Stock in Children, a non-profit organization in Florida, to provide at-risk students with resources to break the cycle of poverty through education. Since 2012, this partnership has provided Florida prepaid scholarships to 125 students, with 14 of these students having earned their baccalaureate degree to date. This presentation will discuss our program model, which encompasses scholarship, mentorship, civic engagement, and professional leadership development, and how our program’s success has been supported by the participation of various members of the community including educators, government officials, business leaders, and law enforcement.

Evidence

In June 2016, our team assembled to build a prevention program for at-risk high school students in Orange County Florida with the goal of increasing the likelihood that these students would graduate from high school and attend college. The foundations for this program were provided by our non-profit partner, Take Stock in Children, which over the past 21 years has used an evidence-based model consisting of parent/guardian support, mentorship, and college success coaches to equip students with the tools to succeed in their courses, form trusting relationships with peers and adults, and spark a true enjoyment of learning. To reinforce these strategic outcomes, our team built upon this model to include professional leadership development and civic engagement as core components.

During the 2016-17 school year, we tracked success based upon student grades, GPA, attendance, senior high school graduation rate, and college admission/attendance rate. We found that:

· 83% of students (n=101) either increased their GPA between the first and second semester, or maintained a GPA across these semesters that ranged from 2.5 to 4.0.

· 34% of 93 students increased Math Grade from 1st to 4th quarter; 25% of 89 students increased English Grade from 1st to 4th quarter.

· The average school attendance rate of all students was 93%. This is up from 91% during the 2015-16 school year.

· 100% of high school seniors (n=24) graduated in 2017. This is up from 93% in 2016.

· 100% of high school seniors enrolled in college in 2017. This is up from 91% (n=28) in 2016.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Kelly Astro has almost 20 years of educational program administration, teaching, training and curriculum development in the areas of leadership, at-risk youth, college access, career preparation, civic engagement and social responsibility. Kelly currently serves as the Director of the Valencia Promise-Take Stock in Children program at Valencia College and is leading the significant expansion and re-design of the scholarship and mentorship based program for high school students. Following her time as a fourth grade teacher, Kelly attended Drexel University and receive her master’s degree in education. She took on the role of director of service learning, leadership and The Drexel Experience and created a first year experience course with a service learning field placement in 110 Philadelphia public schools in partnership with Junior Achievement which turned into the largest partnership of its kind in country. Kelly took on the role of director of research and civic engagement for the Burnett Honors College at the University of Central Florida. During her tenure at UCF, Kelly developed a service learning program for all Honors freshmen, re-designed and taught the first year experience course, created a robust volunteer program that served students across the entire university. During her time working in K-13 education, Kelly has raised over $2,500,000 to support the programs she developed. Kelly has been asked to present at over 25 national and international conferences and has taught with the UCF LEAD Scholars Academy, College of Education and Human Performance and Valencia College New Student Experience.

Denise N. Crisafi received her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida (2016). She is currently serving as an advocate and coordinator for the Take Stock in Children program in Orange County, Florida, which is a non-profit organization focused on assisting disadvantaged youth overcome personal and economic circumstances that could complicate their access to quality higher education. Her research interests are in the areas of interpersonal violence, criminal justice responses and policies toward intimate partner violence, and prevention program design, implementation, and evaluation.

Keyword Descriptors

mentoring, at-risk, parental involvement, community partnerships, advocacy, volunteers, funding

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-5-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2018 4:15 PM

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Mar 5th, 3:00 PM Mar 5th, 4:15 PM

Promoting college access for at-risk high school students in Central Florida: A community-based intervention model.

Westbrook

In this interactive session, audience members – which can include high school and college personnel and those interested in higher education advocacy - will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges and rewards of building partnerships in their community that are focused on increasing college access for at-risk high school students. We will also explore ways in which other institutions that are underrepresented in these types of prevention initiatives can become active in drop-out prevention.