Guest post by Tom Forbes, a Technical Assistance Coach partnering with KnowledgeWorks early college high schools.
We lose so many students between the end of their senior year of high school and the beginning of their freshman year of college because there is no one there to help bridge the gap.
Imagine this scenario:
A freshman is attending a 120 person lecture class at a university. They had to know how to behave, how to get help from a TA … and know what a TA is. At the end of one class session, the professor asks students to turn in their papers on their way out. Many students don’t turn anything in. Why? Because on day one of class students were handed a syllabus that described the midterm, final and paper that made up the class grade, and those assignments were never brought up again.
That framework of a class, so standard at the college level, is brand new to high school students. Without any support, they are set up for failure.
At an early college high school, our students are high school students but they attend college classes and are held up to the same expectations of college students. Part of our job at the early college high schools is to help support students so they succeed in both the high school and college environments. We provide so many supports to make sure students succeed and those supports take all shapes. We teach students what a TA is and how to get help from them. We make sure students understand what a syllabus is, how to read one and how to manage their time and complete assignments on time. We help students recognize college behavioral norms such as how to behave in class, how to move from class to class on time and how to seek support on campus.
Our goal is that when an early college high school student leaves us, they have the skills and tools necessary to succeed. At KnowledgeWorks early college high schools, that is happening.