REVISED: One of the major focuses of schoolwide and district improvement plans is to graduate students college and career ready. When reviewing data for planning and goal setting for the 2017/18 school year, we noticed a gap with regard to our ELL Level 1 students (students who speak little or no English) having the opportunity to access concurrent enrollment (CE) classes. In fact, we saw that zero Level 1 students were able to take advantage of enrolling in CE classes at ALHS. We also used research based decision making to drive our closing the gap goal, interventions and activities. Research shows, from the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) for example, that there are “positive benefits of concurrent enrollment on college degree attainment, college access and enrollment, college credit accumulation, completing high school, and general academic achievement in high school.” Thus, we created our closing the gap counseling goal around supporting Level 1 students with accessing CE classes from 0 to 30 students.
Our focus at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year was to educate all students, including Level 1 students, about Financial Literacy and the College and Career Readiness (CCR) opportunities at ALHS. We delivered a CCR advisement presentation and included Financial Literacy in our beginning of the year Grade Level Meetings for 9th-11th grade students. Embedded in our school wide initiatives about increasing all students knowledge and awareness about Financial Literacy and CCR opportunities at ALHS included a detailed explanation of not only what each opportunity entails but how it benefits students with becoming postsecondary ready.
We then identified our target cohort of 30 ELL Level 1 students by collaborating with our in building instructor who teaches the college level Spanish CE class. She supported us with choosing students who would be appropriate for the college level classes. We supported these students with 6 Individual Planning Sessions and also with registering for and taking the CLEP exam. If students received a 63 or higher on the CLEP exam, they were able to enroll in Spanish CE classes. Below is an outline of what was included in the 6 Individual Planning Sessions:
Pre-test about Financial Literacy and knowledge and awareness of CCR opportunities at ALHS. We chose to include Financial Literacy in our pre/post test because we believe if students feel they have options to afford college, they are more likely to enroll in college classes in high school (M 2)
Educating the 30 students about the opportunities that exist, how they benefit students, and processes and procedures in order to access them (M 4)
Student contract meetings including how on track to graduate status, grades, attendance, and behavior support or affect students ability to access and be successful in CE classes (B-SMS 1)
Supporting students with registering for the CLEP exam
Supporting students with registering for CE Spanish classes
Post-test about Financial Literacy and knowledge and awareness of CCR opportunities at ALHS (M 2)
All 30 of our target group of students received a 63 or higher on the CLEP Exam and were able to enroll in Spanish CE classes. 30 ELL students earned 90 credits through the CE Spanish classes.
The data shows that our closing the gap interventions were successful. Financial Literacy and CCR knowledge and awareness increased which translated into more students, including Level 1 students, enrolling in and passing CE classes.
Other implications of our closing the gap goal included teachers reporting supporting Level 1 students taking CE classes and students self confidence with regard to postsecondary planning increasing due to enrolling in CE classes. They felt enrolling in CE classes and receiving a college readiness score on the CLEP exam supported them with feeling more confident about the opportunity of attending a 2 year or 4 year college upon graduation from high school as well. Because of the success we saw with these interventions, they will continue into next school year.
Changes planned for the closing the gap initiative moving forward include:
More advertising and awareness about ELL students having the opportunity to take Spanish CE classes to support with increasing the number of ELL students taking CE classes
Strategic planning with regard to ELL students taking advantage of the CLEP test
Focusing more interventions on the cohort of ELL students who are taking CE classes to support with increasing the number of ELL students who are successful in CE classes
Collecting data more accurately by focusing on student motivators to enroll in CE classes to create more targeted interventions.