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Take Stock in Children welcomes 82 new scholars

Key West, November 9, 2017

Most of us have probably not given much thought to the year 2023. But for a group of seventh grade fortunate and hard-working Monroe County students, the year 2023 just became more significant. That will be the year they walk across the stage at high school graduation having earned access to a 4-year college scholarship from Take Stock in Children. 

Take Stock in Children, the flagship college scholarship and mentor program of the Monroe County Education Foundation, is welcoming a record number of students in grades 7 – 10. Next week, 82 deserving students will sign their Take Stock contract, will be paired with a volunteer mentor, and will begin their journey towards college and career readiness.

“We have a fantastic group of qualified candidates who are ready to join Take Stock in Children and work towards achieving their goal of a college education,” noted Monroe County Education Foundation president Bryan Green. “We are eager to welcome them into our program provided we have mentors.”

Mentoring is a key, vital component of the Take Stock in Children model. “Our mission is to accept all students from income-eligible families with the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college;” said Chuck Licis, TSIC Program Coordinator, “however, we cannot bring new students into the program unless we have a mentor ready to match.”

Licis explained that 49 new TSIC scholars in Key West alone need mentors before they can join the scholarship program. “These students are eager to become Take Stock scholars, so we have had a call-for-mentors leading up to the contract signings.” Mentors only need to give 1 hour a week of their time to make a life-time of difference in a child.

Who can be a mentor?  “Mentors are not tutors or counselors; they are compassionate, caring adults who volunteer their time to meet with a student on campus during the school day once a week for 45 minutes,” program coordinator Chuck Licis explained. “We screen, background check, and train all mentors before pairing them up our Take Stock scholars, and there is a college success coach in each area to assist the mentors and students.”

To learn more about Take Stock in Children Monroe County or if you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact the Take Stock in Children office at 305-293-1546 or by email at chuck.licis@keysschools.com. You are also encouraged to visit our website athttp://www.monroecountyedfound.com.

Take Stock in Children Monroe is entering its 19th year in Monroe County of providing college scholarships to low-income students who meet the academic and income eligibility requirements. Take Stock scholars make a commitment to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average, maintain good attendance and behavior, and meet weekly with a mentor.

Mentors Urgently Needed!

KEY WEST, FL, October 30, 2017 –

Are you ready to make a difference? Take Stock in Children, the flagship college scholarship program of the Monroe County Education Foundation, is ready to welcome a record number of new students provided that enough mentors step forward.

“We have a fantastic group of 77 qualified candidates who are ready to join Take Stock in Children and work towards achieving their goal of a college education. However, if we do not have a volunteer mentor to match with the student, we cannot accept the student into our program,” said MCEF president Bryan Green.

Take Stock needs a minimum of 50 new mentors in the Lower Keys, 15 in Marathon, and 15 in the Upper Keys to pair with incoming Take Stock scholars.

“While our mission is to accept all students who meet the academic and economic eligibility requirements, and who have the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college,” program coordinator Chuck Licis explained, “we can’t bring them into the program without a mentor match.”

Who can be a mentor?  “Mentors are not tutors or counselors. Mentors are caring, compassionate adults who volunteer their time to guide, support, and encourage our Take Stock scholars. It only takes 45 minutes a week during the school year,” Licis explained. “Our mentors are screened and trained before being paired with a student, and we have college success coaches in each area to assist and support our mentors and students.”

Take Stock students are given the ‘chance of a lifetime’ with mentoring in middle and high school followed by the scholarship that pays for four years college tuition and fees. A student is waiting for his or her chance of a lifetime, a college scholarship, but we need your help to make the dream a reality! If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Karla Quintana in the TSIC office at 305-293-1546 or at Karla.Quintana@keysschools.com.

Chuck Licis

Program Coordinator

Take Stock in Children – Monroe


241 Trumbo Road

Key West, Florida 33040

T| 305-293-1546

F| 305-293-1544

How to Help Disadvantaged Students Reach the Middle Class

By Katherine Mangan October 30, 2017 

Austin, Tex.

Gaping opportunity gaps between low-income students and their peers can be plugged only if campuses share data and success strategies, say researchers who gathered here on Monday to kick off a new national effort to help disadvantaged students reach the middle class.

So far, about 200 colleges representing 3.5 million students have signed on to the Collegiate Leaders in Increasing MoBility, or CLIMB, partnership.

The inaugural conference, held at the University of Texas’ flagship campus, brought together higher-education economists, nonprofit groups, and college officials who are all seeking ways to increase college completion rates for underrepresented students.

Policy solutions need to be tailored to specific campuses, and that can’t happen until better data are available and shared, said John N. Friedman, an associate professor of economics and international and public affairs at Brown University. Mr. Friedman, one of the key researchers working on the project, started his presentation with a chart showing the steadily declining percentage of children earning more, when adjusted for inflation, than their parents.

Getting low-income students in the door can be a challenge at a time of widespread skepticism about the value of a college degree.

“In rural North Carolina and rural areas elsewhere, higher education is seen as a way to kill a community,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system and a former education secretary under President George W. Bush. “Sonny or Precious goes off to college never to be seen again.”

First-generation students can also get overwhelmed by the “crazy quilt” of paperwork and requirements they have to navigate through, she said.

Low expectations are another problem. Some educators assume that low-income or minority students either aren’t cut out for or will struggle in college, said John B. King Jr., president of the Education Trust and a former education secretary under President Obama. If their high-school counselor was responsible for 600 students, such students might not have gotten the encouragement they needed to seriously consider college, he pointed out. And without better advising, students and their families are sometimes swayed by anecdotes of acquaintances who had a bad experience with college.

Students from underserved groups might be disillusioned, Mr. King said, if a cousin who served in Afghanistan came back, went to a for-profit college and “now owes a bunch of money he’ll never pay off.”

Or if a next-door neighbor who stopped in and out of community college, juggling kids and schoolwork, finally is ready to transfer to a four-year college, but it won’t accept her credits.

“For those people, higher education doesn’t seem like such a good deal,” he said.

Educators should question the conventional wisdom that most community-college students have too many competing obligations to attend full time, said James B. Milliken, chancellor of the City University of New York.

CUNY’s ASAP program, which provides students with a variety of wraparound supports like extensive advising and bus passes, has been cited as a national model because of its success in improving graduation rates. Skeptics have pointed out that it’s relatively expensive and that many low-income students can’t attend full time.

Avoiding ‘Dead End’ Credentials

Colleges should push to ensure that minority and first-generation students enroll in degrees that lead to jobs with good career prospects and don’t settle for short-term credentials of dubious value, several speakers noted.

While recent studies have questioned the value of many short-term certificates that are the fastest-growing credential at two-year colleges, Zakiya Smith, a strategy director for the Lumina Foundation, said certificates can offer a foot in the door for students who doubt their readiness for college.

“Our goal is not just focused on bachelor’s degrees,” she said. “We want people to get some kind of credential that’s not a dead end.” At the same time, the foundation wants to be sure that minority students don’t end up being tracked into lower-value credentials that could hold them back.

Better data about employment outcomes is key if colleges want to persuade applicants to consider college, Ms. Smith said.

If students are already skeptical about the value of college, they may be reluctant to take out loans, especially as sticker prices keep rising. Financial-aid advising should be tailored to students whenever possible, speakers said. A Latina might be more receptive to taking on debt if her family is present in an advising meeting, while an African-American man might respond better if the counselor is African-American or the advice is delivered by a peer.

Making a dent in the problem of unequal outcomes requires fundamentally rethinking the way colleges serve low-income or minority students, one speaker noted. College rankings reward colleges for their selectivity, so the more students who are turned away, the greater the prestige.

In higher education, “excellence is a function of who you do not admit,” rather than whom you educate, said Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University, one of the nation’s largest public universities, with more than 71,000 undergraduate and graduate students, not counting those studying entirely online.

By 2025, the nation will need 11 million more people with postsecondary credentials, said Daniel Greenstein, director of education and postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Improving success rates among minority and low-income students is essential, he said, “if you want to keep the lights on.”

Students from underrepresented groups tend to perform better at elite colleges, but the overwhelming number of minority and first-generation students attend open- or near-open-access public institutions, speakers noted.

One of the biggest barriers they encounter are algebra requirements, Mr. Greenstein said, a problem that can be alleviated if more colleges embrace alternative math pathways that focus on statistics and other skills that might be more relevant to their majors.

Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, urged audience members to find out how much high-school graduates in their states earn if they don’t go to college. In his state, which has rolled out an assortment of reform efforts, including free tuition and corequisite remediation for all community colleges, the figure is $10,000, he said.

“There’s always someone in a Rotary Club meeting who says not everyone needs to go to college,” he said. Unless, of course, it’s his kid.

Katherine Mangan writes about community colleges, completion efforts, and job training, as well as other topics in daily news. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineMangan, or email her atkatherine.mangan@chronicle.com.


Colleges Ponder: Are Remedial Classes the Best Way to Help?

by Jessica Mendoza

Interesting article with implications for the students we serve.

Ads Spell Out What Career and Technical Education Really Is — and Who It’s For

By Scott Carlson

Given the emphasis that the public puts on getting a job after college graduation, you’d think that something called “career and technical education” would light up the interest of prospective students and parents everywhere. While the career outcomes for a major in gender studies, sociology, or even English or history might seem uncertain, there’s little doubt about what a student in high-demand fields like health sciences, design and construction, hospitality, or manufacturing might do after walking across the stage with a diploma.

But career and technical education — often known by education insiders and policy makers as “CTE” — has an image problem. For starters, many people aren’t sure what it is. And for those students and parents who do have some sense of what CTE means, the connotations aren’t necessarily appealing: It’s a path, some think, for dumb kids who aren’t cut out for college.

Now, the California Community Colleges system is taking on a $6-million public-relations effort to rebrand career and technical education, showing students and parents that CTE is not just preparation for low-paying jobs or geeky, computer-oriented gigs, but a path that includes a range of well-paid, collaborative, hands-on fields. A lack of knowledge about the meaning of CTE was a major barrier to attracting and enrolling more students, says Paul Feist, vice chancellor for communications and marketing for the California Community Colleges system. The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that by 2025 the state may have a shortage of 1.5 million workers with “some college.” (By comparison, that same year the state might have a shortage of 1 million workers with four-year college degrees.)

The system is rolling out a series of television commercials this month with a propulsive drumbeat playing over images of students working in immaculate laboratories, brightly lit clothing-design studios, pastry kitchens, and auto-repair shops. In some versions of the commercials, a voice-over emphasizes unexpected fields in CTE: global trade and logistics, advanced manufacturing, and water and environmental science. In others, slogans in big yellow fonts pop up over the images: “Less Waiting, More Working” and “Less Debt, More Doing.”

In the final moments of the ads, there’s no mention of “career and technical education.” Here, it’s simplified to a term that the community-college system believes is easier to understand: “career education.”

The system’s research showed that only 16 percent of the colleges’ current students were familiar with career and technical education, while 46 percent had either never heard of the term or didn’t know anything about it. Among prospective students, the numbers were even more dismal: More than 60 percent were unfamiliar with the term.

The colleges will still use “career and technical education” for internal communications, Mr. Feist says, but made a conscious decision to cut the word “technical” for the campaign, which was created by Ogilvy & Mather, the public-relations and advertising firm. Research found that students associated “technical” with computer- or engineering-oriented fields, conveying the sense that you have to be good at math or science to get into a CTE program.

“What if you want to learn culinary skills and open a Zagat-rated restaurant in L.A.?” Mr. Feist says. “You might not think of that as ‘career and technical education.’”

“What if you want to learn culinary skills and open a Zagat-rated restaurant in L.A.? You might not think of that as ‘career and technical education.’”

In opting for “career education,” however, the campaign edges close to another sullied term in higher ed: “career college,” the common name for for-profit institutions, some of which have been found to be expensive and predatory, with high loan-default rates among students. Mr. Feist says he and other California Community College officials trust that students understand the difference between the public mission of their institutions and the reputation of the for-profit colleges.

“I don’t think we’re too concerned about bumping up against what proprietary colleges call their offerings,” he says.

Students are fairly familiar with community-college programs that transfer into four-year degrees, Mr. Feist says, but the system wanted to emphasize CTE fields as something that can put students on a fast track to employment and lead to pathways for more education in the future.  

“The message is that these programs lead to good-paying jobs and can help with social mobility in the state of California,” he says. Not all of them are “what many people think of as sort of the dirt-beneath-the-fingernails, blue-collar job in funky working conditions.”

From Vocational Ed to CTE

In part, this perception is a hangover from the history of the term career and technical education, which is itself a rebranding of sorts. CTE emerged in the early 1990s as an update of the old vocational-educational system, says Kimberly A. Green, executive director of Advance CTE, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Vocational education had some problems. First, it was a perceived as a dead end. Vocational-ed programs were training students for specific tasks in specific jobs, and that training was becoming outdated in a labor market that was changing quickly, where jobs were shifting and merging, requiring more rigorous academics. Where vocational education focused on a half-dozen programs, career and technical education included 16 “career clusters” in areas as such as finance, transportation, agriculture, and hospitality.

In the 1980s, studies showed that low-income kids — and particularly those from minority backgrounds — were being pushed off the four-year college track and onto the vocational track, trained for blue-collar work.

“It was a broadening of the mission to really prepare the technician work force in every sector of the economy,” Ms. Green says.

But vocational education also had problems from a race and class standpoint, with practices that were blatantly discriminatory. In the 1980s, studies showed that low-income kids — and particularly those from minority backgrounds — were being pushed off the four-year college track and onto the vocational track, trained for blue-collar work. Those students were informally labeled “dumb” or, more charitably, “not college material.”

Career and technical education still struggles with that image today, even though the training in CTE courses can be academically rigorous. Eight years ago, officials in Nebraska studied perceptions about CTE and found that most state residents thought of career and technical education as a path to “dirty jobs.”

The state rebranded CTE as “Nebraska Career Education.” Rich Katt, state director for Nebraska Career Education, says the new image was almost immediately accepted by the public. In Nebraska schools, he says, curricula had in the past focused on core academics with career education as an add-on if school administrators could find room in the schedule. Today, schools are reorganizing their curricula around career education, and many students see no difference between career-ed and other courses.

‘Not Talking About the Dark Side’

Idaho in the past two years also found that career and technical education had an image problem. Caty Solace, spokeswoman for Idaho Career and Technical Education, says that parents and students saw CTE as something “less than college” and not even a good pathway to college.

“The interesting thing is that the statistics didn’t match up with that at all,” she says. Last year, for example, 63 percent of the students in CTE courses went on to college, compared with 47 percent of students who did not take CTE courses. (Those figures reflect other studies that show that CTE students are much more likely to graduate and enroll in college.)

Her office embarked on a major rebranding effort, visiting the Legislature, taking state officials to technical colleges and schools, and doing events and demonstrations of CTE programs for parents and students. State legislators responded by providing more money for college career-and-technical-education programs, adding 550 slots for students in those programs over the past two years.

“We’re not talking about the dark side anymore. We’re just talking about the enormous opportunities that are available for students.”

“We’re not talking about the dark side anymore,” Ms. Solace says. “We’re just talking about the enormous opportunities that are available for students, showing them the students that have gone before them who are successful, articulate, and already have jobs lined up, even though they are only through with their first year.”

Four-year college has had its own public-image problems in recent years, with high-profile stories about graduates having trouble finding jobs after the recession, and employers complaining that college students aren’t building relevant work skills. Ms. Green and her colleagues were at a presentation at a manufacturing conference recently where a research firm summed up the public’s skepticism about the value of a college degree in a message on a slide: “College doesn’t matter anymore.”

She says that CTE programs are better off if colleges and schools can articulate how their career programs transfer and lead to four-year degrees, since families still value that notion of college.

“There is this general bashing of college right now,” Ms. Green says, “and a lot of people have come to the CTE community and said, ‘Isn’t this great for you?’ It shouldn’t be an either/or. You know that all students need some kind of postsecondary experience — and likely ongoing, if they’re going to be successful.”

Scott Carlson is a senior writer who covers the cost and value of college. Email him at scott.carlson@chronicle.com.

Please join us for graduation

KEY WEST, FL, May 19, 2017 – The Monroe County Education Foundation will recognize the accomplishments and celebrate the graduation of 54 Take Stock in Children scholars on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. in the Marathon High School Auditorium.

This year the foundation is honored to welcome Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie or Ethiopia as the keynote speaker.

Prince Ermias currently serves as the Chairman of the Crown Council of Ethiopia in exile. The Crown Council is the last surviving Imperial Ethiopian deliberative body. The Crown Council has, in exile, pursued a mission devoted to cultural and humanitarian roles, and has no political mission at this time. Through the Haile-Selassie Fund for Children in Need, Prince Ermias has sponsored scholarships for Ethiopian students. His current project includes the Water Initiative for Africa, to bring pure drinking water to the people of Africa while helping to improve their ecological conditions. Prince Ermias has briefed the United States Congress on several occasions.  He has also lectured at universities in the United States and in other parts of the world on African Affairs.

In 1997, Prince Ermias was named recipient of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) Silver Star Award for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress Through Humanitarian Achievement, for his work for Ethiopian Refugees in Africa.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of these dedicated and hard-working Take Stock in Children scholars,” said Monroe County School Superintendent Mark Porter. “And we’re honored that Prince Ermias will be inspiring them as they embark on the next phase of their educational journey.”

Although the stated mission of Take Stock in Children is to provide students with the financial resources to attend college, the Monroe County Education Foundation board continues to focus on providing students with all tools and skills necessary to complete a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Program Coordinator Chuck Licis highlighted the importance of Take Stock’s college and career readiness efforts. “Nearly all of this year’s graduating class is college-ready, meaning they will immediately be enrolling in college-level math, science, and English classes.” Licis added, “We are very proud of our amazing scholars.”

The Monroe County Education Foundation, established in 1996, is a Florida not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and improving the educational experiences of students within Monroe County. In addition to the MCEF flagship program, Take Stock in Children, the foundation provides leadership development opportunities and international travel experiences for qualified Monroe County students. Over 250 students from Monroe County have received scholarships since the program was founded.  For more information about MCEF or to donate, please visithttp://www.monroecountyedfound.org or contact Chuck Licis, program director for TSIC Monroe County at Chuck.Licis@KeysSchools.com

The Monroe County Education Foundation, through its flagship program Take Stock in Children, provides funding, summer educational enhancement opportunities, and mentorship to help Monroe County students achieve their potential. MCEF provides access to higher education for Florida students who are at risk of not attending college or university.  Through the program, MCEF matches at risk students with mentors, guides students in making smart career choices, and guarantees resources so that Monroe County students may complete a college degree or certificate.

Can ‘Guided Pathways’ Keep Students From Being Overwhelmed by Choice?

By Katherine Mangan April 25, 2017

When the Community College of Baltimore County helped spearhead what would become a national movement to streamline community-college graduation requirements into pathways with prescribed course sequences, many faculty members were dubious.

Whose courses would make the cut? What would happen to liberal-arts classes that don’t fit neatly into a career pathway? How would the sequences accommodate part-time students, those needing remedial help, or students seeking transfer to a four-year college?

It was hard to take issue with the argument underlying the trend: that students who are overwhelmed with confusing choices are more likely to drop out.

“We had 151 different majors and a variety of certificates and a dizzying array of developmental education placements,” Mark McColloch, vice president for instruction at Baltimore County, told fellow attendees here on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges.

“If you’re an academic adviser, you might have thousands of combinations of student circumstances presented to you, and it’s very difficult to determine what courses students should take.”

Once persuaded, teams of faculty and staff members streamlined those selections to six academic tracks

They were struck by the data that showed the “horrendous mistakes” students were making in the first term, Mr. McColloch said. Of the 100 transcripts they looked at during one exercise, nearly a third of the students had taken so many wrong courses in their first year that they had already delayed their completion by a semester.

Mr. McColloch’s report, which concluded that the benefits of structured pathways made the hard work of designing them worth it, was one of many at the annual meeting focused on guided pathways. Critics have dismissed the concept as the latest buzzword in a sector besieged by trendy initiatives, but it is quickly gaining a foothold at campuses nationwide. It is supported by a variety of influential nonprofits and foundations focused on improving college completion.

The community-colleges association’s project has created spinoffs in Texas, where higher-education officials hope a statewide focus on structured pathways will lift completion numbers and close the achievement gap between minority and white students. In California, 20 community colleges were selected this month to participate in the California Guided Pathways Project.

A report released last week by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University described the successes and challenges of the 30 colleges from 17 states that are participating in the inaugural phase of the pathways project, begun in 2015.

Most of the participants expect to finish mapping their academic pathways by the end of next month and to have redesigned academic programs and services available to all of their students by the fall of 2018.

“The speed with which the AACC Pathways colleges are moving toward implementing pathways is impressive,” the study concluded. “Equally impressive is that the colleges are ‘going all in,’ planning to make changes in all four practice areas of the guided pathways model rather than approaching the reforms piecemeal.” Those areas include mapping programs of study, helping students choose pathways and stay on them, and making sure that students are meeting learning objectives.

It’s too early to determine what effects these efforts will have on graduation rates, but several college leaders who adopted the approach early on reported promising results in retention and developmental-course completions.

Required Reading

The guided-pathways approach is largely based on the recommendations of a book written by leaders of the Community College Research Center and released in 2015. At some colleges the book, Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, is required reading for everyone connected to the pathway effort.

During the first year of the nationwide guided-pathways project, most of the colleges designed course sequences grouped around career-focused clusters they termed meta-majors. Colleges beefed up advising, sometimes by supplementing their advising crews with faculty members, to help students stay on course.

By the end of their first terms, most students are expected to decide on an academic plan.

The paths are recommended but, depending on the college, not always required. Students can sometimes substitute courses for the ones listed.

“It’s a pathway, not a prison,” said Kay M. McClenney, a senior adviser to the president of the community-college association, who has helped lead the pathway push.

“Most people think this is all about mapping the curriculum, but it’s much more than this,” she said. It also means choosing the right math course depending on a student’s major and, even more importantly, getting people from the academic and student-advising sides working together.

Colleges are sending planning teams to six instructional institutes coordinated by the community-colleges’ association and fielding visits from pathway “coaches” — college administrators whose own campuses are relatively far along in the pathway process.

The problems start long before students enroll, said Tonjua Williams, senior vice president of student services at St. Petersburg College, who is one of 12 pathway coaches.

“Imagine going through a maze just trying to enroll. That’s what happens to our students at the front door,” she said during a session at the conference. “After a while, they say, Forget it; I’m going to one of the for-profits that makes it much easier. All they want is my name and driver’s license.”

San Jacinto College, outside Houston, is one of the colleges she is coaching. It was also one of the first to embrace the pathways approach. The college’s success, Ms. Williams said, is largely due to the fact that the streamlining was driven by faculty members.

Three faculty members first presented the guided-pathways idea to their colleagues. When it came down to deciding whose courses would stay and whose would go, some faculty members resisted. One of the three faculty members, Ms. Williams said, “got beat up pretty bad after the presentation. They felt he’d turned his back on them and gone to the dark side.”

One of the hardest parts of starting the process is facing the depressing data about retention and completion, Ms. Williams said.

“You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are,” she said. “You have to look at the ugly parts of your institution and make changes.”

The coaching process “gets people out of their corners” to work together to solve problems, said another pathways coach, Michael A. Baston, vice president for student affairs at LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York.

Connecting students to solid jobs is key, he said. A central question should be: “Are we setting them on paths that lead to family-sustaining wages, or are we setting up poor people to stay poor?”

New Approach at Ga. State

Georgia State University, a leader in the use of data analytics to improve graduation rates, used to focus on having as many students as possible come in knowing what they wanted to major in.

Studies have shown, though, that students who make that decision during their first year are more successful than those who come in with their minds already set, said Timothy Renick, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Georgia State, which offers both two- and four-year degrees.

Although it isn’t one of the 30 colleges participating in the inaugural project, Arapahoe Community College is creating pathways based largely on the principles the community-colleges association is promoting.

Some faculty members have reacted with alarm to the possibility that their own courses would be cut and that the pathways might give short shrift to the liberal arts.

Lisa Matye Edwards, vice president for student affairs, described a typical reaction: “You’re blowing the liberal arts, Lisa — you’re not letting them wander and choose the way I could when I was in college back in the day.”

Advocates of pathways at Arapahoe changed minds by assembling faculty members around a table with a stack of anonymized transcripts from students who had dropped out. The professors were asked to find a path to graduation for those students. “They were shocked at the courses they had taken,” Ms. Edwards said, and understood the need to help students make better choices.

Technology companies that focus on student success have also been pitching their products to colleges that are trying to channel students into pathways. For instance, Danville Community College is working with EAB’s Navigate system to help students zero in on career goals so that when they declare a pathway and a major, it’s more likely to be one that will stick.

Katherine Mangan writes about community colleges, completion efforts, and job training, as well as other topics in daily news. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineMangan, or email her at katherine.mangan@chronicle.com.

Monroe County Sets a New Record in Study Abroad

Thirty (30) Monroe County scholars will be spending part of their summer in a foreign country, thanks to the Experiment in International Living (EIL) and the generosity of Monroe County donors.  You can read more here.  



Experiment in International Living Announces Essay Winners

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (February 15, 2017)

“We are notifying 15 merit-based scholarship winners who applied to our exclusive essay contest for Monroe County, Florida. These outstanding students have been accepted by The Experiment in International Living to participate in our international cross-cultural programs for summer 2017,” Dr. Aaron Morehouse, Executive Director, announced today. “These students will be traveling to 11 different countries and 12 different programs, and received $20,000 in merit-based scholarships, in addition to $11,000 in need-based financial aid from The Experiment.”

“Congratulations to the 15 winners who excelled in the second year of this exclusive essay contest organized by The Experiment,” Superintendent Mark Porter said. “We are proud of the winners, and The Experiment’s increased commitment to Monroe.” 

Heather Beard, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, explained, “We have more vacancies available in certain programs for additional Monroe students, if they apply right away. I am traveling to The Keys February 21-22, so interested students and parents should contact me directly at 802-258-3412 or at heather.beard@experiment.org.

“The Experiment actively recruits students from Monroe County, Florida, and we were invited to give presentations at Key West High School, Key West Collegiate Academy, Marathon High School, and Coral Shores High School. We also greatly expanded our outreach to Monroe County this year,” Beard said.

The essay contest winners are from four high schools:

Coral Shores High School:

Jamie Ang, Grade 12, Spain: Language and Cultural Traditions

Kaitlin Darrow, Grade 12, Ecuador: The Galápagos Islands and the Andes

Julianne Jankowski, Grade 11, Germany: Contemporary Politics & the European Union 

Halley Lane, Grade 11, Netherlands: Dutch Culture and LGBTQ Rights

Rachelle Magdaong, Grade 11, Korea: Peace Building and Korean Culture

Alyssa Slocumb, Grade 9, Japan: Japanimation—Anime and Manga 

Alejandro Tovar-Morales, Grade 10, Japan: Language and Cultural Traditions

Lucy Trunk, Grade 10, Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Sustainability 

 Key West Collegiate Academy:

Jasmine Fernandez, Grade 11, Tanzania: Coastal and Maasai Cultures

Key West High School:

Emily Conn, Grade 12, Thailand: Buddhist Traditions and Contemporary Culture

Mary Gragg, Grade 11, China: Ethnic Minorities and Contemporary Culture

Morgan Krajanowski, Grade 11, Japan: Japanimation—Anime and Manga

Marathon High School:

Abigail Franck, Grade 10, Germany: Contemporary Politics and the European Union 

Amber Romance, Grade 10, France: French Culture and Regional Identity

John Sheagren, Grade 11, Ecuador: The Galápagos Islands and the Andes

“In addition to the 15 essay winners, The Experiment has three other Monroe County students participating this summer in three other countries through three additional Experiment programs.” 

“One student, Divya Navani, a 9th grader at Key West High School, received a prestigious full scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Only five students nationwide received scholarships from this foundation for our programs, and Divya will participate in our Argentina: Community Service and the Great Outdoors program,” Dr. Morehouse said.

“We also have 36 more applications from students affiliated with Take Stock in Children,” Beard said.

“We’re preparing for about 40 participants from The Keys this summer, so Monroe County has the highest number of students participating than any other county in the U.S., outside of the New York City metro area,” Dr. Morehouse said. 

“Monroe’s students will depart beginning on June 27th in small groups with other curious students from across the U.S. and abroad for a life-changing experience this summer,” according to Dr. Morehouse.

The Experiment in International Living, a program of World Learning, has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers immersive three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in Europe; the Americas; Africa, south of the Sahara; North Africa and the Middle East; and Asia and the Pacific. Students are challenged to explore the host country through hands-on experiences in local communities through the lens of a specific theme, including: sustainability and the environment; arts and social change; language and cultural discovery; leadership training; or peace, politics, and human rights.

“The Experiment in International Living delivers concrete benefits in terms of life experience and professional training” said World Learning President, Carol Jenkins.”


To learn more about The Experiment in International Living, visit www.experiment.org.

To learn more about World Learning, visit www.worldlearning.org.

World Learning is a nonprofit organization advancing leadership through education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries.


Eugene Robinson Speaks to Donors, Mentors, and Students

Eugene Robinson, columnist for The Washington Post and MSNBC contributor, visited Key West on Sunday March 5th and Monday March 6th.  Click here to read about his visit.