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SSYP’s new College Success program will help us do a better job of supporting our graduates as they transition into college. Because twelve of our alumni currently attend Bunker Hill Community College, the school, was a natural choice to be a program partner. Our goal is to create a cohort model, similar to that of the Posse Foundation, where students can utilize each other as resources during the what is typically a very challenging year for Boston Public School graduates. Since many of our alums hope to transfer to four-year schools, we also hope to support them in those efforts.
Anna Rodriguez (an alum in her second year at Tufts University) and I met with Julita Bailey, the Senior Special Programs Coordinator at Bunker Hill. Julita has years of experience working with first-generation students and oversees the ACE mentoring program. ACE is “committed to helping new students make a successful transition to Bunker Hill Community College by focusing on academic achievement, engagement, and cultural competency.”
Our next step is to have Bunker Hill students come to an alumni event at St. Stephen’s, where Julita will help them learn more about campus resources and the transfer process. But that is just the beginning. Soon we will go to Benjamin Franklin Institute to meet with their academic advisors and the three SSYP alums who attend the school.
Posted by: Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory, College and Career Program Coordinator
For young people in the neighborhoods we serve, earning a high school diploma is a huge hurdle. Last year, for a second year in a row, all nineteen of our seniors graduated from high school. That was amazing, given the fact that only about a third of their public school peers who enter high school achieve that goal. Their success reflects a lot of hard work on their part and a lot of support from us — one-on-one mentoring, academic enrichment, and college counseling. They all headed off with great plans for this fall.
For some time, we have known that getting into college is only the first hurdle. As we hear from from our alumni, making it through college is very difficult for young people who graduate from Boston Public Schools (BPS). In fact, The Boston Foundation reported that college completion rates among BPS graduates are almost as low as the district’s high school graduation rates.
Some teens experience “summer melt” and drop out before they actually enroll in college. Others become discouraged early on when faced with remedial coursework, overwhelming debt, and lack of support. Sometimes, students who are used to being portrayed as “success stories” in their communities drop out without telling anyone they are experiencing difficulty, embarrassed about not being able to meet the goals they have set for themselves.
The Success Boston College Completion Initiative was created to change the conversation from college access to college success. Based on their model, this year our mentoring program will include college students and we are developing an alumni support program to connect students with other SSYP alums, and campus resources.
If you are interested in being involved in this program please contact Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory.
Posted by Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory, Massachusetts Promise Fellow, College and Career Program Coordinator