In a previous post, Marlene Darwin of the Doing What Works Initiative introduced their new online resource, Helping Students Navigate the Path to College. This is one in a series of follow up posts describing the content of that resource. In order to ensure all students are academically prepared to graduate high school and enter postsecondary education, many students need support in selecting courses throughout high school that will academically prepare them for college or career and technical education. The first recommendation from the Doing What Works website, under the topic “Helping Students Navigate the Path to College,” is to prepare students academically. The website offers a multimedia presentation on Academic Preparation for College that outlines key actions that schools and districts can take to prepare students for postsecondary education. The Learn What Works section provides information on the research base that supports these actions. There are three key concepts supported by research:
- Implement a curriculum that prepares all students for college and offers opportunities for college-level work. In the video, Getting Students to Think for Themselves, an English teacher illustrates the ways that his high school incorporates rigor into its curriculum.
- Ensure that students understand what constitutes a college-ready curriculum. At University Park High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, the school has redesigned its senior year to better prepare students for college. Watch Senior Year Redesign and view the sample material, The Senior Year: Smoothing the Transition to College.
- Work with each ninth grader to develop a four-year course trajectory that leads to fulfilling a college-ready curriculum. Listen to the audio interview, Assigning Students to the Right Classes, in which the chair of a large comprehensive high school talks about the school's process for scheduling students in the right academic classes to prepare them for college.
- How can I engage staff in developing a schoolwide plan to ensure our students are academically prepared for college?
- How can I make sure our students are prepared for college-level work?