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2 New England Institutions Win CollegeKeys Innovation Award
Thursday, April 1, 2010
South Portland High School in Maine and Eastern Connecticut State College have been honored as regional winners of the first CollegeKeys Compact™ Innovation Awards.
The winners have initiated innovative, effective practices that help low-income students get ready, get into and get through college. Each winner receives a $5,000 award to be used to expand or sustain its program.
College Board President Gaston Caperton said, “The College Board’s CollegeKeys Compact Innovation Award winners are to be congratulated for the difference they have made in the lives of students. Their innovative programs will serve as models so that others, by adopting these successful strategies, will be able to help more students successfully pursue a college education.”
These exceptional initiatives — one each in the categories of Getting Ready and Getting In — received special recognition at the New England Regional Forum Feb. 8–9 in Boston.
South Portland High School was honored in the Getting Ready category for its Real Life program for sophomores. The program introduced all sophomores to the career and college planning process. The students go on visits to three schools: a two-year, a four-year public, and a four-year private college. The goal of the trip is not to have students select a specific college, but rather to expose them to the different types of colleges, including large, small, public, private, urban and rural. Since implementing the program, the school’s college-going rate has increased from 65 to 85 percent.
Eastern Connecticut State College was awarded the prize for a Getting In innovation. Its Dual Enrollment Initiative serves severely economically disadvantaged inner-city students who do not have a high school record that would allow regular admission to Eastern. It allows them to enroll as full-time students at Quinebaug Valley Community College, located within walking distance from Eastern, while they live in Eastern’s residence halls and integrate into the campus cultural and residential life. Participating students are recruited with the help of counselors from Hartford Public High School. Their room and board is paid for with grant funds in the first semester while they are taking one course at Eastern and four courses at Quinebaug.
The Innovation Awards celebrate some of America’s most powerful efforts to improve the academic success of students from low-income backgrounds. Many of the best practices can be replicated, adapted and expanded in other education settings to promote policies and practices that have far-reaching impact for low-income students who need help to get ready for, get into and get through college.
The CollegeKeys Compact was launched in October 2007 following a two-year review of independent research, policy and practices in academic preparation and planning, admission, financial aid, and retention. A report issued by the College Board found that nearly one-half of all low- and moderate-income high school graduates who are qualified to go to college do not enroll in a four-year college program because of a combination of poor preparation, low expectations and financial barriers. The goal of Compact participants is to see that students from low-income backgrounds are represented in, and graduate from, colleges and universities at the same rate as their more affluent peers.
For more information about joining the CollegeKeys Compact, or to learn more about the CollegeKeys Compact Innovation Awards, please visit www.collegeboard.com/collegekeys.