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3 Southwestern Institutions Win CollegeKeys Innovation Award
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Our Lady of the Lake University and Klein Forest High School in Texas, as well as the University of Central Oklahoma, have been honored as regional winners of the first CollegeKeys Compact™ Innovation Awards.
The winners have initiated innovative, effective best practices that help low-income students get ready for, 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.”
Three exceptional initiatives — one each in the categories of Getting Ready, Getting In and Getting Through — received special recognition at the Southwestern Regional Forum Feb. 3–5 in Austin, Texas.
Our Lady of the Lake University was honored in the Getting Ready category for its College Conexion program, which works with low-income, primarily first-generation Hispanic high school students in two high-risk, economically disadvantaged school districts in San Antonio. These students are brought to the university campus during the school day once or twice a month for training sessions that provide tools and strategies that increase the students’ resiliency, enhance their individual talents and hone their academic skills. This initiative empowers students and their parents by improving the quality of their lives within the education system and their communities.
Klein Forest High School in Houston was awarded the prize for a Getting In innovation. The school has hosted a Sophomore Summit for the past three years in collaboration with the North Harris County branch of the American Association of University Women, community business partners and senior citizen volunteers. The summit’s goals are to establish the expectation that all students are capable of success; promote college aspirations for students from low-income backgrounds; increase participation in AP® courses and the number of students taking AP Exams; increase awareness of college admission policies and financial aid resources; and show students the benefits of good time management and study skills.
The University of Central Oklahoma was honored in the Getting Through category for its Compass Learning Community. The initiative helps first-year students with low entrance exam scores and an unclear academic focus find the right direction for success. Students with identified risk factors participate in this community. They live together, take the same classes, and are offered weekly supplemental tutoring and instruction opportunities. Additionally, they are connected with committed faculty and a full-time staff member — the Learning Communities coordinator — who meets with students monthly, advising and mentoring them to facilitate their success.
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 following Southwestern Regional Forum institutions are also commended by the College Board for effective initiatives within the region, and recognized for their continued efforts for low-income students:
- College Forward, Texas
- Oklahoma City Community College
- University of North Texas
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.