Saturday, January 19, 2008

NY Times: Brighton High School College Preparatory Program Successful

The New York Times ran a front-page story Thursday featuring the recent success of Brighton High School in not only getting more urban students to graduate, but in preparing them for -- and then getting into -- college:
Those efforts, and others across the country, reflect a growing sense of urgency among educators that the primary goal of many large high schools serving low-income and urban populations — to move students toward graduation — is no longer enough. Now, educators say, even as they struggle to lift dismal high school graduation rates, they must also prepare the students for college, or some form of post-secondary school training, with the skills to succeed...
At Brighton High in Boston, for the first time this year, John Travers, the head of counseling, and his staff visited every freshman English class to begin mapping out the steps toward college: Maintaining a high grade point average. Taking tough classes. Building a résumé...

In 2005, 74.2 percent of the graduating seniors went on to post-secondary education: of those, 56 percent went to four-year colleges, 33 percent to two-year schools and 11 percent to advanced training, Mr. Travers said. The colleges at the top of the list: Bunker Hill Community College, the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Massachusetts Bay Community College.
A couple of comments posted online by readers:
I don't understand how anyone can defend lowering expectations for some of our students. In my view, that has been the problem for far too many years. Perhaps some students will fail, but we degrade them by not holding them to the same standards of excellence that we expect of our best and our brightest.
— Ken Schwarz, New York City

College is not being presented as the only option, nor is it being propositioned as a definite. The point of early college awareness is to tell ALL students, regardless of their socioeconomic situations or neighborhoods, that if they want to go and if they work hard enough, they can go to college. It becomes a possibility. In a country where we harp on the idea that opportunity comes with hard work, we should allow everyone the possibility to have as many options or ideas for their own futures as possible. Presenting college as an option in no way negates the option of trade school or the military; it merely broadens the way students can think about their lives and what they want for themselves. I find it appalling that we should limit and stifle the conversation about higher education in order to keep our workforce in line. Education isn’t just about money; it’s about seeing the world and ourselves from new and different perspectives. All post-secondary options should be presented to students, so they can take ownership over the trajectory of their own lives.
— l.o., Massachusetts
Of course, this distinction for Brighton High School piles on top of their victory last month in the state's high school Division 4 Super Bowl, thereby completing an undefeated season, and a National Bronze Medal awarded by U.S. News and World Report. And how can we forget their contribution to the human flag to celebrate Brighton's 200th anniversary?

Via the All About BPS.

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