The College Option: Starting the Discussion

girl-getting-on-a-busWhen children envision their future, what do they see? Many first generation college students won’t see college as an option, unless it’s been part of the discussion during their early years.

When Dr. Kim Indelicato, Principal at Linwood E. Howe Elementary School, Mrs. LaShon Rayford, a Lin Howe parent and an Executive Assistant at CCUSD, and Ms. Rebecca Williams, Lin Howe parent and CCUSD Executive Assistant to the Superintendent, attended a conference where research noting this fact was presented, they decided to find a way to get that discussion started.

The fruits of their labors were on view in front of every CCUSD elementary school this March when fifth graders from every campus boarded buses headed for college. Each bus visited one school: California State University, Dominguez Hills, California State University, Northridge, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), the University of California, Irvine or the University of California, Los Angeles.

CCEF provided every student with a notebook for recording their impressions during the visits.

Our fifth graders noticed a lot more than the beautiful campuses. At LMU, the library had a room with white boards on all the walls. You could write all over the whiteboard walls and not get in trouble! They were also impressed by all of the green technology, like the energy efficient chargers for electric vehicles.

One fifth grader really liked that students at Cal Poly Pomona got a hands on education. If they were studying engineering they built things, and if they wanted to work with animals, there were horses and pigs and cows. She also noticed that everyone she saw at Cal Poly was active and engaged. “No one was isolating themselves,” she said.

“The program has two goals,” explained Dr. Indelicato. “The first is to expose our children to the college experience before they enter middle school. We want our children to envision a positive future for themselves, and we definitely want college to be one of the options they envision.”

“The second goal is to give our fifth graders a chance to get to meet students from our other schools so they’ll see more familiar faces when they enter 6th grade at CCMS next year.” To make sure that kids interacted with children from other elementary schools, every bus included students from multiple CCUSD campuses.

In addition, CCEF provided all of the students with special blue T-shirts and wristbands to help them feel the similarities rather than the divisions among our schools. “No matter where they came from,” said Dr. Indelicato, “on this trip, they were all one group.”

Upon returning from the trip, one of the students told Resource Specialist Amy Hodge, “I didn’t really want to go to college, but now I do.”

CCEF is proud to support this program that strengthens our community and helps to empower our students to envision a bright, successful future for themselves.

Visit CCEF4schools.org to learn more about the many ways CCEF supports our CCUSD students and schools, and how you can contribute to the cause.