On Wednesday, September 24th, 70 educators from 12 Adirondack schools convened in Essex, NY to generate ideas and plan the implementation of College For Every Student (CFES) programming in their schools this year.
CFES is a global leader in helping underserved students get to and through college and ready to enter the workforce, and currently supports 20,000 students through partnerships with 200 rural and urban K-12 schools and districts in 27 states and Ireland.
The adaptable model CFES provides to partner schools is centered on three core practices – Mentoring, Leadership Through Service, and Pathways to College – that may be tailored to fit the needs of each school in helping their students become college and career ready. Instrumental in this process are CFES Program Directors, regional representatives who support and advise schools in implementing the CFES program. All CFES schools have access to regional training and planning workshops that they can use to continually improve their programs. CFES workshops provide resources and updated methods, and facilitate the exchange of successful strategies between similar schools.
The Adirondack school-based teams at this year’s workshop represented Ticonderoga, AuSable Forks, Keeseville, Saranac, Northern Adirondack, Peru, Lake Placid, Plattsburgh, Beekmantown, Crown Point, Keene, and Willsboro school districts. Teams with well-established CFES programs used this opportunity to refine and expand their programs and to share their knowledge with newcomers. Others were laying the groundwork for their first year partnering with CFES.
To get everyone in the right mindset, CFES College Ambassador Andrea McDonald asked those present to close their eyes and think about a student they helped advance toward college.
“I have a unique vantage point,” she said. “I can see smiles spreading across your faces as you remember that student – that’s the reason you became educators.”
Educators discussed the services available through their CFES Program Directors as listed on a “Menu of Services,” including help establishing community mentoring programs, helping students plan and promote service projects, building relationships with college partners, assisting school teams as they align existing programs and practices with CFES, and much more.
After a morning of presentations and discussion groups, educators broke into school team groups to tailor the CFES program to their school’s needs for the 2014-15 school year. They were asked to report back something new they plan to add to their program this year and a challenge they face that CFES can address. For the next two hours the CFES Center hummed as the educators worked on their plans and Program Directors circulated offering assistance. Some groups settled around the conference room, others took advantage of the warm day to confer outdoors.
On reconvening, plans were shared and some common challenges were recognized. Peru plans to involve student teachers in their mentoring program, AuSable will provide a volunteering opportunity for their CFES Scholars to run their new school store, Saranac’s students will be writing letters to colleges to solicit information. As these and many more ideas were shared, educators nodded in agreement and jotted down notes.
At the conclusion of the team reports, the educators departed ready to launch this year’s CFES program. The Program Directors left better informed on needs they can address in these schools. As school teams and Program Directors take steps together to enact these plans, CFES looks forward to many success stories from the Adirondack schools in the months ahead.
- How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Adirondack CFES Scholars Explore College Pathways (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Six Adirondack Schools Among 33 Named “Schools of Distinction” (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- CFES Students Train to Become Leaders (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- College Leaders Commit to Help One Million Low Income Students Attain College Degrees (huffingtonpost.com)