College For Every Student Club
College For Every Student Club
Working collaboratively with educators in member schools and with college partners, College For Every Student (CFES) is committed to helping youth in low-income communities raise their aspirations and academic achievement by providing opportunities that encourage each student to take “One More Step” in their education.
Taking “One More Step” requires that students be challenged to set more ambitious goals for themselves: for those at risk of not continuing school, for example, “One More Step” can mean completing high school; for those thinking of ending their academic careers with a high school diploma, “One More Step” means pursuing post-secondary education or training.
These principles guide the CFES approach to helping schools better serve their students:
- CFES practices—mentoring, goal setting, pathways to college, and leadership through service—are the primary avenue for enabling students to take “One More Step.” Implementation of the four core practices has a significant impact on student aspirations and achievement.
- The CFES team in each school, which ideally includes the principal, teachers, key school staff, a community member, and a college representative, has responsibility for implementing CFES practices and programs. Working with the CFES team, CFES staff members help the school build a sustaining capacity to implement programs and practices.
- CFES fosters networking among educators at the local, regional, and national level. Networking promotes sharing of ideas and experience, collaborative programs, and a sense of common purpose. The “CFES community” is strengthened by regional and national meetings, a website, a newsletter, and a shared philosophy and purpose.
- Because early college awareness is an essential strategy for strengthening student aspirations, college partnerships are a fundamental component of CFES. These cooperative relationships support college visits, mentoring programs, and common academic endeavors by teachers and college professors.
- CFES promotes a positive, productive relationship between the school and the community. Parental involvement in the school and in CFES activities is a crucial element of success. When the community and the school share a common goal (i.e., fostering student aspirations and achievement), CFES programs have a high probability of success.
Four Core Practices
Students in CFES schools participate in activities that incorporate four core practices:
- Mentoring: CFES schools recognize the educational and personal benefits to students of a relationship with an older, more experienced individual. Each CFES school creates mentoring opportunities for its students. Mentors include college students, adults in the community, and older peers in the school. The training of mentors, which is facilitated by CFES staff, promotes successful mentor-mentee relationships.
- Goal Setting: Helping students establish short- and long-term goals fosters awareness of the future and of personal potential. Ideally, students reexamine and revise their goals on a regular basis. Student goal setting occurs in the context of a mentoring relationship, in the classroom setting, or in special circumstances such as a workshop hosted by a college athletic team. Effective goal setting includes discussion of what a student must do to reach a short- or long-term goal.
- Pathways to College: As early as possible, CFES schools—in partnership with colleges—expose students to college as a realistic opportunity. Students at all grade levels visit college campuses, meet with college students and staff and learn how to navigate the college process. These activities elevate student aspirations and help students define an academic and career direction. Recognizing the high percentage of students who drop out of college before attaining a degree, CFES schools and college partners provide experiences that promote college persistence.
- Leadership Through Service: Taking responsibility for one’s community is a strong indicator of increased student aspirations and engagement. CFES schools create avenues for students to provide service to the local community and to their schools. Frequently, providing service to others fosters the qualities and skills of leadership. Students, through school-based CFES Clubs, become a force for community development and improvement.