Veronica Delandro Appointed College Summit Connecticut Executive Director
Community leader and Connecticut Magazine “40 under 40” honoree ascends to leadership of Connecticut branch of national college access nonprofit and New Haven Promise partner.
College Summit, a national nonprofit that creates a corps of students at low-income high schools who lead their peers to and through college, announced the promotion of Veronica DeLandro to Executive Director of its Connecticut region. During the 2013-14 academic year, College Summit Connecticut will reach more than 6,000 9th-12th grade students in 12 high schools and in three different districts throughout Connecticut (New Haven, Windham and Bridgeport).
In January 2010, DeLandro joined College Summit as a Program Manager for the Connecticut Region, where she implemented its college access program in Connecticut’s high schools, built the non-profit’s infrastructure in the region and increased the number of students served.
“Veronica’s strategic vision and hands-on leadership have been critical to College Summit’s expansion in the region,” said J.B. Schramm, CEO and Founder of College Summit. “She’s rolled up her sleeves, worked in the schools and knows how to help students succeed. Combining that valuable experience with her management ability and strong network, Veronica is a formidable choice to lead our presence in Connecticut.”
DeLandro helped guide the region when the New Haven Public Schools announced it would partner with College Summit as part of its School Change initiative, and also when New Haven Promise, a collaboration with Yale University and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, made College Summit the cornerstone of its work in high schools readying students for college and career.
“College Summit has been a vital partner in New Haven Promise’s success under the leadership of Veronica,” said Patricia Melton, New Haven Promise Executive Director. “New Haven students will continue to flourish with her selection as executive director of the regional office.”
“Veronica has been instrumental in working with our high school teams to get the College Summit program implemented in schools across New Haven. I am confident that her commitment to building college-going cultures in schools will have an even broader impact with her new role as executive director,” said Dr. Reginald Mayo, Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.
Early in her career, DeLandro worked at ESPN in Bristol, CT and created the company’s first mentoring program. Later on at the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, she worked with the Connecticut Mentoring Partnership and with support from the CT General Assembly where she was able to provide quality resources, training and tools to more than 170 business, community and school-based mentoring programs in the State.
“Working with College Summit to dramatically change the lives of Connecticut students is the most rewarding challenge I’ve tackled in my career,” said DeLandro. “Now in my new role, I have an opportunity to work with our terrific partners in the State to bring transformational change to even greater numbers of young people in Connecticut. Nothing could be more exciting.”
In addition to her professional work, DeLandro currently serves as 2nd Vice President for the Hartford Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a long-time supporter and board member for the Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity Affiliate and the John E. Rogers African American Cultural Center in Hartford, CT. In 2012, she was recognized by Connecticut Magazine as one of its “40 under 40” honorees.
About College Summit
College Summit is the national nonprofit that transforms the lives of low-income youth by developing a corps of high school students who lead their peers to and through college. The organization, which has been recognized for its social innovation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Obama, annually serves 50,000 students and will double that number by 2017. College Summit provides a system for improving college access and career success in 180 partner high schools in 15 states. Learn more at www.collegesummit.org.
NCR Students Honored for Supporting Peers on Path to College
College Summit-NCR honors students, educators and schools during 7th Annual Awards Ceremony.
[Washington, DC]- May 1, 2013- College Summit- National Capital Region honored two high school seniors for achieving their college dreams and supporting their peers on the path to higher education. Special recognition was given for two high school seniors, Tracey Davies of Wise High School (PGCPS), and Israelle Brown of Flowers High School (PGCPS), selected for the Darden Peer Leadership Award, and two high schools Oakland Mills High School (Howard County) and Largo High School (PGCPS) received the Deloitte Award for College Going Culture.
“Deloitte is proud to mentor College Summit’s Peer Leaders throughout the year,” said Amry Junaideen, Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP and board member of College Summit-National Capital Region. “We salute these high schools for working with College Summit to increase the number of students going on to post-secondary education.”
“Congratulations to all the students for reaching this important milestone in your lives. Your efforts are inspiring. Thank you for all you are doing to encourage your peers to prepare for a successful future. We salute your hard work and accomplishments on this important day,” said Julio Suárez, Director of Diversity Outreach at Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Peer Leader of the Year Tracey Davies was recognized for her innovative approaches to building a college-going culture through peer leadership. Tracey brought enthusiasm, dedication, and leadership to her work as a College Summit Peer Leader. On a number of occasions she spoke with underclassmen about their journeys to senior year and to college acceptance. Her leadership abilities extend beyond the College Summit classroom- she also holds a part-time job, and has excelled academically as a 4.0 student and a student ambassador. Tracey single handedly started a College Summit Club at Wise High School. She began the process by seeking out a school sponsor, and even developed a website so that others would know about the program.
“Peer influence is a powerful and unique part of College Summit’s model, and it’s at the heart of our partnerships with Darden and Deloitte,” said Shana Payne, Executive Director of College Summit-National Capital Region. “Our high schools will find true success when students aren’t seen as ‘vessels’ into which we pour knowledge, but rather as drivers of culture and higher academic standards.”
“College Summit opened my eyes to many opportunities that are available to me after graduating high school. After attending the College Summit workshop, my life made a positive change because it gave me steps that helped me successfully prepare my post secondary plans. Before starting College Summit, I was clueless about the college application or the financial aid process. College Summit taught me what to look for in schools and the things schools look for in a student. College Summit helped me realize that I have options and I should seek them. College Summit gave me the confidence to aspire to my goals with the right steps to complete them,” said Tametra Thomas, a College Summit Peer Leader at Crossland High School (PGCPS).
Other awards presented include Educator of the Year to Ms. Doris Dabney of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School in Washington, DC, and Mrs. Connie Gibson of Dr. Henry A. Wise High School in Prince George’s County, MD; and the James Dyke Scholarship to Cheyenne Johnson of Largo High School in Prince George’s County, MD, and Julian Spires of Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC.
Research from the American Council of Education has shown the factor most likely to increase student enrollment is having a significant portion of friends who are also planning on going to college.
College Summit was founded 18 years ago in the basement of a low-income housing development by a teen center director, J.B. Schramm, who saw how college transformed the lives of young people in the neighborhood, and how peer influence pushed some students off the college path, and spurred other students to thrive. From that modest experience, College Summit has grown to serving 50,000 students annually in 180 partner high schools in 12 states by providing a comprehensive system for improving college-going and success rates. You can find out more at www.collegesummit.org.
The Darden Restaurants Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that are dedicated to improving literacy rates, educating our future workforce, encouraging diversity in the classroom and workplace, and providing job readiness training. Darden Restaurants, Inc. awarded a grant to College Summit to promote strengthening Peer Leader engagement in College Summits high schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The mission of the Darden Restaurants Foundation is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism, philanthropy and ethical business practices as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants.
Deloitte Community Involvement
Deloitte helps its communities thrive by leveraging innovative thinking to strengthen nonprofit capacity by helping with strategic, operational and financial challenges, so nonprofits can help more people and communities faster and better; complementing innovative thinking with an investment of financial resources at the national and regional level; and creating and sharing new research, content and insights on ways organizations can leverage skills-based volunteerism. As part of its support, Deloitte works closely with College Summit to help improve its methodology in measuring and improving college enrollment rates across schools and school districts. Deloitte volunteers also act as strategic advisers at College Summit regional sites and as writing coaches at College Summit summer workshops Deloitte is proud to be College Summit’s largest corporate volunteer. To learn more visit www.deloitte.com/us/community.
WV Executive Magazine: High School Seniors Pay it Forward Through College Summit
Register Herald: Local high school seniors help their peers prepare for college
Congratulations to Emily Ernest, Peer Leader at Woodrow Wilson High School! Emily was recognized as an EQT Student of Excellence at an awards ceremony this weekend and received a $1,000 scholarship. For more about the award recipients, check out the article from the State Journal.
The Fayette Tribune: Trail seniors guide freshmen in planning
Check out the College Summit two-page spread in the State Journal’s Compass publication. Articles from Writing Coach Carrie Bowe and Valley High School Peer Leader Jessica Johnston are featured on page 16 and 17. Thanks to Ann Ali and her colleagues at WOWK and the State Journal for helping get the word out about College Summit.
Congratulations to Dr. Dan Foster, College Summit board member, for being recognized as West Virginian of the Year!
Data Quality Campaign Blog Post: Using Data to Grow a College-Going Culture at Liberty High School
WV Executive Magazine: Students Find Financial Aid Assistance through College Summit
USA Today College Article: Peers make college a reality for low-income students
College Summit West Virginia mentioned in Huffington Post blog submission by Connie Spencer, Yale Alumni Service Corps project coordinator.
Organization prepares students for next stage
by Bridget May for the Daily Mail
High school students across West Virginia are preparing for college and making an impact in the lives of their fellow students in the process.
College Summit is a national nonprofit organization that promotes college readiness and encourages academic excellence and is helping high school students prepare for and succeed at college.
J.B. Schram founded the organization 20 years ago in the basement of a housing complex in Washington, D.C.
He realized in working with the youth in the complex that there were students who had the capacity and the ability to attend college, but did not have the resources or the understanding of how the process worked.
College Summit West Virginia originated in 2001 as a project of the Energy Corp. of America when it realized that they did not have the educated workforce they needed. The ECA provided funding to the program to educate West Virginia students and help them to advance in the sciences and other technical fields.
Currently, the program is active in 26 schools, in 12 counties, and serves more 8,000 students across the state.
Each summer, College Summit conducts workshops on various college campuses. For four days volunteers work with rising high school seniors to prepare them for the college admission process and to equip them with the necessary tools to exhort their fellow students.
“We really try to target students that we consider better than their numbers,” Community Relations Manager Jen Wood explained.
College Summit works with guidance counselors to identify the most influential students from the rising senior class and encourage them to apply for the summer workshops.
While attending the workshops, students are introduced to college life by doing the things college students do every day, such as eating in the cafeteria and living in a dorm environment with students from other schools.
Students are paired with volunteer alumni leaders who have graduated the College Summit program and act as big brothers and sisters to the students.
The upcoming seniors who attend the workshop return to their schools as “peer leaders” upon completion of their five goals: financial aid, college application, college coaching session, personal statement and peer leaderships.
The Tower of Power session is a team-building exercise designed to teach college-bound seniors about financial aid and self-advocacy. Here, students work together to build a sustainable financial aid package based on grants, scholarships, family contribution and student loans.
When finished, each student goes to a designated table and advocates for himself or herself about why they should be given a certain type of financial aid.
During the personal statement aspect of the workshop, volunteers help students write a personal statement for college entrance and scholarship applications.
“For them to be able to advocate for themselves in written and oral form is really what we strive for and get them to learn at the workshop,” said Wood.
Writing coaches work with the students, helping them to write creative personal statements that captures the reader’s attention.
In college coaching sessions, volunteers emphasize the importance of finding the right “college fit,” dispelling the myths that big colleges are always better and that a four-year degree makes someone more employable than a two-year degree.
Students also attend “rap sessions” that help them overcome obstacles and develop leadership skills. These sessions also empower students to believe that college is indeed attainable.
“It is truly amazing to me the change that can happen in a student, and in a person in general, in four days,” Wood said about the students and volunteers.
It is a place where students and volunteers can be themselves and work toward a common goal free of judgment.
After attending the workshop, participants then go back into their schools for their senior year and serve as teachers’ aides and peer mentors to underclassmen.
Students at Midland Trail High School in Hico piloted a program called “Peer Mentors” in which seniors are paired up with “at risk” freshmen to act as an accountability partner. The model is now used in College Summit schools across the state.
The peer mentoring aspect is designed to improve attendance and class performance for the ninth-grader and to decrease the symptoms of “senioritis” for the seniors because they feel more accountable and involved.
Peer leaders at Midland Trail also spend one day per month leading a sessions for freshmen to teach them about financial aid, overcoming obstacles, and how to deal with grades.
These student leaders developed their ideas for the sessions based on what they learned at the College Summit workshop.
“I feel privileged to help Trail students, especially the freshmen,” Peer Leader Ericka Hinte said. “I want to help them understand that they can do anything they put their minds to.”
Seniors at Winfield High School used their experience at the workshop to create and lead sessions with juniors to teach them about resume building, ACT and SAT prep and time management.
Wood said, “We try to utilize our students in the classroom as much as possible, but we don’t throw them to the wolves by any means.”
A College Summit representative is always present in the classroom to help and encourage the students.
Another program the Peer Leaders help to facilitate in the schools is called “Signaling.” Here, banners or pennants are displayed when a student is accepted to college for their fellow students to see.
The purpose of this program is not just to give recognition to the student who is accepted to college, but also to send a message to other students that they can do it too.
Nicholas Alexander is graduated from the College Summit high school program at Valley High School and now attends college at Marshall University.
He said, “As a peer leader I have helped my fellow graduates prepare for college, and I’ve also helped to expose the freshman at my alma mater to college and helped them to start thinking about it.”
It is this type of experience that really makes College Summit a “pay it forward” program, Woods remarked.
Wood said the mentality across the state is that college is unattainable, so it is important to show students that they can go to college and to equip them with information on how to make it possible.
“Our ultimate goal is to build the capacity of the school,” Wood said about the program.
College Summit is there, initially, to provide knowledge and support, but the overall objective is to prepare schools to sustain these types of programs on their own.
College Summit Impact Day Hosted by Indianapolis Power and Light
On Friday, December 7, 2012, 38 juniors and seniors from IPS George Washington Community School participated in an Impact Day at Indianapolis Power & Light, Co. (IPL), a subsidiary of the Arlington, VA based AES Corporation. IPL awarded $250,000 to The Mind Trust, a nonprofit driving innovative K-12 education reform in Indianapolis, to expand College Summit, a national nonprofit working to boost college attendance rates among low-income students, at George Washington. The Mind Trust brought College Summit to Indianapolis in 2007 and continues to support the organization.
College Summit has served seniors at George Washington since 2009. IPL’s gift enables College Summit to expand the program to also serve freshman and sophomores, making George Washington the only IPS high school where College Summit reaches underclassmen. With IPL’s grant, College Summit will increase the number of students served at George Washington from 80 to more than 450.
During the Impact Day, students had the opportunity to learn about the following divisions and how to prepare for future career opportunities: Engineering; Maintenance, Fleet & Auto Mechanics; IT and Security; Service Dispatch; Customer Service; Financial Services; and Linemen. IPL volunteers from each of the divisions served as tour guides/leads for the experience. The lead of the Financial Services experience was a 1981 graduate of George Washington and was excited to share her high school experience as well as her career path at IPL with students. All students stated that the IPL Impact Day was a great opportunity to learn about the operation of a large utility company.
This spring, IPL plans to host another Impact Day for 50 to 60 George Washington Community School students.
Franklin College Scholarship
Franklin College, a long-standing university partner of College Summit, has announced the awardees for the 2013 College Summit scholarships.
Gabriela Salinas of George Washington Community High School (Indianapolis, IN) and Delia Beristain Noriega from Crossland, Maryland are recipients of this full-tuition scholarship, renewable for four years. All College Summit high school seniors who attended a summer Peer Leader workshop were eligible, and a nomination committee reviewed all applicants to find those who demonstrated the most potential for success at Franklin College. We are very proud of the chosen students for receiving this great honor. Congratulations, Gabriela and Delia!
Barnes & Thornburg Summit
On Saturday, March 2, 2013, College Summit Indiana had the opportunity to host twelve outstanding students at our first Barnes & Thornburg, LLP “Inaugural Legal Diversity Summit”, by Jimmie McMillian and April Underwood. Our partners at the Barnes & Thornburg law firm scheduled an exciting day full of interactive sessions for our students, including “Legal Diversity from a Historical Perspective”, a Judicial luncheon, and a real look at a “day in the life of a law student.”
Students who attended were able to explore different careers in law, learn about what it takes to get into law school, and network with the firm’s amazing associates. We appreciate the unique opportunity to expose our students to this rich career field, and are very grateful to all who worked to make this day possible.
Save the Date: Volunteer Appreciation BBQ
April 21-27 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and to celebrate the combined 400+ hours that YOU’VE given to College Summit this year, we’re throwing a party!
Join us on Saturday, April 27 from 11:00am to 3:00pm at Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles for a BBQ where we’ll celebrate our successes and look forward to an exciting summer workshop season! Lunch will be served.
Meet the Board: Bud jacobs
Take a look through the history of the business, academic, and nonprofit sectors in Los Angeles, and J. Lloyd (“Bud”) Jacobs’s name keeps popping up. Having served as a high school teacher, LAUSD chairperson, district instructional specialist, and secondary school administrator with both middle and high school experience for a combined three decades, he knows the education system inside and out. In his most recent post, Bud led Communities in Schools of Los Angeles West as Executive Director.
“In all my years in education, I have never seen a more focused, structured and inspirational way to help students navigate the college-going process,” says Bud. “I love the fact that the process begins the moment students start high school, has clear and specific ‘milestones’ through their high school career, and puts them into contact with caring and concerned adults who guide and motivate them through the college-going process.”
Bud joined the Growth Partnership of the Southern California Advisory Board in 2012, supporting the region’s growth deeper into LAUSD and into high schools and districts across Los Angeles County.
FAFSA Challenge a Success
We did it! Together, you and more than 40 other volunteers and alumni came out to our partner high schools to help our students complete the last major step in the college-going process before they submit their commitment statement in May. You gave a combined 167 hours at 26 different FAFSA events, providing our students with the reassurance to help them complete this complex form.
Dedicated Alumni Leader Flavio Guzman, a sophomore at California Lutheran University, reflects on his experiences. “Two years ago, I could not have imaged I would be where I am today. Thanks to the support of College Summit and Arleta High School I have been able to be successful. And success is useless if you don’t help others. That is why I go back to San Fernando and help out – because I know how vital support is in bettering ourselves, others, and our communities.”
Whether it with your first time volunteering with College Summit, or your twenty-first time, thank you for your support and enthusiasm. We truly couldn’t do it without you.
Congratulations Peer Leader of the Month Yuri Vega
College Summit is proud give the March 2013 Peer Leader of the Month Award to Yuri Vega, a senior Peer Leader from Morningside High School.
Yuri shines as one of Morningside’s most focused Peer Leaders. Sandra Manning, 12th grade history teacher, describes her as, “Friendly, hard-working, reliable, kind-hearted, and incredibly reliable.” As one of Morningside’s strongest seniors, Yuri regularly takes on leadership roles in school activities, motivating and pushing her peers to be involved and get engaged in all the opportunities the school has to offer. She also gives back to her community, mentoring elementary and middle school girls.
Not only does Yuri serve as a Peer Leader – she is also a Dream Act student, overcoming the odds as an undocumented student. “I will not be just another statistic,” says Yuri, regarding how common it is for undocumented and first-generation students not to go to college. “College is definitely in my future.”
Help us in congratulating this outgoing and caring Peer Leader by writing her a message on our Facebook Fan Page!
March is Career Month
If your high school experience was anything like mine, you probably had little or no clue as a freshman, sophomore, or junior, what you wanted to study in college, let alone do with the rest of your life. The case remains the same in today’s schools, particularly in low-income ones where students get little exposure to the vast array of professions they can explore in college and beyond.
At College Summit, we’re dedicated to preparing our youngest students for a meaningful postsecondary experience, and that means showing them the diversity of careers out there. During Career Week (March 18-22), volunteers from across the professional spectrum sit on one-hour Career Panels to tell the story of their journey from high school to their present career. The time commitment is short, but the impact can last a lifetime.
Please help us fill our nearly 100 open Career Panel spots and inspire a young person in your community today. Click the Volunteer Opportunities Calendar to see dates, times, and locations. Email Brian Rosenbaum, Community Engagement Coordinator, to sign up.
Career Week - Volunteers Needed!
CALLING ALL PROFESSIONALS!
From March 18-22 we will be hosting our annual Career Week. Come speak to our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors about your high school-to-career journey and inspire our young students to consider the variety of professions available to them.
The only requirement is that you have at least an Associate’s Degree and a “profession/career.” Volunteers of all educational backgrounds are welcome.
Want to do more? Get your office involved! We welcome multiple individuals from the same company.
Meet the Board: Jeff Mischka
Jeff Mischka, a Principal at Deloitte Consulting, joined the Southern California Advisory Board in August 2011 with the goal of giving back to his community in a meaningful way. Little did he know he would be joining an organization that’s changing the lives of more than 4,000 students each year – many of them first-generation college students.
“I am myself a first-generation college grad,” says Jeff. “The professional opportunities and challenges I’ve had in life – I know they wouldn’t have been possible without a college degree. Students making the connection between a college and their ultimate success is how we can help our kids grow and thrive in our community.”
Formerly part of the leadership of Deloitte’s Media and Entertainment consulting practice, Jeff’s clients now include several of the largest media conglomerates in the United States and abroad. He has earned various awards for Quality and Risk Management over the course of his career. Jeff’s key role on the Board is to support College Summit in fundraising, volunteer engagement, and other activities planned throughout the school year.
Arleta High Peer Leaders Filmed for “Live Life and Win!”
In mid-January, four Peer Leaders at Arleta High School got the chance to shine when the production crew of “Live Life and Win!” came to their campus.
“Live Life and Win!” is a new weekly TV series that highlights inspirational teens changing their lives and the communities around them. Hosted by reporters Eric Keyes and Madisen Hill, the show focused on Arleta High Peer Leader Samantha Moreno and her drive to help her fellow peers navigate the college-going path and get to college.
Samantha’s episode of Live Life and Win! will air during Season 3 of the show, which starts in September. Stay posted to this newsletter and our Facebook page for an announcement of its air date and time!
Congratulations Peer Leader of the Month Amy Barrios
College Summit is proud give the February 2013 Peer Leader of the Month Award to Amy Barrios, a senior Peer Leader from Bernstein High APEX Academy.
As President of her school’s College Summit Club, Amy stands out as a true leader. She recently facilitated the Tower of Power exercise – which teaches students the basics of financial aid – for her entire senior class, and helped lead a Saturday Financial Aid Workshop that was attended by over 100 students and parents!
“Being a Peer Leader has given me a new kind of confidence and leadership role at school,” says Amy. “It allows me to be a role model and make a real difference.” Amy looks forward to continuing to help her peers complete the FAFSA, and making sure that the juniors at her school understand the importance of taking the SAT and preparing for college. Amy hopes to attend UC Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, or San Francisco State University.
The FAFSA Challenge Continues in Its Last Month!
What a month January was! In just 30 days, 30 volunteers and alumni came out to 14 difference FAFSA workshops, helping more than 150 students complete this challenging form. Thank you to all the volunteers and alumni who gave 100+ hours to support these inspiring young people!
But our work has only begun! The deadline for the FAFSA is March 2, and we’ve still got 12 more FAFSA workshops lined up to help the remaining seniors complete this critical form. Come work one-on-one with our students to increase their likelihood of enrolling in college by 72%. We provide the training, you provide the passion!
Career Week: Volunteers Needed
Save the Date! We will be hosting Career Week from March 18-22, 2013.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to share their college and career journeys with freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Dates will be announced in late February.
Contact Brian Rosenbaum for details or to sign up.
Meet the Board: Lisa Amster
In 2013, College Summit is thrilled to welcome our newest Regional Advisory Board member, Lisa Amster!
Lisa, who serves as a Director at Barclays, joined the company in 2011 from Goldman Sachs, where she spent almost a decade. Lisa focuses on customizing hedging and trading strategies for high net worth individuals, family offices and foundations. Lisa interned at The White House under the Clinton Administration and holds a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Read more about Lisa and her passion for public education.
We’re excited to announce that this year’s College Summit Darden & Deloitte Awards will be held at the University of Miami Fieldhouse on Thursday, May 16th.
Our partners this year include… Broward County Public Schools, Miami Dade Public Schools, The Children’s Trust, the Office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Monestime, the University of Miami School of Education, Darden, and Deloitte.
LIKE us on Facebook for more updates.
College Summit Florida featured on Miami Herald Article “Beyond the Classroom”.
Read more here.
Business Engagement in Education, key Partners for Improving Student Success event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce panel features Dr. Pablo G. Ortiz, Assistant Superintendent, Education Transformation Office, Miami-Dade Public Schools with closing remarks from the Honorable Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Watch video here.
MD Student Raises Funds for NCR With Her Feet
MD student Marion Muller raises over $3,500 for NCR by running, jogging, and biking.
Marion Muller has always thought it was important to give back, but she realized it was difficult to find a method of giving back that she felt would really make a difference. Last year, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student (Class of 2014) discovered a love of running. During her sophomore year spring break she read a book called Born to Run about a tribe that ran every day, and she asked, “Why couldn’t I do that?” She went out and ran 8 miles that very day. She then started running long distances regularly, and ran her first marathon in June. After running the marathon, Marion wondered why she couldn’t do this regularly, and help her community at the same time. She decided to do something that combined her love for running, her belief in the importance of education, and her desire to make a difference.
Marion founded Strides for Scholars, a one-person organization that raises funds for the causes Marion is passionate about. For each mile she runs, jogs or bikes, her supporters pledge dollars to fund an organization Marion has selected. The first organization she chose to support through Strides for Scholars was College Summit of the National Capital Region (NCR). College Summit’s mission of helping more students get the information and resources they need to get to college really appealed to her. So did College Summit’s work with educators to strengthen their ability to help students get to college. Her own experience with good teachers has shown her the importance of well-informed, dedicated teachers. In April alone, Marion will run, jog, and bike over 300 miles. Since January, she has raised over $3,500 for College Summit.
Marion says her parents and siblings have been extremely supportive and have helped lay the foundation for Strides for Scholars. She admits that her friends think she’s a bit crazy, but they are also very supportive and have joined her on some of her runs and rides.
When asked why she thinks it’s important for more young people to go to college, Marion answers: “Young people are our nation’s future. If we don’t have an educated youth, then our nation will suffer. There won’t be anyone to fill the jobs of teachers, doctors, or even the President. If my generation doesn’t get educated, we won’t learn to be part of the world.”
In addition to her Strides for Scholars efforts, Marion volunteers with a local fire department, where she is currently getting certified as an EMT. Marion wants to be a heart surgeon some day, and has started to look at colleges and universities that have strong science programs. It is clear she will be a success in anything she sets her mind to.
College Summit honors former Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. with award acknowledging how college education changed his Life.
Community and education leaders, including past recipient Mayor Michael B. Hancock, salute former Governor Bill Ritter Jr. for his path from poverty to the Governor’s office, as a first generation college graduate.
View photos from the event on College Summit’s Facebook page.
Peer Leader Alma Barrios Featured as ABC7’S Cool Kid
The Cool Kids program on KABC-TV is a weekly segment that features youth from Los Angeles who are making a difference at their schools and in their communities. In mid-December, an ABC7 film crew and newscaster and weatherman Danny Romero came out to the Cesar Chavez Learning Academies to interview Alma Barrios, a Peer Leader who we spotlighted in our November newsletter.
Alma talked about how, through College Summit, she’s helping her fellow seniors understand the value of college and what it takes to get there, such as writing the personal statement, filling out the FAFSA, and applying.
Check out Alma’s interview and share her story with your social media networks!
College Summit Kicks Off The New Year
On January 3rd, the Southern California region welcomed 2013 in style, hosting more than 25 College Summit alumni, volunteers, educators and staff at our new office in El Segundo.
During the event we introduced our newest staff member Kevin Sully (School Partnership Manager), and watched a slideshow of photos from 2012, compiled by the alumni.
Are You Up To The FAFSA Challenge?
This winter is all about our yearly Think FAFSA Campaign! As you may remember, students complete the Free Applibcation for Federal Student Aid in order to learn their eligibility for various types of financial aid.
In the next month, we’ve got nearly two dozen FAFSA workshops scheduled – chances for you to come out to our schools and work directly with our students, helping them gain access to the funds necessary to succeed after high school. We provide the training, you provide the passion! Please see the calendar section below and sign up for one or two sessions. It only takes 23 minutes to complete the FAFSA, so in a 3-hour block, you can help 7 students complete this critical milestone!
College Summit Says Goodbye to Alexis Shah
Last month, Alexis Shah stepped down as Executive Director of the region. We’re honored and saddened to say goodbye to the SoCal Region’s leader of the last five years.
In 2007, the SoCal region was serving just 600 seniors. Under Alexis’s lead, first as Program Director, then Executive Director, the region increased its service more than 2,000 seniors and another 2,000 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Impressive college-going rate increases followed. In addition, Alexis built a two-person show into a diverse six-member team, and invested countless hours in the cultivation of the largest Regional Advisory Board the region has seen.
Thank you Alexis for your service to College Summit and the causes of college access and education. Your work and passion live on!
Movin’ On Up! The Southern California Region Finds a New Home in El Segundo
After nearly 10 years in the same office, the Region is packing our boxes, saying goodbye to Culver City, and moving offices.
Through the generous support of Regional Advisory Board Vice-Chair Melanie Lundquist and the Continental Development Corporation, the College Summit Southern California offices will now reside at:
880 Apollo Street, Suite 160
El Segundo, CA 90245
With the region in the midst of our teenage growth spurt, the new 2,400 sq. ft. office will provide the space for us to grow in staff and scope.
Additionally, according to the LA Times, “Hundreds of entrepreneurs, high-technology firms and Internet start-ups have moved into space abandoned by the shrinking aerospace industry,” on the Rosecrans Corridor.
Being located in this thriving hotspot represents exciting new opportunities for the Region to build corporate funding and volunteering relationships.
SoCal Region Hosts First “Connect To Our Future!” Event
On Thursday, November 1, the Southern California region hosted its first “Connect to Our Future!” event, designed to give corporate and community leaders an inside view into how College Summit brings positive change to thousands of youth each year.
Hosted by Regional Advisory Board Vice-Chair Melanie Lundquist, the event took place at the Continental Development Corporation in El Segundo and was attended by folks from Phenomenex, Deloitte, Barclays, the media, and the education community. Over the course of just one hour, they heard from Morningside High Principal and 2012 Administrator of the Year Dr. Sirls, teacher Mr. Connor, and two Peer Leaders, plus Board Alumnus Raúl Velez, and three additional Alumni performing their moving “I Am” Symphony.
Peer Leader and Alumni Panel
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to ‘tour’ College Summit’s mission by hearing from people who it impacts directly,” says Katie Berry, Development Manager at College Summit. “They walk away really knowing what we do.”
Interested in attending the next “Connect to Our Future!” event? Stay posted to this newsletter and other emails!
Los Angeles Times Features Sylmar High!
The LA Times, in collaboration with College Summit, recently published a moving story about a Peer Leader at Sylmar High and the steps the school is taking to send more students to college!
Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times / November 16, 2012
The article reports on just one evening’s college application event, explaining how College Summit, through peers, volunteers and educators, changes lives.
Peer Leader of the Month: Lizbeth Banuelos of Roosevelt High-School of Communications, New Media, and Technology
College Summit is proud to congratulate Lizbeth Banuelos, Senior at Roosevelt High as the December 2012 Peer Leader of the Month!
According to one teacher, “I have come across many high-achieving students during my 8 years teaching, and Lizbeth has surpassed my expectations.” Lizbeth is that student who is constantly going above and beyond. Unlike many young people her age, it’s clear that she values her education and sees its true worth.
According to her former English teacher, Lizbeth never shies away from hard work, selecting high-level novels rather easy ones.
She writes concisely, organizing her thoughts, and despite speaking English as a second language, expresses herself with a rich vocabulary garnered from the hordes of books she reads.
Lizbeth’s leadership shines in her classes and as a Peer Leader. She harnesses her natural extroversion and stubbornness to help her fellow seniors with coursework and college preparation, ranging from finding and researching colleges to directing them on how to perfect their personal statements. She regularly offers innovative ideas on how to infuse a college-going culture into not only her own Small Learning Community, but the entire Roosevelt High campus.
Lastly, she is active and involved on her campus, writing for the school newspaper where she takes on a full load of stories, seeing it as a way to participate and give back to her school.
From all of us at College Summit, congratulations Lizbeth! We can’t wait to see what you become!
Welcome Kevin Sully, School Partnership Manager
With College Summit’s expansion into five new high schools this year, we are proud to welcome a new member to the family: Kevin Sully. Kevin now serves as a School Partnership Manager, providing program implementation support to our coordinators and advisors in the schools.
Kevin began his career in education in the classroom as a part of the Teach for America in Los Angeles. He taught high school English and AVID at Locke High School for five years. During his tenure at Locke, the school was transitioned from a public school to a charter school. As one of the few teachers that remained, Kevin stepped up and performed college counseling duties for his students, while also serving as the school’s Cross Country and Track coach. Kevin received his BA in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Oregon (’06), and his M.A. in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Kevin brings to College Summit substantial experience in the classroom and a positive team energy.
We are excited to have him on the team!
Thank you Kimberly Soto and Wells Fargo
After they graduate, nearly 70% of College Summit’s alumni are in college (Peer Leaders go at a rate of 86%). In addition to their class loads, almost all of them are also juggling family commitments, jobs, and life’s daily stressors. That’s why, when our Alumni give back, it means so much.
Enter Kimberly Soto, a Peer Leader from Morningside High, Class of 2010. When her employer, Wells Fargo, instituted its matching employee donations program, she knew exactly where she wanted her support to go.
“This year I chose to donate to College Summit. College Summit helped me transition into college by supporting me through the applications, FAFSA, personal statement, and more,” says Kim, a Personal Banker who recently passed the one-year mark with Wells Fargo. “Working full-time and going to El Camino College at night, it’s hard to make it out to the schools. This was a way I could give back that worked for me.”
It’s Alumni like Kim who epitomize the Alumni credo, “Inward Journey, Outward Service” – growing through their continued connection to College Summit and giving back in a way that is both meaningful and feasible for them. From all of us at College Summit, thank you Kim and Wells Fargo!
Peer Leader of the Month: Alma Barrios of Social Justice Humanitas Academy
College Summit is thrilled to honor Alma Barrios as November 2012 Peer Leader of the Month! Alma is a senior Peer Leader at Cesar Chavez Learning Academies’ Social Justice Humanitas Academy, where she maintains a 4.4 GPA, is involved a numerous campus activities and has displayed tremendous leadership through the College Summit program.
Alma is a dedicated young woman who her teachers describe as endlessly giving and caring for others. She has been a student mentor for three years, each year managing a caseload of approximately 15 students, supporting them both academically and with emotional support. She monitors their grades, helps them through personal problems, and makes sure they have access to resources on a weekly basis.
As a College Summit Peer Leader, she has committed herself to leading a small group of her fellow seniors through the college application process, believing that all of them can and will go to college next year. As a Peer Leader, she plans events, supports her fellow peer leaders, participates in focus groups, and does everything possible to help all of her peers (not just her group) on their way to college and career success.
Alma is part of her school’s Associated Student Body–Leadership, specifically focusing on planning the senior prom. During her summer vacations, Alma comes into school to help in the 9th Grade Transition program, tutoring students in Math and English while also helping them to successfully acclimate to high school’s demands and expectations. This experience has been transformational as it helped her realize how much she loves helping others, how much good she can do, and that she might pursue teaching as a career.
Outside of school, Alma has raised money for AIDSWALK and walked the 6 mile event this year. In addition, she participates in confirmation classes, has been babysitting for 6 years and tutoring for 5 years.
Alma, we are proud of you for all that you do! Congratulations!
College Summit Salutes Bob Klewitz
College Summit is honored to take a moment to honor a great teacher who has retired. Bob Klewitz, who taught at Arleta High School for six years, displayed unwavering passion for his students and persistence in achieving strong outcomes in the College Summit program.
“The College Summit program is extraordinary. It creates a sustained awareness and focus in students on the need, challenges, and rewards of the college experience,” says Klewitz. “Students could begin to form a comprehensive view of what ‘college’ could mean for them. The end-of-the-year completion of the Milestones and the Arleta portfolio defense will remain as some of the greatest satisfactions in my teaching career.”
In 2012, Klewitz was nominated for the Educator of the Year Award. In 2011-12, his students achieved a 97% completion rate for all 12 senior year Milestones. Most importantly, Klewitz promoted students’ growth by keeping them accountable for their work while also giving them independence to make their own decisions.
Thank you, Mr. Klewitz, for inspiring the next generation of youth to success in college and beyond.
What Happens to Peer Leaders After They Graduate?
Many Peer Leaders (PLs) believe that their College Summit experience endd when they graduate. Little do they know, the PL experience is just the beginning of a lifelong connection with College Summit. Immediately after graduation, the Alumni Ambassador (AA) Program allows alumni of the program to stay plugged into the org.
AAs commit to providing 20 community service hours to College Summit in the form of in-classroom program support or organizational support. They receive trainings on how to best support our PLs effectively and represent College Summit appropriately. They also receive professional development support in the form of resume help, interview support, and career planning. Participants who complete their 20 service hours get preference to become Alumni Leaders (ALs) at the workshops a year after they graduate.
After one year in college, alumni may serve as ALs. These critical individuals provide support during the summer workshops – the weekend-long college-going boot camps attended by approximately 15% of the incoming College Summit seniors. ALs aid the workshop by providing logistical support, keeping PLs’ energy high, and helping them find their voices during their Personal Statement writing workshops. During the school year, ALs also serve in the schools and the office, supporting program delivery, administrative needs, and fundraising initiatives.
Alumni Leaders during a 2012 Workshop
Once and alumnus has served as an AL, the sky is the limit on the ladder of College Summit leadership. Some alumni go on to serve in Core Staff positions during workshops (such as Technology Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Rap Director), while others continue as ALs. Once our alumni receive their Bachelor’s degree, they may serve as Writing Coaches and general volunteers.
“Working with College Summit’s alumni might be my favorite part of my job,” says Community Engagement Coordinator Brian Rosenbaum. “The energy that they bring to giving back to the org and their communities is truly inspiring!”
College Summit Participants Enrolling in College at Same Rate as Beverly Hills Unified Seniors
A major component of College Summit’s program is our use of data in tracking and informing our work with 4,200 students at 11 schools across Los Angeles. We do a LOT of data tracking. We track student completion of the dozen critical milestones in the college-going process (and that’s just for seniors), as well as schools’ college enrollment rates (CER) before and while working with College Summit. We access this information by submitting graduation lists to the National Student Clearinghouse each year. They compare our lists against its college enrollment lists and ultimately are able to tell us where each graduate went to college. We also look at schools’ success in qualifying students to attend four-year universities (completion of the A-G class requirements), and their actual 4-year CERs (the difference being what we call the “4-Year Enrollment Gap” – the gap between students who can attend UCs and CSUs, and those who do). All this information is compared across our partner schools, districts, and College Summit regions.
After analyzing the College Summit Class of 2011 data, we came to some outstanding conclusions.
So what did we see in 2011?
*Source: www.cpec.ca.gov. Due to defunding, the CPEC website only has data up to 2010.
†Source: US News - Education - Best High Schools – California
Building Leaders for a Sustainable Future
A core component of College Summit’s model for building strong leaders who continue contributing to their communities is the Rap Director program. College Summit Alumni have the opportunity to expand their skills and grow within the organization by taking on various leadership roles at our Peer Leader Workshops. From Alumni Leader (AL) to AL Coordinator to Rap Director to Certified Rap Director, these dedicated individuals receive extensive training and are paid to support our students in unique and meaningful ways.
This summer, College Summit Southern California had the honor of certifying two Rap Directors: Sheldon Hill and Daniel Perez. These young men have logged hundreds of hours inspiring our Peer Leaders to dig deep within themselves to explore their hopes and dreams, as well as their obstacles and fears related to pursuing postsecondary education. Their training involves 3 years of 4 three-full-day trainings per year, plus a 10-day intensive training, and numerous workshop experiences, totaling nearly 1,000 hours.
As RDs, Sheldon and Daniel have developed lasting relationships with the Peer Leaders they serve, sometimes being the first and most memorable person to help them understand that they are capable of going to and succeeding in college.
“As an alumna of the program, I know from experience that College Summit works. That’s why I return every summer,” says Daniel. “Now, as a Certified Rap Director, I can share my experiences with the students, opening them up to the possibilities that await them, to dream and to conquer their obstacles.”
Thank you, Danny and Sheldon, for your zeal and dedication. You truly are the “special sauce” that makes College Summit amazing!
College Summit Expands Advisory Board
The past few months have been a period of unprecedented growth for the Southern California Regional Advisory Board. Thanks to the guidance and support of our Board Vice Chair, Melanie Lundquist, and our community partners and donors, College Summit is honored to welcome four powerful individuals to our board:
These individuals join an already-dynamite team that includes Philanthropist Melanie Lundquist, LAUSD Board President Mónica García, and Darden Senior Vice President Kathy Nahlovksy.
Together, they will support the region in expanding and diversifying our funding sources, growing in scope to serve more students at more schools, and increasing our profile and visibility in the community.
Thank you Jeff, Bud, Raúl, and Timmetrius for your passion and commitment!
Partner Principals Get Schooled
On August 6, the Southern California region piloted our first annual Leadership Training, inviting Principals and Assistant Principals from our 11 partner high schools to join us for a day of learning, sharing, and community building. Eight individuals representing as many schools joined us at the Deloitte Los Angeles headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles to participate in this event.
College Summit National Education Specialist Ayanna Malachi flew in from Washington, D.C., to lead the day-long workshop. During the training, the group focused on the role of leadership in sending more students to college and building a college-going culture on their campuses. They dove deeper into the College Summit curriculum, learning the ins and outs of the program, and discussed how Principals can be strategic drivers of change and motivation among educators and students. They also learned more about the data we provide our schools, and how to use that feedback to evaluate progress and troubleshoot concerns.
Angela Hewlett-Block, Principal of Bernstein High School, was one of the attendees. “The Leadership Training was an extremely valuable piece in providing school administrators with the foundations of the College Summit program,” says Ms. Hewlett-Bloch. “We were able to focus on and internalize the big ideas that every student and teacher at every level must understand to make the program successful.”
The attendees were so motivated by the training, they requested a follow-up session in the Spring, to celebrate the successful implementation of the program, and find support for pieces that still need grounding.
We are excited to be moving forward with a group of such dedicated and passionate administrators!
Volunteer Spotlight: Deloitte’s Nicole Iida
This July, Nicole participated in her first Peer Leader Workshop at the University of Redlands. Here’s a little about her and her experience with College Summit.
Name: Nicole Iida
Occupation: Audit Manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP
Why did you choose to volunteer with College Summit?
I learned about College Summit Deloitte, who has and continues to support the organization. I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way and I felt that the workshops would really give me an opportunity to help the students with a process that is quite daunting. I liked the idea that I would be working with a smaller group of students, allowing me to be able to really dedicate time to each of them.
What was the most memorable part of your workshop?
When the light bulb goes off, and the students really understand what it means to write a personal statement. There are lots of emotions, stories, and writing that take place over the weekend, but when they realize that they’ve found their story to tell, there’s a sense of excitement and personal accomplishment. It’s such a rewarding experience to be part of that process.
If someone was thinking about volunteering with College Summit, what would you tell them about the program?
I was amazed by how strong and dedicated these students were during the weekend workshops. They were so willing to open up and share some of their most personal experiences and life stories with someone who they’ve just met. It’s a very fulfilling to be part of this process. It was truly gratifying to work with them and to be a part of an important milestone in their path to higher education.
Why do you think College Summit works/is effective?
The students come to the workshops with an understanding that this is a safe place, where they can open up, be emotional, and share their feelings without judgment. The program stresses that this weekend is for them and that each volunteer and staff member is here to help them achieve their goals. The workshop provides such a strong support system, and volunteers and staff allow the participants to share at their own pace. The smaller group breakouts throughout the weekend also give students one-on-one time and personal attention to fit the needs of each student.
College Summit Connecticut is EXCITED to announce the rollout of our CS curriculum into 3 additional New Haven schools - HSC, Sound and Wilbur Cross in the 2013-14 School year!
Westport News article about College Summit.
College Summit Honors New Haven Peer Leaders at Luncheon
NCR and NFL Players Association Partner for Career Week
On December 3-7, 2012, College Summit-NCR will host Career Week at our partner high schools. Almost 100 volunteers will descend on our region’s schools to share stories of their college and career journeys. These volunteers come from a variety of fields, backgrounds, and companies, including long-time College Summit partner Deloitte.
This year, for the first time, we are partnering with the NFL Players Association during Career Week. A number of NFLPA staff and players will participate and share their stories during Career Week. NFLPA is so excited about this opportunity that they have featured us on their website. Here is a quote from one volunteer:
“I chose to [volunteer] in the College Summit Career Week because I love to give information to young people who have their whole lives ahead of them,” said former NFL linebacker Don Davis, Player Advocate with the NFLPA. “I want to talk about the ups and downs of my career and life and show them that success is possible, even though you may not know exactly what you want to do with your life at this stage. I certainly had no idea what I wanted to be at the age of 18, and I turned out all right.”
Read more about what NFPA has to say about College Summit and Career Week here.
Peers make college a reality for low-income students
By Michael Crowe
USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent
Marqualo McDaniels isn’t just busy with his own college search — he’s helping his classmates with theirs as well. A senior at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy in St. Louis, he serves as a peer leader in the College Summit program, which works to make higher education possible for low-income students across the nation.
Each year, College Summit assembles a group of incoming high school seniors — such as McDaniels — for mentor training.
“If you’ve ever seen a bunch of kids trying their hearts out…,” 17-year-old McDaniels said, trailing off. “I can’t put it into words. I don’t think it was so much of a session as it was a movement. We created a family. We took away so much more than the college process.”
The results are tangible. In 2004, the college enrollment rate for St. Louis public schools was 34%. That was before College Summit began working in 14 area buildings, including McDaniels’. In 2011, that rate had risen to nearly 69%.
“It not only teaches you about college, it teaches you skills you can use post-secondary, once you leave college,” McDaniels said. “Life skills, and how to make it. Things teens can relate to and carry over into their adulthood that can make them successful adults and citizens of the world.”
College Summit was founded in the early ’90s by J.B. Schramm, who was running a teen center in the basement of a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C. Eighteen years later, the program has expanded into 12 states and 170 high schools, influencing the lives of over 50,000 teenagers a year.
According to the College Summit website, “Students from the low-income quartile who gets A’s on standardized tests go to college at the same rate as their higher income peers who get D’s on the same tests.” Schramm is working to change that.
A College Summit media representative described Schramm as a social entrepreneur. He said he identifies first as an educator, though his organization plays a key role in encouraging students to invest in their future, primarily by putting power into the hands of students.
“We can’t think of school as where we pour education into kids,” Schramm said. “Young people can be drivers of culture, they can be drivers of achievement in their school. We just need to start recognizing that young people can be drivers of change and give them that responsibility.”
To make this possible, the program calls on educators as well. Cathy Engle is a coordinator for College Summit at Valley High School in Smithers, W.V., where she teaches 10th-grade social studies, sociology and economics. She said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing students when they come to her, excited with their acceptance letters.
But getting them to this point can be difficult. Many students College Summit works with lack guidance through the application process.
“It’s not that their parents don’t care, it’s that they don’t know what to do because they never went to college,” Engle said.
In two years partnering with College Summit, Valley High’s college enrollment rate has risen from 33% to 58%.
For College Summit, bridging the gap between high school and ongoing education or training is key to a student’s success in a competitive job market. While that doesn’t always mean a four-year degree, Schramm stressed going beyond a high school diploma shouldn’t be the focus of discussion.
“The real debate should be on what kind of education prepares a young person to succeed in their career,” he said. “… The fact is all young people need careers, and all young people need post-secondary education in order to succeed in their careers. So, pitting college versus career is a false dichotomy.”
Whatever path program participants take, McDaniels said he’s thankful for the College Summit experience.
“College Summit indicates the mind, the body and the soul,” he said.
Michael Crowe is a Fall 2012 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent.
College Summit 2008 ‘What’s Right With The Region!’ Award Winner
Group Awarded for Closing College Access Gap for Local Disadvantaged High School Students
ST. LOUIS - May 6, 2008 - College Summit St. Louis, a nonprofit organization working with 1,400 local high school seniors to navigate the college application process and build a college-going culture for all students, has been selected as a recipient of the 2008 FOCUS St. Louis “What’s Right With The Region!” award for Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice.
College Summit St. Louis partners with schools and school districts with large populations of low-income youth who lack the role models and a support structure to see college as a viable option The program is uniquely focused on identifying and supporting young people who are better than their numbers’ as well as breaking those students’ assumptions that they aren’t college material.’
“This is a tremendous honor for us and is a testament to the hard work of our students, educators and school partners,” said Stacy Clay, Executive Director of College Summit St. Louis. “We work to ensure that our city’s disadvantaged youth that do the hard work necessary to graduate from high school are also able take the next steps so that the diploma is not an end-point, but a launching pad for post-secondary success.”
In 2005, College Summit, a national organization located in ten states across the country, rooted itself in the St. Louis community and began partnering with area high schools and produced more than a 20% increase in college enrollment over baselines in their first year of implementation. Since that time more than 2,500 area youth have participated in the program. College application tracking from last year found 80% of College Summit students submitted at least one college application. As of March for the 2007-2008 school year, 75% or 971 students have already applied to college, 587 students or 60% have received acceptances, and $7,306,894 has been offered in scholarship money.
“College Summit has sparked a college-going transformation so that now the assumptions low-income students have involve graduation being just the beginning of their education; and not only are they daring to dream, but know that they will be supported in achieving those dreams,” said Clay.
Through summer workshops and building a college-going culture within a high school, students are able to discover and express their potential, and begin to see college as a realistic option. The impact of the program has not only been seen within the student population. A growing number of schools, teachers and counselors now have the tools through professional development training provided by College Summit on how to best support the needs of low-income students through the college application process. Educators are also using College Summit’s curriculum to break down the application process into easy-to-follow steps. Schools, too, now have the kind of data and support they need to make college access for all of their students a priority.
“We can see the culture taking place,” said Sonya Little, Beaumont High School counselor and College Summit Coordinator. “This year’s seniors were freshmen when we started, so they’ve never known anything else and you can see the difference. They’re motivated; they’re focused; they’re on top of things.”
Currently, College Summit is working with seniors at 11 partner schools, from the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) and the Wellston and Normandy districts, including Beaumont, Central VPA, Cleveland, Clyde C. Miller, Gateway, Roosevelt, Soldan, Sumner, Vashon high schools (SLPS); Normandy Senior High School (Normandy); Eskridge High School (Wellston).
About the award: FOCUS St. Louis recognizes excellence in everyday citizens and organizations working effectively to create a thriving and cooperative region. Each year 20 honorees are chosen, four in each of the five categories - Creating Quality Educational Opportunities, Demonstrating Innovative Solutions, Fostering Regional Cooperation, Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice, and Promoting Stronger Communities. Supported by nearly 1,000 members and representing all 16 counties of the bi-state region, FOCUS seeks to develop leadership opportunities for members of the community, foster regional collaboration, and promote community connections through activities and events.
Alumni Testimonial, Monte Chambers
Class of 2014
Bachelor of Arts, Biology and Spanish
University of Missouri-St. Louis
In college, I’ve learned so much about taking advantage of opportunities while staying focused on the ultimate goal. I know the importance of getting good advice and following through. I know I can depend on The Scholarship Foundation.
When Monte Chambers graduated from high school with his EMT certification in hand, he embarked on an ambitious plan to work full-time, attend school full-time, and complete a double major. At the time, he described himself as “determined, focused, and motivated.” That has not changed, but he’s learned some important skills in the meantime. Accustomed to being at the top of his class, he learned to seek help when he needed it during his first semesters in college. He realized the importance of putting his education first and accepting only those additional responsibilities that advance him toward the goal of succeeding academically in a supportive community.
Monte receives grant and loan aid from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an interest-free loan from The Scholarship Foundation. He works part-time with College Summit-St. Louis, providing him with an income while he shares what he has learned with younger students. Although his work schedule and financial situation required several semesters of part-time enrollment, he is now a full-time student who knows how to navigate the financial aid and academic support systems at his university. Monte is on an undeniable path to success.
College Summit-St. Louis’ VIP Reception
College Summit- St. Louis hosted a VIP Reception on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. This event showcased College Summit’s life-changing work in the St. Louis community. The reception took place at College Hall on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. Featured guests included Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, and Ashley Westbrook, College Summit Alumni.
Since 2005, College Summit – St. Louis has impacted the lives of more than 6,500 students, helping them realize their full potential by providing them with the support, tools and encouragement they need to enroll and succeed in college. It works collaboratively with school, district, community and university partners to raise college enrollment rates by advancing a systemic college-going culture in low-income communities that struggle with access to higher education.
What: Cocktail Party for Supporters and Friends
Where: Washington University College Hall, South 40 Campus
When: April 10, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Beneficiary: College Summit-St. Louis
Host(s): Washington University
Presenting Sponsor(s): Save-A-Lot, Hogan Trucking, Deaconess Foundation
Executive Director: Stacy Clay
Staff: Jim Schallom, Lauren Clasen, Erica Tyson, Leila Nguyen, Stacy Lewis, Dionne Ferguson, Johnni Walker- Gillespie
Introductions: Remarks-Stacy Clay
Speaker: Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent, St. Louis Public Schools; Ashley Westbrook, College Summit Alumna; Brian Hayden, Board Chair
Libations: Beer proudly donated from Anheuser-Busch
Catering: Bon Appetit
Sponsors: Event-McCormack Baron Salazar, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Monsanto, David and Jing Stiffler, The Commerce Trust Company; Additional Support From Kris and Chris Lewis, Alliance Foods, Inc.
Attendance: 80 Guests
Board of Directors: Officers-Scott Brooks, Patrick Brown, William M. Carson, John Gerber, Rhonda Gray, Brian Hayden, Chair, Kris Lewis, Viji Samikannu, Randy Sanderson, Linda Wendling, Pete Werner, John Williamson; Board Emeritus-Reginald Dickson, Dr. Otis Jackson
Photos by: Terry Baer
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and Taco Bell team up for college fair
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis will host the 6TH Annual St. Louis Citywide College Fair on October 18 & 19, 2012 at Herbert Hoover Club ( 2901 North Grand, St. Louis, MO 63107).
The St. Louis Citywide College Fair Series offers high school students and their families the opportunity to visit with College Admissions Counselors from local and regional colleges and universities consisting of four-year public and private institutions, 2-year Community Colleges, HBCU’s, and accredited colleges that specialize in health professions such as Colleges of Pharmacy, Medical Schools, and Schools of Nursing.
In addition, a parent workshop will be held to provide information about factors to consider when choosing a College. Speakers will address the following questions:
• Academic expectations of colleges
• Making a smooth transition to College Life
• What are the “hidden costs” involved in obtaining a College Degree
Panelists include representatives from:
• Alan Byrd-Dean of Enrollment, University of Missouri at St. Louis
• Ramon Blakely-Director of Admissions, Texas A& M University
• Angela Whitlow- College Access Provider
• Erica Tyson- College Summit
• Jessie McCoy - Account Manager at Commerce Bank
• LaShonda D. Smith - Parent
• Shawn Smith - Student at Missouri State University
The St. Louis Citywide College Fair Series is made possible by Taco Bell, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, and the St. Louis Citywide College Fair Series Committee. This committee was organized by area leaders who saw a need to service the students of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area by offering them access to colleges and universities. The volunteers serving on the committee of are representatives of local Colleges and Universities, as well as, representatives from area high schools and community organizations.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis is thrilled to be a part of the Graduate to Go Tour,” said Indio Sams, VP- Operations. “Not only is this fair a great opportunity for our Club youth to get needed access to college information and representatives, we also are excited to provide access to a valuable opportunity for the entire St. Louis community. ”
In 2012, Taco Bell Foundation for Teens will distribute more than $3.5 million in local grants to over 300 teen-serving organizations like BGCA throughout the country.
The fair schedule for Thursday October 18, consist of both a day College Fair (beginning at 8:30 am and ending at 2:00 pm) and an evening College Fair (beginning at 5 pm and ending at 7pm). On Friday October 19th, the fair continues and will consist of only a day College Fair scheduled for 8:30am- 2:00 pm, also to be held at the Herbert Hoover Club.
Celebrating our past What’s Right with the Region!
Today’s Honoree: College Summit – St. Louis
Year honoree was recognized: 2008
College Summit – St. Louis raises college enrollment rates by advancing a systemic college-going culture in communities within the St. Louis metropolitan area that strive for greater access to higher education. Through the delivery of tools and supports, and strategic collaborations within the community, College Summit promotes students’ postsecondary and career success. The organization targets young people who are college-capable but lack the knowledge, role models, and support systems that could help them achieve their college aspirations. Each capable young person is empowered not only to dream of college, but to achieve those dreams, becomes an agent of change in their school, family, and community.
Since receiving the What’s Right with the Region! award, College Summit – St. Louis continues to deliver stronger outcomes for our high school partners through a steady increase in the College Enrollment Rates of partner schools, particularly St. Louis Public Schools. They have expanded the scope of their programming to include Launch, a career and postsecondary planning curriculum designed to guide 11th grade students through high school on a college-ready path. To date, College Summit has helped more than 7,800 students achieve their dream of going to college. During the 2011-12 school year, they are supporting more than 1,700 students in 14 partner high schools in three districts as they navigate and complete the postsecondary planning process.
About What’s Right with the Region!
On Thursday, May 3, FOCUS St. Louis® will celebrate the 15th annual What’s Right with the Region! event. Over the past 15 years of this event, we have had the privilege of sharing the stories of over 300 great individuals, organizations, or initiatives working so hard for the greater good of the St. Louis region.
To commemorate this landmark anniversary, we will highlight several of our past honorees in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Read our blog to find out what our past honorees have accomplished since receiving their What’s Right with the Region! award, and we hope you will join us for the celebration on May 3!
College Access Challenge Grants Target Underserved Populations
This year the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded $1.5 million in federal funds to 17 groups to reach underserved students.
Jefferson City - Every student deserves an education, believes Jerod Morey, executive director of the non-profit organization, About Our Kids, Inc., based in Lamar, Mo.
“Education takes you places you could never go without it,” says Morey. “It is important because it stays with you forever, and no one can take it away.”
This week the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded Morey and his group a $100,000 College Access Challenge Grant to apply his philosophy in a two-county area hard hit by unemployment and the recession.
The historic mining areas of Vernon and Barton counties have lost 5,300 jobs since 2007. The child poverty rate is 42 percent, almost twice as high as the state average.
Students struggle economically and academically. Almost two-thirds of the students in the school districts targeted by About Our Kids failed to meet the state standard in reading; more than half did not meet the standards for math.
Morey says students in these situations need targeted interventions to put them on a path to completing high school and embarking on postsecondary education. With funds from the grant, About Our Kids will launch the Higher Education Access Route for Teens - HEART - to provide academic enrichment to 250 students.
College Access Challenge Grants were created by Congress in 2007 to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. This year the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded $1.5 million in federal funds to 17 groups to reach underserved students.
Other grant recipients are:
College Bound - St. Louis—$100,000
College Access Challenge Grant funds will assist College Bound with implementing a seven-year action plan for low-income, first-generation students and families.
College Summit - St. Louis—$100,000
College Summit builds the capacity of partner high schools to help transition students to college.
De La Salle Middle School - St. Louis—$99,902
De La Salle Middle School will provide effective information to students and families on postsecondary education benefits, opportunities, planning and career preparation.
Drury University, in close partnership with the Springfield Public Schools, conducts the Drury Scholars Program, a yearlong mentoring and tutoring initiative.
Full Employment Council, Inc.-Kansas City—$100,000
Full Employment Council, Inc. will provide career awareness, counseling, planning, financial literacy training, financial aid assistance and mentoring to 16- to 24-year-olds who are economically disadvantaged and underrepresented.
Infinite Scholars Program of Missouri - St. Louis—$93,920
The Infinite Scholars Program provides a combination of comprehensive early college access activities and career opportunity awareness activities to students and their families.
Missouri College Advising Corps - Columbia—$100,000
The Missouri College Advising Corps will provide “near-peer advisers” to high school students in Potosi, Salem, St. Clair, St. James and Sullivan to help them plan and prepare for college.
Missouri State University - Springfield—$100,000
Missouri State University will serve underrepresented students through the Missouri Innovation Academy, a program to foster sound financial and business practices, creativity, science, technology and career awareness.
Missouri State University - West Plains—$100,000
College Access Challenge Grant funds will be used to support and sustain Project Threshold, a program created to reach middle and high school students with information and resources for college preparation.
Northside Community Center - St. Louis—$92,061
Northside Community Center will partner with Washington University to provide college information, assistance, guidance and support for Beaumont High School and Confluence Preparatory Academy students.
St. Charles Community College - St. Charles—$98,675
St. Charles Community College will implement the PATH Project to target at-risk and/or underserved students in the areas of St. Charles, Lincoln, Montgomery, Pike and Warren counties.
St. Louis Internship Program - St. Louis—$42,116
St. Louis Internship Program helps at-risk students connect academics to the world of work, envision a future, complete high school and prepare for postsecondary education.
Southeast Missouri State University - Cape Girardeau—$100,000
Southeast Missouri State University will provide college planning and financial literacy training for K-12 students, families, and staff in the Cape Girardeau Public School District.
State Fair Community College - Sedalia—$100,000
State Fair Community College will use College Access Challenge Grant funds for their A.C.E Program—Advantages of College Education—to increase the number of underserved Missourians in their 14-county service area.
Truman State University - Kirksville—$37,120
Truman State’s BULLDOG Program will partner with 10 area high schools in northeast Missouri to provide outreach related to financial literacy, ACT prep, and assistance in completing the FAFSA.
The University of Missouri 4-H Extension - Columbia—$100,000
The University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for youth development will make college an obtainable goal for high school youth in St. Louis, Kansas City and southeast Missouri.
Wyman Center, Inc. - St. Louis—$99,959
Wyman Center, Inc. implements programs that inspire and enable teens from economically disadvantaged circumstances to develop the confidence and skills they need to achieve a lifetime of success.
College Summit helps St. Louis Public Schools raise college enrollment rate by nearly 5%
College Summit has helped increase the number of students going on to postsecondary education in St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) by nearly 5% in just one year. The district-wide College Enrollment Rate is the single most important indicator of our success, and we could not be more proud of our students’ accomplishments.
This week, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released data showing that for the Class of 2011, 68.9% of graduating seniors enrolled in a postsecondary education program last fall. This compares to 64% for the Class of 2010. In our seven-year partnership with SLPS, we have helped increase this critical indicator by nearly 20%.
College Enrollment Rate Class of 2010 and 2011 SLPS
Class of… College Enrollment Rate
Class of 2010 64%
Class of 2011 68.9%
While we are excited about these numbers, we recognize this data represents more young people realizing their dream of college. Even with this news, we know there is still more to be done. College Summit will continue to work towards the day when every student will be empowered and equipped with the resources to meet their full potential by going to college. Thank you for your continued support.
Workshops Season 2012
We began our 11th workshop season in June by holding our Staff Orientation and Alumni Training. It was an opportunity for our Summer Workshop team to meet each other, learn more about our work throughout the school year, and get prepared for the Workshop Season.
With all their enthusiasm and hard work, we hosted 3 workshops at UC Berkeley and 1 at University of the Pacific (Stockton) and trained 187 Peer Leaders from 12 different Bay Area partner high schools in leadership skills and financial literacy. 61 individual volunteers spent over 60 hours each in support the creating of personal statements or college lists as a Writing or College Coach. The work doesn’t stop there. School is back in session and we already have Peer Leaders engaged in making their school and peers ready for college.
A Peer Leader from Oakland High says it best:
“I am home now! After four-day experience in College Summit, I seem to be brainwashed.
It was trust, courage letting us open up to each other; tears are our release and appreciated.
For me, these are not four days, but the courage of following my own heart and the hope of pursuing my dream.
Thank you for giving me courage to share my story!
Thank you for helping me find my path!
Thanks all Peer Leaders and staffs!
THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, COLLEGE SUMMIT!!! Oh Yeah!!”
– Stephy Liang
Deloitte Impact Day
On June 8th, our Advisory Board member, Tania Adams-Webb and her team at Deloitte led “Deloitte Impact Day” at Castlemont High School in Oakland. The Deloitte team of over 20 volunteers facilitated Workshops for the entire junior class.
The day began with Keynote Speaker Cathy Benko, Vice Chairman for Deloitte and first in her family to go to college; Cathy earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from Ramapo College (New Jersey). After the keynote, the students rotated through sessions in Resume Creation, Time & Stress Management, and Financial Aid/ Financial Planning. During a catered lunch, students heard from a panel of Deloitte interns who are current college students and Castlemont graduates.
These students shared about the freshman year transition to college and the challenges they faced. They also took questions from students that varied from discussing roommates to going to parties and managing their time between classes and work. Overall, we had an entire junior class engaged and ready to get as much out the day as possible. Thank you Deloitte!
Peer Leader of the Year Profile
Claudia Suarez won the distinguished 2012 Peer Leader of the Year Award at our Heart, Mind and Spirit Awards ceremony at Scott’s Seafood in Oakland this past spring. The Peer Leader of the Year exemplifies all three of our values: the heart of a great teacher, the mind of an innovator, and the spirit of an inspired student. Claudia comes from a Spanish-speaking family that is unfamiliar with the requirements to get into college.
“College Summit gave me a big head start,” she says. “I needed it.” An educator who nominated Claudia said, “Claudia possesses an individual, passionate, and sincere approach to learning. She is naturally curious, intrinsically motivated, thinks outside the box…she is the type of student that challenges me to be a better teacher. When it was crunch time for the November 30 deadline for CSUs and UCs, she stayed up late on the phone with other seniors to help them with their applications. Despite difficult challenges she has faced in her family and personal life, she perseveres and has a humble resiliency.”
Claudia graduated from East Oakland School of the Arts (Castlemont High School) in June and also spent part of her summer as a guest blogger with KQED’s American Graduate Initiative. She will be using her new fully loaded laptop- courtesy of Darden Restaurants-to attend UC Santa Cruz and to study Environmental Science.
I actually love research in the social sciences, and like many I am currently enjoying Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed” – a book about the skills and character traits like perseverance that transcend academic & cognitive skills and, when developed, can lead to better outcomes in college and beyond for students. For our children.
At the same time I notice (I am guilty!), that I feel more certain of what I have learned by experience, and what I have learned from educators who share their experiences from being in schools most days, when a researcher validates it with a telling series of longitudinal surveys or a deft experiment involving one marshmallow now or two, later.
So now we really know that students, children, need not only cognitive skills to succeed in college and life, need not only academics in school, but need to develop their capacities for things like self-advocacy, asking for help, building a network of support, rebounding from stressful interactions, self-determination, persistence & grit.
And we’re hearing that poverty itself can be a challenge (research shows), but really it’s the chronic stress of poverty to watch out for, and actually it’s how one responds to the chronic stress that will predict one’s fate. I believe that it is all very real, and that it’s very important to understand that landscape while supporting more positive outcomes for children.
And yet, every day in our schools there are reminders of the acute impacts of poverty. There is hunger, and there is the need for healthcare, and there is the ongoing violence that our students are experiencing – part of the fabric of their everyday lives. Our students experience danger, fear, and of course a huge distraction to learning.
And so, as we all come to learn more about the educational impacts of chronic stress, I offer this reminder, that we have a shared responsibility to support the academic & ‘character’ development of all students in our public schools, and so we all share a fundamental, collective, civic responsibility to support our educators and school leaders and to create environments that are safe for real learning (to, from, and at school).
We believe there are many, many children still hoping that we accept this responsibility, and our team acknowledges the people in our schools and communities who carry it every day.
CSNY’s 2012 Volunteer Reception
On Thursday, September 20th, more than 40 volunteers and supporters of College Summit NY gathered for an evening of light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments at Harbour Lights Restaurant for our Volunteer Appreciation Mixer. 3 alumni of College Summit NY who recently graduated from college were highlighted for their recent volunteer experiences. Executive Director Mike Everett-Lane thanked volunteers for their commitment to support and inspire Peer Leaders in their post-secondary planning and Operations Program Manager Gary Linnen presented upcoming volunteer opportunities. Some opportunities included our 7th Annual Peer Leadership Conference in mid-October as well as an upcoming Career Week in December. College Summit NY is excited to develop new and innovative opportunities for volunteers to lend their support and expertise for our Peer Leaders!
College Summit Selected for BlackRock’s “Connectivity and Giving Day” Donation
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland and College Summit are Recipients of “Connectivity and Giving” Program Donation Led by BlackRock, Inc. and its Partner Firms.
BlackRock and the 49ers Foundation present a check for $830,000 to Children’s Hospital Oakland Foundation and College Summit. From left to right: David Pope, BlackRock; Geoffrey Flynn, BlackRock; Kara Helander, BlackRock; John York, San Francisco 49ers; Dr. Keith Frome, co-founder of College Summit; Dr. Bert Lubin, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Oakland; Jed York, San Francisco 49ers; Robert Fischbach, BlackRock; Mike Latham, BlackRock.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 20, 2011 - Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland and College Summit, a nonprofit organization that partners with high schools to raise college-going and success rates, received more than $830,000 donation from a “Connectivity and Giving” program led by BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) and partner firms. The one day program took place on October 14th.
“We are delighted to receive this gift from BlackRock and its partner firms which represents the largest corporate contribution to Children’s Hospital Oakland this year,” said Bert Lubin, MD, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. “The community spirit Blackrock employees and their partners exemplify is inspiring, and the money raised will help Children’s continue to offer Bay Area kids the most innovative, up-to-date healthcare available.”
Also receiving a donation is College Summit Northern California. “The generosity of these firms to give back to their communities and support high school students in the Bay Area is deeply admirable,” said Paul Collins, Executive Director of College Summit Northern California. “This gift demonstrates to area students that the people and businesses in our community care and want them to succeed.”
Over 600 participants from BlackRock and partner firms, including S&P Indices, Russell Investments, Northern Trust and others, raised funds for what marked the largest fundraising program to date for BlackRock’s San Francisco office.
“We’re proud to support the life-saving mission of Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. We believe that gathering BlackRock’s employees together with our partner firms is more meaningful and impactful than doing it alone, and also creates a stronger, more unified community,” said Michael Latham, co-head of BlackRock’s San Francisco office who presented the checks to Mr. Lubin and Dr. Keith Frome, co-founder of College Summit.
BlackRock partnered with the 49ers Foundation, the non-profit community funding extension of the San Francisco 49ers, which acts as a pass-through for all donations received in support of the fundraiser.
About Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland is a not-for-profit pediatric medical center providing high quality medical care to all children, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. We are Northern California’s premier resource for children’s health and well-being: a center of excellence in pediatric healthcare, research, child advocacy and medical training for nearly 100 years. As the region’s only comprehensive, independent pediatric medical center, we focus 100 percent on kids. http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org
About College Summit
College Summit was founded 18 years ago in the basement of a low-income housing development by a teen center director, J.B. Schramm, who saw how college transformed the lives of young people in the neighborhood, and how peer influence pushed some students off the college path, and spurred other students to thrive. From that modest experience, College Summit has grown to serving more than 30,000 students annually in 170 partner high schools in 12 states by providing a comprehensive system for improving college-going and success rates.
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At June 30, 2011, BlackRock’s AUM was $3.659 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients’ needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including separate accounts, mutual funds, iSharesR (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock SolutionsR. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2011, the firm has approximately 9,700 employees in 26 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.
Executive Director’s Corner
Dear Partners & Supporters of College Summit’s Work:
Access. Persistence. Success.
How are they going for you? Was access something you fought for, or were born with? Or in between? How’s your capacity to stick with it, and how did you develop it? And when did it really kick into gear … or has it? And, are you successful? Sort of, or very? Were you? Will you be again?
And how do you measure all that? … Take your time, please. Think about it.
At College Summit Northern California, we are a part of overlapping communities in the Bay Area – high schools, non-profits, colleges, funders; and students, teachers, administrators, community supporters – that are working towards increased access for individual students and different classes of students (low-income, kids of color, disenfranchised, undocumented, better than their numbers).
We are driven by the belief that each student, and all students, are deserving of the chance to find their grit, to persist, to keep learning & growing, to explore various pathways to success, and ultimately to have a chance to answer these questions for themselves, with and within their own communities.
I recently watched an inspired TED Talk by Jill Vialet, Founder of Playworks, who ended by quoting Bill Russell (Hall of Fame basketball star) saying “In America, there are no ‘other people’s children’.”
Might that change how we measure our success?
I have come to realize that the more I immerse myself in the challenges, victories, setbacks and free passes on my own journey of access, persistence, and success – and listen to the stories of others - the more able I am to appreciate the humanity, the complexity, and the courage of the students and educators with whom we are privileged to work.
At College Summit, we remain a data-driven organization, dedicated to a data-driven mission, to increase educational access and success for communities of talented, low-income youth.
And, we continue to applaud our high school & community partners for the hard, daily work of caring about the journeys of all students, towards truly better outcomes for our youth – however difficult (and important) that is to measure.
Report Cites College Summit as Successful Model for improving College Readiness
Independent think tank Education Sector released a new report about needing an education system in California that is “truly focused on postsecondary readiness.” Specifically, they argue that a new system should give educators “detailed information about how their students fare after graduation so they could learn whether those students were ready for college or the workforce, and if they weren’t, how they could be served better.”
The report cites College Summit as an “innovative partner” for school districts to work toward improving postsecondary readiness. The report features a College Summit partner high school and educators as well as Northern California’s Executive Director.
“What teachers really care about, beyond college enrollment, is whether their students are being successful,” notes Paul Collins, executive director of College Summit, Northern California. While the overall data picture is essential, hearing specific names of students failing or succeeding “really makes it real,” he says. Surveys, Facebook pages, alumni groups, and even formal counseling programs all help to connect graduates back with their high schools.
Welcome to New Executive Director Mike Everett-Lane and School Partnership Manager Shannon Ortiz
College Summit New York welcomes Mike Everett-Lane and Shannon Ortiz to the team.
Mike Everett-Lane joins College Summit New York as our new Executive Director. Mike brings over 18 years of nonprofit experience in executive leadership, digital and traditional fundraising, and communications. Prior to joining College Summit, Mike served as the Executive Director of the Northeast Region of DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that connects donors to public school classrooms in need. He also helped bring resources to public schools while at Computers for Youth, directed social enterprise ventures for Project Renewal, which serves single homeless adults in New York City, and worked to improve the East Harlem community while at the Union Settlement Association. Mike is the co-founder of ImprovEdge, a consulting company that provides corporate leadership training. He recently joined the board of Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn. He received his BA from Yale University and his MBA from Harvard.
Shannon Ortiz plans to share her knowledge, skills and passion for college access with the schools she’ll be supporting as a School Partnership Manager. Most recently, Shannon worked for New Visions for Public Schools in their EPO department, which supported the Turnaround Model in high schools. Formerly an English teacher at a College Summit partner high school in New Haven, Shannon designed Imaginate (a mentoring program) to address the low rate of college application among Puerto Rican males. Shannon has an affinity for research and has collaborated on various projects with Education Pioneers, Yale University and Hunter College. She is currently working on a Master’s degree at New York University focusing on residential and educational policies that impact Puerto Rican and African American families. When she is not supporting students in accessing higher education, she enjoys gardening, practicing Krav Maga martial arts and anything Zombie related.
Over 400 NY Peer Leaders Start Their College Journeys
College Summit New York’s summer programming included 11 workshops on the campuses of Amherst College, Daemen College, Manhattan College, Monmouth University and Yale University. These four-day workshops prepared 430 members of the Class of 2013 for college and developed their capacity as Peer Leaders to guide their classmates’ postsecondary planning this fall.
Lumeshwar Kumar, Peer Leader from the Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship, said of his workshop, “This College Summit experience was the most amazing and emotional part of my life. I’m now starting to see life in a new light…From today forward there will be a new Lumeshwar because I am part of the College Summit family.”
Nearly 160 volunteers supported students by researching college options and guiding students through the personal statement writing process. Writing Coach Nicole Boden described her experience as one, “I can’t stop telling people about… I really enjoyed working with the kids on their personal statements… they all have such incredible stories and they all changed my life.”
Students were also supported by 55 Alumni Leaders, former Peer Leaders now in college, who serve as role models and share their experiences in reaching college. Alumnus Aadon Penny remarked that “the strength and gumption these Peer Leaders display inspires me to look forward to my next time as a volunteer.”
Hannah Tall: College Summit’s First Fulbright Scholar Heads to Colombia
College Summit’s first Fulbright Scholar, Hannah Tall, recently graduated from Pace University and has begun her year-long Fulbright Scholarship, teaching English at the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada in Bogatá, Colombia.
While studying at Pace, Hannah traveled to Peru as a Gilman Scholar and taught English for six months. This experience sparked her interest in the Fulbright program. “A three year old boy named Paulo was my inspiration. One of the other students asked me how to say yellow in English. After I answered his question, Paulo, who just happened to be listening, repeated my answer. It didn’t dawn on me that he was listening. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to teach.”
Hannah participated in College Summit at Frederick Douglass Academy II in Harlem, and subsequently worked as an Alumni Leader during her summers. Asked what College Summit lessons she will take to Colombia, Hannah said, “As an Alumni Leader you learn how to be flexible and adapt to various situations.”
Hannah is taking photos, and a poster made by friends with quotes, to prevent homesickness. Another reminder of home, a bottle of barbeque sauce, was something she missed during earlier travels. She says, “When I was in Peru I asked for barbeque sauce. They didn’t know what I was talking about and they gave me something that wasn’t even close. This time I will be prepared.”
Congratulations, Hannah, and best wishes!
Welcome Jeff Mischka
The Southern California Region is proud to welcome Jeff Mischka onto our Regional Advisory Board.
Mr. Mischka returned to Southern California several years ago to lead Deloitte LLP’s Media and Entertainment consulting practice in the Pacific Southwest. His clients include several of the largest media conglomerates in the United States and abroad and he has earned several awards for Quality and Risk Management over the course of his career.
Mr. Mischka plays an active role in volunteer and community efforts in LA, including spending the last three year leading Deloitte’s formal mentoring program for City Year Los Angeles.
We are honored and excited to gain Mr. Mischka as a partner in the fight to prepare every student for a postsecondary education!
College Summit Featured on Fox 11, Again!
The Southern California Region is blessed to have a partner and friend in Christine Devine, Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter at KTTV Fox 11 News. Ms. Devine joined College Summit at the University of Southern California on Friday, August 3 to learn more about College Summit, observe the Workshop, and interview several volunteers, alumni, and Peer Leaders for a story on just what makes the Peer Leader Workshop so special. The story aired on Tuesday, Aug 7, and again on Saturday, Aug 11.
Congrats and thank you to Peer Leaders Bishop Jones (Washington Prep High), Phoebe Williams (Inglewood High), and Elizabeth Cortez (Arleta High), Sylmar High teacher and veteran volunteer Laurie Kornblau, and Alumni Leaders Portia Tolliver (CSUB), Cherry Laus (MSMC), and Raúl Velez (CSUN) for your exceptional interviews!
You can watch the story online by clicking this link. Please share with your friends, family, and online networks! We are so proud of our students, alumni, and volunteers!
Thank you again to Christine Devine, Kingsley Smith, Michele Yanik, Jose Rios, and everyone at KTTV FOX 11 for your ongoing support and the compelling story!
College Summit Welcomes New Volunteers
The SoCal Region is thrilled to announce two new partnerships with local groups in the community who are committed to educational causes and supporting youth in their community.
The Loyola Marymount University Accounting Society is an undergraduate student group that provides accounting majors with professional development and career insights, along with opportunities to get involved with local groups like College Summit. The group is excited to come out to local schools and help students complete their college applications and financial aid paperwork.
Boeing’s Hispanic Employee Network (BHEN) seeks to cultivate a diverse and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace, while encouraging its members to contribute as community leaders. In the past, BHEN has provided scholarships to local high school students and hosted events aiming to increase young Latinos’ interest in science, engineering, and math.
Are you part of a group that’s looking to make a difference? Become an official volunteering partner of College Summit and gain access to direct volunteering opportunities to work with youth in your community and help them get to college.
Our Best Summer Yet!
This summer, 288 seniors attended their College Summit Workshop and started their journey as “Peer Leaders.” During their weekend-long college-going boot camps at the University of Redlands and the University of Southern California, workshops of 55-60 students…
For many of our students, this workshop represents a life-changing experience where they internalize the message that they can go to college, and, together, they will. Peer Leader Amy Barrios, senior Peer Leader at Bernstein APEX Academy, wrote this thank you note, exemplifying the confidence and passion that Peer Leaders gain through their Workshop:
“Thank you so much for giving me four of the best days of my life. The entire College Summit family helped me grow and face my obstacles. If it wasn’t for this experience, I would have probably never shared my obstacles during the rap session with anyone. Thanks so much and I hope to keep in touch with all of the alumni, staff, and peer leaders!”
This Fall, these inspired seniors will propel the drive to foster a college-going culture on their campus by planning 2-3 college-going events per semester, such as pep rallies, creating a College Summit homecoming float, and events around their college-going milestones, such as the application, SAT/ACT, and FAFSA. Through these events and the support they’ll lend to their peers in navigating the college-going process, Peer Leaders are the engines in the drive to foster a college-going culture on their campus.
Thank you also to the 84 Writing Coaches and College Coaches who gave up one (or more!) weekends to serve the youth in your community. We hope that you left your Workshop as inspired as you were exhausted.
To each Peer Leader in the Class of 2013:
We can’t wait to see what amazing things you do this year!
College Summit Featured on Fox 11 News
Through a growing partnership with Fox 11 News and Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter Christine Devine, College Summit and Arleta High School were recently featured on Fox 11 News at 10!
Through her interviews with several college-bound Peer Leaders, Principal Linda Calvo, and College Counselor Beth Winningham, Ms. Devine tells the story of a high school that has made monumental strides in fostering a culture where college talk is commonplace, students are going to college, and the expectation that all students will attend college is the norm.
Welcome, Carla and Johnny!
We’re excited to introduce two new members of the College Summit family: Carla Rojas and Johnny Mendoza. These two college students will be joining us for the summer to provide administrative support as we prepare for and host our Peer Leader Workshops.
Carla Rojas (Volunteer) is a first-time volunteer with College Summit and a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood. She began her college career at UC Riverside and recently transferred to El Camino College to be closer to her family, where she hopes to major in Graphic Design or Liberal Arts. “I wanted to do something enjoyable and productive this summer, and so when I learned that College Summit needed a volunteer, I jumped at the opportunity to be part of an awesome program for our youth,” says Karla. In addition to her time at College Summit, Karla works part-time at her family’s dental office in Inglewood.
Johnny Mendoza (Intern) is a graduate of Warren High School in Downey. He briefly attended Cerritos College, where he developed an interest in computers, and will be attending El Camino College in the fall and studying computer design, coding, and programming. Johnny is working with College Summit this summer “to gain real life experience in a nonprofit organization. I wanted to be able to see and work behind the scenes using my expertise in technology and skills wherever possible.” In addition to his time at College Summit, Johnny loves sports and video games.
Working Together, We Can Do More
As we increase our scope of service and community presence, we seek also to expand our Regional Advisory Board. The Board provides an opportunity for passionate and connected individuals like you to serve your community in a meaningful way, by providing expertise and guidance as we grow our region, supporting our expansion into new districts and schools, and helping us increase our community visibility.
We currently have eight open spots on our board for individuals who are committed to making Los Angeles a city where all students are expected and have the resources to go to college.
Already overcommitted? We would greatly appreciate your help in spreading the message of the work we do, our vision for growth, and the available board positions.
Another Year of Successes
During the 2011-12 academic year, the Southern California region continued its work with seven high schools in Los Angeles and Inglewood Unified School Districts (Sun Valley, Sylmar, Arleta, Fairfax, Washington; Inglewood, Morningside), and joined forces with an eighth high school at Centinela Valley Unified (Lawndale). We served a total of 2,726 students, a 94% increase in total students from two years prior (1,402). Of this number 210 were Peer Leaders, 1,552 were seniors, and 1,174 were 9th through 11th graders. Since our region was established in 2003-04, the Southern California region has worked with 10,188 students.
The Southern California region saw impressive outcomes during the 2011-12 year. Among the 1,552 seniors served, 75% submitted college applications and 75% submitted the FAFSA. Among the 737 seniors (46%) who completed their A-G requirements, 98% applied to four year institutions. Among the 217 Peer Leaders we served in 2011-12, 98% completed a Personal Statement, 72% took the SAT/ACT, more than 87% sent in college applications, and 78% submitted the FAFSA.
In bringing about these results, College Summit interfaced with more than 70 educators across Los Angeles, providing robust training on the college-going process and fostering students’ leadership skills to create college-going cultures on their campus.
College Summit Class of 2012, we salute you!
College Summit Welcomes New Schools
College Summit is proud to welcome several new partner high schools to its lineup of local schools that are committed to sending more students to college and fostering college-going cultures on their campuses in 2012-13. Please join us in welcoming…
Together, these schools will be serving nearly 900 seniors and 1,100 9th through 11th graders. More than 110 Peer Leaders will attend a summer workshop, where they will learn the basics of the college-going process, participate in valuable leadership sessions, and gain the skills to be agents of change on their high school campuses. We look forward to working with the teachers, counselors, Principals and Assistant Principals who will help implement the College Summit program and facilitate the success of their students!
College Summit Southern California would like to acknowledge the following individuals for their support in bringing the program to their campuses: Ms. Mónica García; Mr. Alfonso Paz; Dr. Rachel Livingston; Dr. Carolyn Kavner; Mr. Jose Navarro; Ms. Heather Daims; Mr. Alfonzo Webb; Mr. Eftihia Danellis; Ms. Donna De Loera; Mr. Ben Gertner; and Mr. Ricardo Chavarria.
Thank you also to our generous funders for your ongoing financial support of the College Summit program: including Tobi Inlender Goldman Sachs, Weingart Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Edison International, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc, Ralphs Parsons Foundation, Rose Hills Foundations, Carl Wynn Foundation, Deloitte Future Fund, Citibank Foundation and numerous individuals like you!
College Summit Awards Recap
The Southern California region’s Fourth Annual College Summit Awards Ceremony was held on May 17, 2012 at the Centinela Valley Center for the Arts on the campus of Lawndale High School. The evening was hosted by Emmy Award-winning Fox 11 news anchor and reporter Christine Devine, and keynote speeches were delivered by Alumni Leaders Timmetrius Henry (UCLA, ’12) and Dennis Zapata (Cal Poly SLO, ’14).
The evening featured an exciting nominees video, produced by Phil Ebiner of TakePart.com, as well as performances by Get Lit, LA’s leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs, and the Omega Gents and the Kappa League, auxiliary organizations of Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities, Inc. based at Morningside High School, who, in addition to their focus on community service, leadership development, and academic success, practice and perform step routines across Southern California.
The event was attended by 150 Peer Leaders, 20 local educators and administrators, 40 speakers and performers, 15 alumni and volunteers, and 15 Peer Leader family members. Representatives from the following companies and institutions were also present: Deloitte LLP, Darden Restaurants, University of Redlands, The Boeing Company, and the Writer’s Guild of America.
The Southern California region recognized or awarded the following individuals or schools: Cherry Joy Laus, Alumni Leader (Alumnus Recognition); Dr. Reginald Sirls, Principal, and Ms. Joyce Rushing, Assistant Principal, of Morningside High (Administrator Recognition); Laurie Kornblau, Sylmar High School (Educator of the Year); Morningside High School (Deloitte Award for College-Going Culture); and Sherokee Glasgo, Lawndale High School (Darden Peer Leader of the Year Award).
Congratulations to all our winners and participants! Missed the video? Check it out here: 2012 College Summit Awards Ceremony Video
College Summit’s Peer Leader Workshops represent a seminal experience for our students. Fifteen percent of participating seniors attend these weekend-long retreats to local universities, where many get a first taste of college life. They live in the dorms, eat in the dining halls, and participate in sessions each day on the college-going process and how to foster a sustainable college-going culture on their high school campus.
During their workshops, students work directly with volunteer writing coaches and volunteer college coaches to create realistic college lists, look ahead toward their senior year, and draft a first draft of their personal statement. When they enter their senior year in September, these students lead the charge in support their peers to get to college.
Volunteer Writing Coaches work with groups of 4-5 students, helping them turn their struggles and achievements into A-grade college essays. These essays will serve as the foundation for students’ college applications and scholarship essays.
Volunteer College Coaches work with groups of about 12 students, guiding them in evaluating their transcripts and creating the ever-important college list. They also support students in planning out their senior year and what it will take to reach their goals.
This summer College Summit Southern California will be hosting five workshops. The confirmed dates and locations are:
Ready to register? Visit our Volunteer Website and update your Volunteer Profile with any new addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Lost your email login or password? Just let me know! I can access and change that for you.
New to College Summit? First, create a Volunteer Profile. From there, select the workshops you’re available to attend. We’ll be in contact shortly!
Another Year of Success!
We could not be more proud of our schools for the tremendous outcomes we’re seeing this year. As a result of thousands of hours of work by our partner educators and administrators, local staff, and talented Peer Leaders, College Summit Southern California touched the lives of 1,812 seniors and 1,174 9th through 11th graders this year.
Here is a snapshot of their accomplishments:
You’re invited to the 2012 College Summit Awards Ceremony!
Our Peer Leaders and educators have worked hard for an entire year supporting students on their college path and fostering college-going cultures on their campuses. Now, it’s our turn to celebrate their accomplishments! The College Summit Awards Ceremony is our chance to honor the Peer Leaders, educators, administrators, school, alumni, and volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of students in their communities.
We’re thrilled to welcome this year’s host, Emmy Award-winning Fox 11 Anchor and Reporter Christine Devine. In addition, College Summit will be giving out three special awards this year:
We invite you to join us for this celebration!
Our volunteers come from all walks of life to give back to their communities, build leadership skills, and flex their creativity. Rocio is one of our favorites! Read on to learn more about her.
Rocio de la Torre, MSW
Occupation: Social Worker, LA County Department of Child and Family Services
How did you get connected to College Summit?
A friend from undergrad worked for College Summit and told me about the program. I have always been interested in higher education and access for students from all rungs of the socioeconomic status. I also love working with children and teens and this granted me the opportunity to do so. My first year was in 2005 and I loved the program so much that I have been doing it every summer since.
Why do you volunteer for College Summit?
College Summit is an amazing program. It truly gives youth who never thought they would go to college the confidence to do so. Not only is it the first time that some youth see themselves attending college, but it gives them the tools as well! By the end of students’ workshops, going to college is no longer an abstract concept but a reachable goal. I have kept in touch with some of my students throughout the years, and all of them have gone off to college and some are doing amazing things.
What lessons have you learned through your experiences with College Summit?
I have learned to never underestimate the capabilities of these youth. I have had a number of sessions where one or two Peer Leaders seem apathetic to the process. They start off more interested in the workshop’s social activities than in their personal statement or college list. Yet somehow, as if by magic, by the end of the weekend they always have some kind of “epiphany” and end up writing one of the best personal statements of the bunch! It never fails.
Anything else you want potential volunteers to know?
If you’ve been thinking about connecting with an organization but you can’t decide which one, you HAVE TO try volunteering for College Summit at least once. Not only do you change lives, but these youth will truly change your life as well. At the end of the weekend, during the “closing circle,” there is not a dry eye in the room. The coolest kid, the tallest football player, sometimes even the apathetic kid with the attitude who you thought you would never get through – all of them will touch your heart. You will feel wonderful knowing that you had an impact.
Philanthropist Melanie Lundquist Joins SoCal Advisory Board
College Summit Southern California is proud to welcome a new member to our regional Advisory Board – philanthropist and writer Melanie Lundquist. Mrs. Lundquist is perhaps best known for her generous support of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and for her education advocacy writings in the Huffington Post. Mrs. Lundquist comes to College Summit bringing a wealth of connections within the Los Angeles community, a passion for social justice, and a robust vision for the growth of College Summit within Southern California.
“We could not be more thrilled with the addition of Mrs. Lundquist to our Advisory Board,” says Alexis Shah, Southern California Executive Director. “With Melanie on our team, the SoCal region gains a powerful partner in education and a stalwart advocate for youth empowerment and postsecondary advancement.” Mrs. Lundquist enters College Summit with a bang, taking an active role in the organizing and execution of our first large-scale fundraiser, which occurred at the Ritz Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles this past March.
Free Money Goes Fast!
With the support of more than 30 volunteers, College Summit participated in six financial aid workshops during the months of January and February. The objective of these events was to help students complete the dreaded FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before the March 3 deadline, while also giving them the tools to support their fellow students in filling out the forms. Completion of the FAFSA allows the government to determine a student’s eligibility for student financial aid, including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans, and Federal Work-Study.
With an average of 20 students attending each workshop, College Summit volunteers worked directly with more than 100 local students to help them complete this crucial paperwork.
Why is this one form so important? According to Heather Novak, a statistical analyst at Colorado State University, “students who have filed a FAFSA have 72% higher odds of persisting” to their second year of college. This effect was even higher on lower-income Pell Grant eligible students, who move forward to their second year 122% more than those who do not file a FAFSA. Given that College Summit works exclusively with low-income high schools, this suggests that our work goes even further to empower students to succeed.
Interested in getting involved in these crucial activities? Let us know!
Workshops in Sight!
Do you remember your first workshop? The butterflies in your stomach? The excited energy in the room? So do we! We’ve been hard at work during the last month hiring this summer’s Core Staff and scheduling these four-day retreats at local universities, where volunteers like you work directly with our rising senior students to help them chart a path to postsecondary success.
Writing Coaches work with groups of 4-6 students, helping them turn their struggles and achievements into A-grade college essays. These essays will serve as the foundation for students’ college applications and scholarship essays. The only requirement to be a WC is a bachelor’s degree, and WCs make up 75% of our summer volunteers. This summer, we have 90 open spaces for Writing Coaches.
College Coaches work with groups of 11-13 students, guiding them in evaluating their transcripts and creating the ever-important college list. They also support students in creating a vision for their senior year and what it will take to reach their goals. CCs must have experience in counseling, and make up about 25% of our summer volunteers. This year we have 30 open spaces for College Coaches.
Below are the following confirmed workshop dates and locations:
Ready to register? Visit our Volunteer Website and update your Volunteer Profile with any new addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. New with College Summit? Create a Volunteer Profile. From there, you can select the workshops you’d like to attend.
College Summit Volunteers at USC last summer
Items of Note
In Their Own Words
“College Summit is important not just because it helps you down the path to college, but because it helps you become the person you are meant to be. If it weren’t for College Summit and the family I gained along the way, I would not be the person I am today.”
New Year’s Celebration a Smash
On January 5, the Southern California region hosted its annual New Year’s Celebration, which was attended by more than 30 alumni, volunteers, and educators. New volunteer Shiwan Tribbet applauded the party as, “The best New Year’s party I went to this year! I loved seeing all the alumni reconnecting, laughing, and having a great time!”
Financial Aid Night at Lawndale High a Roaring Success
On Thursday, January 19, nine volunteers – including educators, counselors, businesspeople and accountants – came together at Lawndale High to help senior students complete their FAFSA paperwork. Nearly 30 students walked away with their questions answered and this crucial application completed. Think FAFSA!
Seeking Advisory Board Members
College Summit Southern California is seeking dedicated community leaders to serve on its Advisory Board. The SoCal Advisory Board is currently staffed by an all-star team including Alonzo Salazar (Deloitte LLP), Mónica García (LAUSD), and Lee Reherman. These individuals support College Summit Southern California by reviewing our regional development and strategic plans, engaging community linkages, and promoting philanthropic growth. If you or someone you know is interested in education, non-profits, and real change in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders, please contact our Executive Director, Alexis Shah.
Alumni Liaison Board in Full Swing
Last Summer after the workshop season, Alumni Leader Meisha Reneau (Inglewood High, ‘08) approached Ed Rice, Southern California’s Program Manager, with an idea. What if – she asked –alumni of the program could team up with their old high schools to support the next generation of Peer Leaders? Together with the help of Community Engagement Coordinator Brian Rosenbaum, Meisha’s dream is now a reality. It’s called the Alumni Liaison Board.
There are few people better equipped to support Peer Leaders than Alumni Leaders – those former College Summit participants who have moved up the ladder to provide support at summer workshops. Ninety percent of 2011 Alumni Leaders were Peer Leaders, so they have a solid grasp of the College Summit curriculum and process. Alumni Leaders also know the challenges current students face; most are only a few years removed from high school, and many come from similar cultural and class backgrounds as the Peer Leaders.
The mission of the Alumni Liaison Board is to actively support the organization by: providing input from the alumni perspective, helping College Summit Alumni stay connected to each other and to the organization, and supporting current Peer Leaders complete the college-going process, while representing the student-to-alumni life cycle.
“The Alumni Liaison Board is a great opportunity to give back and stay connected to College Summit,” says Dennis Zapata, who graduated from Crenshaw High in 2009. “I love working with the Peer Leaders and seeing them complete their milestones. It gives me such pride to see them succeed in ways they never thought were possible.”
Two Alumni Liaisons are assigned to each partner high school, and visit their school monthly to support Peer Leaders and program implementation. The Board also meets monthly to review their work, troubleshoot difficulties, and share ideas on how to engage Peer Leaders and College Summit participants. Rosenbaum, who oversees the Board, is amazed by the passion these alumni bring to their work. “Despite being college students and, for some, also working part-time, these alumni bring a passion like I’ve never seen. Seeing them grow as leaders and critical thinkers is truly an honor.”
Are you an alumnus interested in giving back to your alma mater and reconnecting with your College Summit family? Let us know!
New Year, New Vision
With the 2012-2013 academic year just around the corner, the Southern California region is poised for unprecedented growth in its scope of service. Through a partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), College Summit is looking to serve significantly more students in the coming years. With the support of LAUSD Superintendent Dr. Deasy and Board President Mónica García, College Summit is opening new doors to success in some of the county’s lowest-scoring schools. “It’s thrilling that College Summit will be engaging more LAUSD students in the coming years,” says Mónica García, LAUSD Board President. “When implemented at all grade levels, the College Summit curriculum is a powerful tool in combating high dropout rates, sending more students to college, and building sustainable college-going cultures. We want to get to 100% graduation faster and College Summit is helping us get there.”
At present, College Summit is serving 2,836 students at eight high schools across Los Angeles County. Its partners include Arleta High, Sylmar High, Sun Valley High, Fairfax High, Inglewood High, Morningside High, Washington Preparatory High, and Lawndale High. By expanding within LAUSD to serve more schools, as well as partnering with new districts and growing within currently served districts, College Summit hopes to increase its scope of service more than threefold.
“This is an amazing opportunity to assist some of the county’s most underserved communities,” says Alexis Shah, Southern California Executive Director. “While the national college-going rate is around 70%, these schools are seeing only 25-40% of their seniors advancing to 2-year and 4-year colleges. Through the LAUSD partnership, we’ll see hundreds more students graduating high school and pursuing their dreams in a postsecondary setting.”
Southern California Welcomes New, Old Volunteers
It’s hard to overstate the fact that, were it not for our volunteers, College Summit would not be able to achieve the successes that we achieve each year. In 11 states across the country, nearly 2,000 rising seniors participate in College Summit’s summer workshops – four-day, life-changing retreats held at our partner universities – where the stage is set for their transition to college. The successes they achieve during their workshops, and the deliverables they carry with them into their senior year, are directly thanks to the work of hundreds of dedicated volunteers. This year, College Summit Southern California is proud to welcome (and welcome back!) volunteers from a number of corporate and collegiate organizations, including Darden Restaurants and the Student Counselors Association from Loyola Marymount University.
Since 2009, Darden Restaurants has been a proud partner with College Summit Southern California. Through its Recipe for Success initiative, the Darden Foundation “supports organizations that positively impact the educational prospects of underserved youth.” But the support doesn’t stop with financial giving. The Darden Foundation is committed to fostering a spirit of volunteerism among its employees, encouraging them to actively engage with the community on a deeper level. In 2011, Kathy Nahlovsky, Senior Vice President of Operations, presented the Peer Leader of the Year Award at our annual awards ceremony, and Darden employees regularly volunteer their summer weekends as Writing Coaches. We thank the Darden Foundation for its ongoing support!
New to the College Summit scene is the Student Counselors Association (SCA), a Loyola Marymount University student organization. This group, comprised of graduate students of Counseling, is committed to supporting the leadership development, community engagement, and professional and academic success of its members. The group’s passion for education and intrinsic interest in connecting with youth in Los Angeles makes it a perfect fit for College Summit. “We’re very excited to be part of this new partnership,” says Eliza Hoyos, SCA President. “College Summit’s mission to get more students to college is very much aligned with broader the mission of counseling – to empower students to make their dreams become realities.” Already, SCA’s membership has shown its dedication to our shared cause; several members have offered to volunteer at our upcoming Financial Aid Nights at Sylmar High and Lawndale High. We look forward to deepening our relationship with SCA!
Lawndale High Peer Leaders Shine
College Summit Peer Leaders at Lawndale High School are making a difference in their fellow students’ lives, one Wednesday at a time. These 12 motivated students have started an initiative called “Milestone Wednesdays,” whereby they’re spending their lunchtimes helping their peers complete the most crucial steps in the college application process, and log their accomplishments in CSNAV, College Summit’s online student portal.
On Wednesday, December 7, 2011 during lunch, the senior class at Lawndale High School gathered in the school’s computer labs; but instead of checking their email or chatting on Facebook, these kids were getting passionate about college. Lawndale High is one of nine Southern California high schools partnered with College Summit, a non-profit organization that gives educators the tools to help students navigate the college application process. Led by a group of trained Peer Leaders, the senior class at each of these schools is working to raise their college enrollment rate (CER) and build a college-going culture.
Twelve Lawndale seniors participated in an intensive four-day workshop this summer, where they learned the ins and outs of applying to college, including creating a Senior Plan, a College List, a first draft of their Personal Statement, learning about Financial Aid, and more. These are just a few of the “Milestones” College Summit walks students through on their path to higher education. College Summit targets students who are “better than their numbers” – students who, without some additional support, might not make it past high school graduation.
Yoana Urbina, last year’s Peer Leader of the Year Award winner and Sylmar High 2011 graduate, says, “If it wasn’t for College Summit, I wouldn’t have accomplished all I have so far. College Summit changes the life of its participants for the best. It shows us the world projected in our dreams and teaches us we can reach our goals.” Yoana now attends UC Merced, where she studies human biology.
During their workshops, “Peer Leaders” learned how to be leaders on their campus and help other students on the college-going path. Now, many having just submitted their UC and CSU applications, the Peer Leaders are looking forward to how they can continue to support their peers in the process. Their list is long: Financial Aid workshops, Private School Application Night, outreach to underclassmen about the importance of starting to think about college early, Alumni Panels, and more.
“Our job is to help our fellow students set goals for themselves, and to support them in meeting those goals,” said Silvestra Garcia, Peer Leader at Inglewood High. “We’re working to motivate those students who never thought they’d go to college, or even apply. College Summit believes that all students can go to college, but many at Inglewood don’t know the first step to getting there.”
Last Wednesday’s event was led by these inspired Peer Leaders. Recognizing that their senior peers were not recording their Milestones at a high pace, the Peer Leaders instituted a “Milestone Wednesday” initiative, where they help other students log their “Milestones” – SAT scores, college application submissions, personal statements, and more – through College Summit’s online portal, CSNAV.
“The 2011-2012 Southern California Peer Leaders may be our strongest class yet. They show an extraordinary motivation to go beyond expectations to support their fellow students in advancing to college,” said Alexis Shah, College Summit’s local Executive Director. “It’s thrilling to see these students take their training, return to their schools, and empowering their peers to make a difference in their lives.”
Since 1993, College Summit has trained more than 13,000 student Peer Leaders. The high school GPA for these students has been mid-tier: 2.9 (on a 4.0 scale), yet they have enrolled in college at a rate of 79%, significantly above the national college enrollment rate among low-income students of 52%. And these Peer Leaders don’t just make it to college, they stay in college. The retention rate for these students has been 80% – above the national rate across all demographics.
“College Summit and our Peer Leaders provide yet another avenue available that will ensure that the door of opportunity does not close on any student,” said Dr. Reginald Sirls, Principal at Morningside High School. “I am thankful for College Summit and proud of our Peer Leaders for providing the Morningside student body with the necessary tools they need to guarantee academic success for all students.”
Forbes names College Summit Founder and CEO among World’s Leading Social Entrepreneurs
J.B. Schramm, College Summit founder and CEO, has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world. For the first time, Forbes assembled the Impact 30 list: a group of the leading social entrepreneurs. To select them, Forbes recruited a panel of experts who helped them identify the top innovators across health, education, finance and other sectors.
The Forbes profile of College Summit’s work notes, “Lots of smart high school kids from low-income neighborhoods never even consider attending college, particularly ones who don’t have top grades but are otherwise well equipped to succeed at the post-secondary level. College Summit partners with 175 high schools around the country to identify these bright, midtier students.”
Don Cheadle College Summit Founding Spokesman
Learn more about College Summit by watching this informational video.
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