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User’s Guide

How is the website organized?

Who is the website designed for?

Many websites are about going to college. What’s different about this one?

This seems to be focused on four-year colleges. What about community colleges?

This seems to be focused on high schools. What about elementary and middle schools?

How do you start if you’re new to this topic?

Where do you go if you already know about a topic but want to learn more?

When I try to print a long page, only the first of those pages actually prints. Why?

How much do the materials you have cost?

What do Small Learning Communities (SLCs) and Career Academies have to do with college going?

If we only have one hour for a professional development session to begin work on building a college-going culture, what would you recommend we do?

I have been able to arrange one day of professional development time for working on our college-going culture. What would be the best use of our time?

Our school is interested in this, and has done some training, but it seems to get lost in the complexity of other initiatives. Suggestions?

How can I involve my district leaders and school board?

 

How is the website organized?
The content is organized into 4 four main sections, identified in the menu bar at the top of each page:

  • Advancing College Going
  • Access to "a-g" Curriculum
  • Transcript Evaluation
  • SLCs & Career Academies

A fifth section, More Resources, offers a glossary, information for parents and families, an essay that addresses the question Why College?, and other useful information.
Each of the 4 main sections covers a series of topics. Each topic is discussed in a brief narrative, followed by the titles and synopses of tools, documents or websites that support the topic, with links to each.

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Who is the website designed for?
It is primarily designed for high schools: teachers, counselors, and administrators. However, many of the materials are useful for teachers and administrators in elementary and middle schools, who wish to lay the foundations for a college-going culture.
The website is also designed to be useful to students and their parents, families or guardians. Many sections can guide students in their preparations for college. A Parents section suggests ways to support children in this quest, engage in their child’s school and continue their own education, with many links to related documents and websites.
College professors and administrators who conduct research or develop policy pertaining to college-going practices will also find a wealth of valuable information here.
Employers have a special interest in understanding the factors that influence a decision to attend college, and they too may find useful material on this website.

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Many websites are about going to college. What’s different about this one?

  • It is focused on providing school staff (primarily high school, but useful to all school levels) the information they need to help students prepare for college.  Others are primarily for students and families, or particular colleges. 
  • It is for California. The others are mostly national.
  • It is more comprehensive. It includes links to many other websites.

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This seems to be focused on four-year colleges. What about community colleges?
Community colleges are a wonderful resource, and enroll more students in California than all the four-year colleges combined. They can lead to two-year AA Degrees or useful certificates, and importantly are the primary transfer pathway to four-year colleges and universities. There are also many technical schools with good programs. There are links to websites for both on the home page.
We focused on four-year colleges because graduating with a four-year degree usually leads to higher paying and more prestigious careers, and they are harder to get into. There are no high school course requirements for community colleges. However, the more college prep courses (i.e., “a-g”) students take, the more academically prepared they will be in whatever their course of study.

This seems to be focused on high schools. What about elementary and middle schools?
Meeting the "a-g" course and other requirements for entry to UC and CSU colleges occurs in high school, but developing a college going culture to give students the desire to go to college can occur at all levels. 
Most of materials in the Advancing College Going section can be used at any level to raise the issue, initiate the dialog, and begin planning. For example, the 9 principles of advancing a college-going culture are the same for elementary and middle schools, as are the Educational Journey exercises and the Realizing the College Dream curricula. 
This is particularly true of middle schools. The first five lessons of Realizing the College Dream are meant specifically for middle (and upper elementary) schools, as well as the math lessons under resources, which are keyed to middle school standards. Topics 9, 10, and 11 in this section are directed to all levels. Finally, the Parent resources are keyed to all levels.  

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How do you start if you’re new to this topic?
The About section (link in upper right hand corner of each page) gives an overview of how and why the website was developed.
Challenge for California Schools  explains why college is important and should be considered by every young person.
Read these first, then go to any of the four main sections and click on the topics that interest you. They can be explored in any order.

Where do you go if you already know about a topic but want to learn more?
Most topic pages have a Resources section that follows the main discussion. These resources offer links to articles or websites that provide more detail on that topic.
If you can’t find what you want there, enter one or two search terms in the Search box at the top of any page. The next screen that appears, the Results page, presents a list of  pages in this website that contain those words, and links to them.
At the top of the Results page, you will see two Search fields and buttons that enable a more refined search. Here you can restrict your search in one of two ways: Resources only (titles, annotations, and publishing information that appear in Resource listings at the bottom of most pages); or the Website excluding Resources. To go directly to these Search options, click the Advanced Search link below the Search box on any page.
Finally, the Resource Index (More Resources section) lists all the documents and websites referred to on topic pages, listed by their main topic areas.

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When I try to print a long page, only the first of what should be multiple pages actually prints. Why?
This is a recognized bug that affects Mozilla Firefox 3.x. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to use another browser: Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or earlier version of Firefox all print properly.

Here's another solution: You can copy the web page to another program, like a word processor, and print from there.
1. In the Edit menu, choose Select All.
2. Again in the Edit menu, choose Copy.
3. In the other program, choose Edit, then Paste.
4. Print from the other program.

How much do the materials you have cost?
Everything developed by the three partners engaged in developing this tool kit is free if downloaded from the website. Many materials provided by other organizations to which we refer you are also free, although we do not determine that.
 A fee is charged for the Transcript Evaluation Service (TES), which electronically analyzes the progress of all students in a high school toward meeting a-g course requirements. Contact the UC Office of the President (see Contact page) for more information.

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What do Small Learning Communities (SLCs) and Career Academies have to do with college going?
These are smaller units in high schools that bring a team of teachers together with a group of students. They are designed to offer a more family-like, supportive atmosphere, and to show students the links among their subjects. Career academies also show students applications of their academic subjects to future careers and the education needed for these.  SLCs and Academies have been growing in recent years, and research has shown that they can improve student motivation and increase interest in going to college.

If we only have one hour for a professional development session to begin work on building a college-going culture, what would you recommend we do?
In the Advancing  College-Going Culture section, start with one of the Educational Journey exercises in Topic 7 to begin the discussion about the messages we receive from family, teachers and our community. You might also use the One-Page Information Sheet on College-Going Culture, also in Topic 7, that reviews the major concepts and principles in a college-going culture. You could use the first principle, College Talk, to brainstorm possible activities for the school and/or individual classrooms. 

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I have been able to arrange one day of professional development time for working on our college-going culture. What would be the best use of our time?
In the Advancing College-Going Culture section, Topic 7, review and adapt as needed the Sample Agenda: Professional Learning Workshop on Strengthening College-Going Culture. Begin with the Educational Journey Exercise.
You might also start by having everyone read the article, Critical Conditions for Equity and Diversity in College Access,and discussing their reactions. You might also review the statistics regarding inequities and why attitudes of teachers and counselors matter, covered in Topics 2 and 3, and use the College-Going Rubric to assess the College-Going Culture at Your School in Topic 7.
Finally, you might turn to Planning and Setting Goals, and review the resources under Topics 9, 10, and 11.

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Our school is interested in this, and has done some training, but it seems to get lost in the complexity of other initiatives. Suggestions?
Identify a “champion” of college going at the school, and give that person support and time at staff meetings and during professional development time for this topic.  Also:

  • Create a college-going committee that is part of the school’s Leadership Team
  • Coordinate the programs/resources at the school that are working toward this goal, such as AVID, EAOP, and Gear-Up
  • Hold parent workshops
  • Schedule campus tours, college days, and speakers
  • Build in professional development time during the school year
  • Involve the broader community: higher education, employer, and civic leaders

How can I involve my district leaders and school board?
Most district administrators and school boards are already interested in college going. This correlates with high school exit exam (CAHSEE) pass rates, state CST test scores, SAT/ACT scores, and graduation rates, all measures by which high schools are judged.
Some of the benchmarks you might look at are the number of “a-g” courses/ sections offered, how many students graduate having completed the 15“a-g” courses required for UC/CSU entry (with a GPA of B or C), and how many students go to what types of colleges.
To understand how this affects different students differently, you could disaggregate these data by ethnicity/race and by free/reduced lunch and ELL categories. This could lead to a presentation/report to the District Board and Administrators, as well as parents and students.

 

 

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Last modified on 1/14/2010

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