PATH to College Success
Academic Link Outreach (ALO) began the “PATH to College Success” program in 2010, with financial assistance from College Spark Washington and Edmonds School District. The middle school program provided 50 students with skills needed for academic success in high school and preparation for college. Three-fourths of the students were eligible for the state’s College Bound Scholarship. ALO worked with PATH students for three years, guaranteeing academic success and determining methodology to insure middle school students were on the PATH to academic success. ALO developed a team relationship with student, parent and teacher. The goal of the PATH program: every participating student earn a 3.0 GPA or greater with no C/D/F grades; continual academic monitoring of achievement through the help of online grading. Each week students achieving academic goals were rewarded with certificates/congratulation letters, and those not reaching goals established an academic plan of action. PATH students were provided individual assistance to develop high school and life survival skills of leadership, resiliency, self-advocacy and responsibility. State Test Prep classes were held at the public library for students not at standard the previous year. The grant funding was exhausted in 2013 at the end of the students 9th grade. However, ALO continued working with students and parents, and the evidence of success was astounding! PATH students, with their hard work and the support of the program, proved how successful an after-the-school-day academic program could be. Half of the students were eligible for the National Honor Society, earning a 3.5 GPA or better; 22 enrolled in AP European History during their sophomore year and three-fourths enrolled in at least one honors or advanced placement course. The students worked hard to be involved in both school and community with the knowledge that colleges seek out well-rounded students. Also, the students took part in PSAT, SAT, ACT practice tests, personal statement seminars and individual wrap-around services. 100% of these students graduated from high school. All students planned post-secondary involvement. Eighteen students were admitted to the University of Washington and UW Bothell. Nine students selected other 4 year colleges. Nineteen chose Community College level, living at home.The knowledge gained from the implementation of the PATH program reinforces the knowledge that all students can learn, but not in the same way or in the same amount of time. It is critical to establish middle school, outside-the-school day academic support programs, preparing students for the rigors of high school and beyond.
Essential items for academic success:
Team involvement of student/parent/teacher
Weekly monitoring of student progress providing academic achievement data
Positive recognition of academic achievement motivating further success
Additional learning opportunities provided: support for classroom work, academic skill building, state test prep, and college and work related experiences.