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College Connections

February 6, 2009

The influence of colleges seems to be apparent everywhere in ARTech  lately.  This shouldn’t be a surprise for a charter school that has the good fortune to share a town with two excellent liberal arts colleges.

Connections with the local colleges happen in many ways.   At the moment, James, a student in the education department at Carleton college is visiting our school  a couple of times a week to shadow Joe, and gain an appreciation of how social studies is integrated into the education program.     We forget sometimes that having a student teacher in our building brings a fresh energy and enthusiasm that we should welcome and encourage.  Cathy Tower Oehmke, currently James’ professor of education at Carleton, is going to take a lead role in the evaluation team that serves as part of the contract renewal process for our school later this month.   I truly hope that we can grow this mutually beneficial relationship with the colleges and bring more student teachers into our school.

Dom, our artist in residence, has been steadily building relationships with both Hamline and Carleton.   He has worked with Dr. Walter Enloe at Hamline on the 20/20 project , and Dr. Cherif Keita from Carleton on a series of documentaries that will feature in the FESPACO Pan African Film Festival.  Dom is gearing up to head out to South Africa to attend the festival with Dr. Keita.

Bob has established a strong connection with the theater folks up on the hill at St. Olaf.  After the great collaboration with St. Olaf theater students last fall, Bob is now planning to take a group of students  to visit StOlaf after school on Tuesday, Feb. 10, tour Kelsey theater with their college friends, see the set for StOlaf‘s production of A New Brain, and play some theater games. 

There are countless opportunities to get ARTech students on college campuses.   The Greenhouse Project which is now gathering steam as a student led project, was given a boost by a visit to the St. Olaf greenhouse atop the new science building.  Aside from the enhancement of our curriculum, these visits give our kids an early feel for what life might look like on a college campus.img_0273

Of course, we also have a fairly constant stream of college representatives  visiting our school and presenting to students.  Today, we were visited by an Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) representative who shared a video presentation and engaged in a question and answer session with students.  Sarah organizes many of these visits for our school and is always seeking new ways to support ARTech students with college planning.   She is currently leading a Beyond ARTech seminar.   Here’s the course description: 

This is a chance to work will all sorts of different ideas of what you want to do when you grow up and head on out of ARTech.  Will you go to culinary school?  Art school?  Business school?  And how do you get into these schools anyways?  And what the heck does liberal arts mean?  And what does FAFSA stand for?  How on earth can I afford to go to college?  We will go on college visits, do some career assessments, and practice writing essays.  

All of these college connections are making a difference to our students.  It seems almost daily that I hear news of college plans or acceptance (congratulations to Breanna, accepted at the U of Montana and Alissa at Hamline).  Last year, 83% of ARTech graduates were accepted into a 2 or 4 year college.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    February 9, 2009 2:22 am

    One small correction — 83% of ALL of our graduates (72 total over 5 years) have gone on to college (either 2-year or 4-year).

    If you want the numbers specifically for last year, I can find them!

  2. Dori permalink
    February 11, 2009 4:35 am

    That’s a great number. I still find it discouraging that a few students I talk to don’t want to go to college out of either fear of the unknown, a misconception that it will be “boring,” or, and this one is my favorite so far, “I know I have to go, but I really don’t want to” without a clear explanation as to why the student feels this way. I’m very glad that you are doing these seminars, Sarah, because I really think that one of the biggest reasons why kids don’t go to college is a fear that they will fail. These students put enough pressure on themselves to outweigh anything a parent or adult can put on them. It’s good to know that you are there to help them ease their burden while weighing their options.

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