Education

Educators Discuss College Access for Inner-City Students (Part II)

By Helen Yoshida — May 29, 2014 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

I continue the conversation with Joshua Steckel and Beth Zasloff, authors of Hold Fast to Dreams: A College Guidance Counselor, His Students, and the Vision of a Life Beyond Poverty (The New Press, 2014), as they share their thoughts about methods for teaching time management and finance skills to high school students and about on-campus medical and health resources for incoming college students. To read the first installment about educators understanding students’ situations and the benefits of residential colleges for students, click here.

Some students had a difficult time acclimating to their college campuses and balancing their classes, social life, work, and studies. What methods can high schools use to teach students about time management and finances that could help ease the transition for students, especially minority students, from high school to college lifestyles?

Joshua Steckel: The transition to college is tough for all students, and adjusting to campus life is especially difficult for students coming from poverty. This issue demands increased sensitivity from colleges. Often, students lack resources for basic needs like buying books and staying in touch with their families, and as they face new academic and social challenges, they also struggle with the problems of home.

At my current school, the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies (BCS), a member of the NYC Outward Bound Schools (NYCOB) network, teachers and counselors prepare students for these difficulties by giving them tools to understand and manage them. In the senior English class, students conduct sociological research into factors that lead to higher college graduation rates, interviewing people in their communities, including BCS alumni. BCS works with an organization called College Access: Research & Action (CARA) that runs a College Bridge Program, through which a former BCS student is hired to support students in getting from acceptance to enrollment and to facilitate sessions on the transition to college. Current students are asked to think through sample budgets for a year of college life and study and to analyze time management concerns, using actual course schedules and other artifacts from former BCS students’ college experiences.

One of the students in the book was diagnosed with lupus, got sick during the summer bridge program she needed to complete before starting her freshman year at Skidmore, and returned to Brooklyn, N.Y. How can students with serious health issues become more informed about on-campus medical, health, and wellness resources available to them and not sacrifice their opportunity to attend a residential college at the same time?

Beth Zasloff: The crucial need for affordable, quality health care is an undercurrent in many of the stories in the book: getting sick, for so many American families, can mean losing everything, including educational opportunities.

Before they begin college, all students need to know how to find medical care and how they will pay for it. These questions should be part of transition-to-college work at all high schools: Will students’ current coverage continue after high school? Will their coverage be portable if they are leaving home? What kinds of coverage are available for students who are uninsured or underinsured? What kinds of health services are available on the campus? Students with chronic health problems need to connect with a counseling or health professional at their college who can be fully informed about their situation and help them to navigate the system.

How can high school teachers, college staff, and professors help students recognize their potential and see the new possibilities that come with completing their education?

Joshua Steckel: A key starting point for educators is to listen to their students and work to empathize with them. I’ve found I can best help my students to see the choices ahead when I set aside my own role as expert and try my best to understand where they are coming from. When students describe transformative experiences in college, they focus on relationships--with professors, admissions counselors, and friends--who heard them, learned from them, and served as the lights to help them see a way forward.

Photo Credit: The New Press

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP