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College Mindset Developed At Young Age In Wildomar Schools

Elementary-age schoolchildren and their parents are being prepped for something that may seem a little far off in the future: college.

Reading and literacy are being celebrated this week in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District, as students, their parents and teachers participate in Read Across America, an annual event sponsored by the National Education Association.

This event commemorates the March 2, 1904 birth date of Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Suess.

and elementary schools both paid tribute to Read Across America Thursday night by inviting parents and students to the campuses to share in reading their favorite Dr. Suess books together. The schools saw a high level of turnout and participation.

For the schools’ principals, however, the event was a precursor to programs being launched at their respective campuses that focus on preparing students and their parents for something that may seem a little far off in the future: college.

William Collier Elementary is currently launching its “No Excuses University,” a program that begins in preschool and aims to instill in children and their parents that “college is what you do after high school,” explained Principal Dorri Neal.

The program encourages a mindset that college is obtainable for all, Neal continued. She said teachers are wearing t-shirts and sweatshirts that bear their alma maters, and college flags are being waved around campus.

But the “college symbolism” is just the beginning, Neal said. “Parent Universities” are being established to help moms and dads learn how to navigate the path to higher learning.

“We’re here to show them how they can do it,” Neal said.

Teachers also undergo training and they collaborate to ensure no student falls through the cracks, Neal explained. And as the kids progress through their early years, Neal said the program is designed to build character – and confidence – so students believe in their ability to go on to college.

Over at Wildomar Elementary, as students listened to fellow classmates read “Green Eggs and Ham” aloud, Principal Corene Barr was just as excited about a program being launched next year for her school’s fourth and fifth graders.

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program will target students in the academic middle – the B, C, and even D students – who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard.

“The program teaches study skills that establish a direction for college or vocational school,” Barr explained. “The program pushes kids to look beyond high school.”

Barr said the goal is to get kids to believe, “Yes, I can go to college.”

The college mindset may help turn around a figure from the California Department of Education that shows just 60.3 percent of all 2008-09 LEUSD high school grads moved on to a postsecondary institution.

The LEUSD’s figures hover above the county, however, where just 56.8 percent of the 2008-09 high school grads moved on to college, according to the CDE. to read more about this topic.

Martha L. Bridges March 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
It is never too soon to set expectations and point children in the right direction of getting a higher education...be that a traditional four-year college or technical training. Even today the plumber, the auto mechanic and the appliance service person is equiped with highly technical, computerized tools necessary to render service, and jobs in almost any field will require more and ever changing skills. Our world has changed and will increasingly demand not just education beyond high school, but life long education as adults to be able to continually adapt to the vast expansion of new technology in the work place. Individuals of all ages will have to be alert to the changing demands for new and varied skills in the workplace, and accept that part of their present job is to begin preparing for a new one. All the programs mentioned in this article are positive steps in the right direction and good news about our school district.
BAJ March 02, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Yes, in spite of the "snob" epithet presidential contenders like Rick Santorum use to describe college graduates, post-secondary education is needed in most professions, and good for you Wildomar that you're instilling that desire in your young school kids. Go for the American dream!
Ken Mayes March 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
This is all a bunch of bull. 80% of children entering college need remedial courses as they were not taught to read proficiently, 40% of children that enter college today will not obtain a degree within 6 years and of the number of of children who do receive a degree over 1/2 will not work in the field of their degree. Having worked in manufacturing for over 25 years and having seen hundreds of job applications every year the ability of people to fill them out has gone down hill. The penmanship is illegible, the spelling atrocious, the results of simple test given in math skills required to preform the job are horrible. I spent a lot of my time in simplifying jobs to require no thinking on the part of the employees, they were not capable of doing so. I'm not the only one with this problem why do you think bar codes and scanners were invented. Cash registers have pictures on them for crying-out-loud. With a 60% functionally illiterate population in this country its time to get back to the basics. These children must be taught to read with some proficiency before anything else. The jobs of tomorrow are not all that complicated if you can read.
Martha L. Bridges March 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Ken, I don't doubt that your stats are true and correct. The evidence is all around us - including right here in the comment section of the PATCH. I’ve seen my fair share of job applications that are unreadable or applicants who haven't any idea what’s needed for even an entry level position. However, we can’t just accept the status quo and must make a concerted effort to change the education system for the better. You are right, we need to go back to basics to provide a good foundation. A child's parents and family members need to emphasize the need for a good education, and help set high expectations for a young student's performance. Many of the programs mentioned here are good starts. Younger students in such programs will hopefully benefit from them. However, we need to stop promoting students to the next level until they can really demonstrate proficiency in all subjects at their current grade. If promoted automatically, they not only won't catch up with the next class level, but will fall further behind each year. We need to stop worrying about damaging their egos or having them miss out on a raft of extracurricular activities. There also needs to some help for today's ill-prepared high school students. Better that they should spend a couple of extra years doing remedial work, than handing them a meaningless diploma and turning them out into a world they don't have the skills to cope with…
Ken Mayes March 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Martha By promoting these programs you are accepting the status quo, very few students will benefit from them. As far as parents emphasizing a good education, they can talk till their blue in the face, if the schools are not delivering talk is just that. It is the job of the schools to teach the basic skills, not the parents. The people controlling education in this country have figure out how to manipulate the numbers so it makes it look like kids are doing so well when in fact many are barely making it through. As for high school kids today, the state needs to eliminate the certificate of completion all together as this will haunt them the rest of their lives. There needs to be vocational programs made available to them so they can make it through life. If any parent thinks their child is doing so wonderful, I implore them to have their child tested outside of the school system by a private company that does not have a vested interest to see exactly where they rank in reading. It would be to their advantage to do this before their child enters 4th grade but anytime would not hurt. The schools today spend the whole year teaching these children to take the test that they rank schools by, I can teach a monkey to do most things if I work at it long enough.
Wizard Without Remorse March 03, 2012 at 10:11 AM
I think it is wonderful that we are talking to our youngest children about the benefits of a college education. However, I agree with Ken that our current public school system is not working for a very large percentage of students. Currently our high schools offer only one item on the menu, college prep. Anyone that is not fit, or not ready, for this path gets shunted off to a continuation, store front, or home study program. Whatever happened to all the vocational programs and music studies? What about programs to teach our children practical matters like how to manage money, take care of children, cook a meal, or drive a car? Perhaps if we were to provide options like these more students would want to attend school and not be truant or disruptive. Perhaps there would even be less bullying if all students were not forced into the same round hole. Perhaps we should throw out the requirement that all children attend school and focus our attention on making public schools more than just day care centers.
Anthony Marini March 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Ken and Charles, you are clueless. I defy you to find the data that does not back up the value of a college degree. Look at the report College Pays or the latest Gallup evidence that shows 95% of college grads ARE employed. It cracks me up when people spout off opinions without data.
Martha L. Bridges March 03, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I don't disagree, however, I believe there are practical considerations that need to be figured into this discussion. It's primarily the parent's responsibility to convey values and expectations to their children - perhaps even before the school system gets hold of them. It is also the parents who should continually and actively monitor each child's progress and reinforce fundamental values. Too often today parents expect to turn over all those responsibilities to the schools instead of taking an active role in their children’s educational progress. In short, they are sort of warehousing their kids and expecting our educational system to do all the extra work, only to find that the system fails in so many ways because they are expected to do what should be the parents’ job. My parents saw to it that I was ready for school. They made it clear that I must do the work, must be respectful of my teachers and cooperative in the classroom. It was my parents who provided learning skills and stood ready to help if I needed assistance. They also taught me basic life skills such as housekeeping, money management and how to drive. The budget constraints aren't going away anytime soon. Schools need to deliver basic, sound education. Teachers should be able to look to parents to contend with truant or disruptive students rather than being day care providers and disciplinarians. Neither teachers nor taxpayers should have to shoulder the parents' job.
Tonto March 03, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Well there it is. The schools always have two age old cop outs. We don't have enough money. Its the parents fault. No wonder the education system is the black hole it has become.
Lorie Reitz March 03, 2012 at 06:19 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how misinformed people love to complain about the education system without taking the time to check their facts first . Just because you come in contact with a few kids who have trouble with job applications doesn't mean all high school graduates are substandard. Had you taken the time to check -- a fact easily found on the CDE website -- you would find vocational training programs at all high schools. Lake Elsinore's students do amazing thing every day in culinary arts, graphic design, graphic arts, television, animation, photography, engineering, sports therapy, medical allied health, information technology, virtual enterprise, accounting, fashion design, agriculture science, floral design, manufacturing and engineering, welding technology, automotive technology, and law enforcement. I probably forgot a few.
Ken Mayes March 03, 2012 at 09:48 PM
My number of "60% functionally illiterate" comes from the United States Department of Education, by their standards a person with a basic reading level can read at an eighth grade level. This is disgusting. Probably why the United States only ranks 16 in education world wide. As for the courses you mentioned, one or two semesters of a subject teaches you enough to be dangerous. These courses are geared to giving a student an idea as to what the field may offer with further studies. In Europe and Asia many vocational schools start accepting students at age 16, some as young as 12 and the total focus is on becoming skilled at a trade or vocation. If a child wishes to continue on an academic path they are free to do so if they meet the criteria. Reading is fundamental
Popeye March 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Only Tea Baggers do not want their child to go to collage because they are a bunch of retards..
BLUESGUITAR777 March 05, 2012 at 08:16 PM
You misspelled college there professor... ;o)
Dorri Neal March 08, 2012 at 04:29 AM
I welcome community members to come visit William Collier Elementary School, and am sure Dr. Barr would extend the same invitation for Wildomar Elementary. We have many fine programs for teaching rigorous core academic skills. Our school is a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School...something our community members can be very proud to have in their neighborhood. Please check out the U. S. Dept. of Education to read more on the lengthy process to qualify for this honor.

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