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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.

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..
Eric 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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