About the Center
St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, and St. Cloud School District are working in collaboration to address the academic underachievement, low high school graduation rates, and poor college participation of underrepresented students. With St. Cloud State University serving as the lead institution in this partnership, each institution brings resources, experiences, and programs to bear on the problems of the academic achievement gap. Funding is provided by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).
The purpose of St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center is to improve academic achievement, improve high school graduation rates, increase rigorous college preparatory course taking behavior, and increase post-secondary participation among underrepresented students in grades 8-12 in District 742.
The St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center targets 600 8th – 12th graders who are underrepresented in higher education, students from low-income families, students of color, students from immigrant background, and from first-generation college families.
Plan of operation
This project revolves around providing services and programs to students in their schools, and to the students and their families in community settings and on the campuses of the local public institutions of higher education (St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College). Academic Advising Teams and university-based professionals work with students, public school staff and parents.
Academic Advising Teams (AAT)
The Academic Advising Teams provide the core services of the St. Cloud Access and Opportunity Center. Academic Advisers are assigned to grade levels 8, 9 and 10, and one for 11th and 12th graders in each school, for a total of eight teams. In addition, each adviser works closely with the students' instructors and counselors to identify needed support services. If students move to alternative learning centers, academic advises continue to work with them at these sites. These advisers coordinate the provision of services (tutoring, mentoring, supplemental instruction) with other school and college personnel responsible for offering these activities.
Teacher Consultants assist in organizing and structuring tutorial services and supplemental instruction, as well tutoring students in their area of expertise. These teachers will be subject matter specialists in the core areas, specifically math, language arts (e.g., reading and writing) and English as a Second Language. They work closely with the academic advisers to plan, organize and track participants’ weekly schedule of activities, and the college students’ mentoring and tutoring work with the participants.
Academic Support Services
Academic support services are available to the students to enhance their chances for academic success. Support services include tutoring, mentoring, counseling, additional help sessions, and computerized resources. Project personnel also develop a study skills course and integrate these skills into other courses. Furthermore, cohorts or learning teams will be formed so students will have companions similarly situated so as not to feel isolated or alienated. These students are further supported with mentoring services from university and college students. Another key part of this program entails career development and exploration. A number of other extracurricular activities, namely cultural enrichment activities, summer programs and employment opportunities, are designed for this program.
Check out information about the MnSCU Centers for Excellence on YouTube: http://youtu.be/PhwkLWFv61k