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ABOUT PASE The Partnership for After School Education (PASE) is a child focused organization that promotes and supports quality afterschool programs, particularly those serving young people from underserved communities. Every day in New York City, more than 500,000 young people in low-income communities are provided safe and enriching environments in afterschool programs run by community-based agencies. PASE helps build stronger afterschool programs, nurture successful young people and create more resilient communities by connecting the more than 1,600 agencies that run those programs. Enabling a critical exchange of resources and ideas among agencies, educators and other partners, PASE is New York City’s premier provider of professional development for afterschool staff and youth-serving agency leaders. In its programs and initiatives, PASE promotes best practices in afterschool programs and functions as a strong voice for youth.

What We Believe About Afterschool Education PASE recognizes the crucial role that afterschool programs play in fostering young people’s intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual growth. We believe that academic skills should be integrated into all aspects of an afterschool program; that parents, youth and community members need to have input into program development; and that programs should make a commitment to be inclusive, foster cultural diversity, and build community.

PASE programs and offerings Professional development and training opportunities, as well as technical assistance for New York City Out-of–School Time contractors and the entire afterschool field Special projects geared toward smaller cohorts of afterschool programs that focus on knowledge, skill and capacity building as well as showcasing best practices Networking events and opportunities Publications, resources, and advocacy for the field





Why College Prep in Afterschool?.....................................................................8


The Road to College for Middle School Youth............................................10


College Prep in High School.............................................................................17


Academic Support for Middle and High School Youth...........................26


Building Life Skills: A Unique Role for Afterschool Programs...............30


Staffing Your College Prep Program.............................................................36

VIII. Engaging Parents/Caregivers as Partners..................................................49 IX.

Partnering with Schools..................................................................................54


Best Practices......................................................................................................62


Sample Activity/Lesson Plans.........................................................................90

XII. Appendices.............................................................................................104

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A college degree can no longer be considered a luxury, but rather a necessary passport to the middle class. - William G. Tierney, Director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


LETTER from PASE’s EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR We would like to thank the staff of the Time Warner, Inc. Office of Corporate Responsibility for their incredible guidance and support in launching the College Prep Capacity Building Initiative. With their assistance, PASE worked to improve the design, delivery, and impact of community-based college prep programs for underserved youth in New York City. The strategies and resources gathered during this initiative have been collected in this guide, which is intended to provide ongoing support for youth programs throughout the city and nationwide. Recent national surveys have revealed that regardless of income level, the majority of American youth want to go to college, but the realization of this goal is difficult for many youth in America’s underserved communities. Out-of-school time programs act as a critical resource for broadening the educational opportunities available to youth in these communities and for helping them to make college a reality. PASE has assembled the College Prep Afterschool: A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth as a resource for organizations teaching youth about the college process, offering information about scholarship opportunities, acquainting young people with institutions of higher education through college trips, and providing critical information needed by parents and caregivers of middle and high school age youth. PASE remains committed to ensuring that all youth have access to high quality college readiness activities in out-of-school time, and we hope this guide will prove valuable to youth-serving organizations as they plan and implement college prep programs.

Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, LMSW

Executive Director of the Partnership for After School Education

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ABOUT the TIME WARNER/PASE COLLEGE PREP CAPACITY BUILDING PILOT INITIATIVE For middle and high school students in New York City, out-of-school time programs in their communities are a crucial resource for broadening their educational opportunities and helping them prepare for college. Time Warner, in association with the Partnership for After School Education (PASE), launched the College Prep Capacity Building Initiative in April 2007 to improve the design, delivery, and impact of community-based college prep programs for underserved youth. The 12-month initiative focused on strengthening the skills of agency staff needed to provide high-quality college prep programs and services. PASE, a leader in providing training and resources to build the capacity of youth-serving organizations, worked with the afterschool program sites selected to participate in this initiative to help them enhance their college prep programs. Utilizing a variety of modalities, PASE provided a comprehensive system of professional development with a foundation in youth development best practices. Program components included: Needs Assessment: PASE conducted an individualized needs assessment with each agency and assisted each in developing an action plan for strengthening its programs. Technical Assistance: A College Prep Coach who provided technical assistance was matched with each agency based on the agency’s action plan. Technical assistance included program planning, training for program staff, observations of program activity with constructive feedback, and problem solving sessions. Centralized Professional Development: Through workshops, institutes, best practice panels, lunch-andlearns, reflections on practice sessions and a citywide forum, agency staff gained new strategies for supporting the continued improvement of their college prep programs. Networking Opportunities: All of PASE’s events provided opportunities for practitioners to connect with each other, share ideas and learn about each other’s programs.

Fourteen agencies from various neighborhoods in New York City participated in the initiative including: Alianza Dominicana, Washington Heights/Inwood (Manhattan) Children’s Aid Society, Morningside Heights (Manhattan) Chinese American Planning Council, Lower East Side (Manhattan) Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Cypress Hills (Brooklyn) Grand Street Settlement, Lower East Side (Manhattan) Groundwork, Inc., East New York (Brooklyn) Harlem RBI, East Harlem (Manhattan) Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Kingsbridge Heights (Bronx) Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, Flatbush (Brooklyn) New Heights Youth, Inc., Fordham (Bronx) New Settlement Apartments, Mt. Eden (Bronx) Sunnyside Community Service, Sunnyside (Queens) Union Settlement Association, East Harlem (Manhattan) University Settlement - The Door, Lower East Side (Manhattan)


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth

COLLEGE PREP AFTERSCHOOL HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE This guide brings together the knowledge, experiences, and information generated by the initiative. To create this guide, PASE engaged in regular dialogue with the programs and Time Warner model programs, conducted ongoing assessment of the trainings, and convened discussions with outside experts. The guide is designed to be used by all staff of afterschool programs that currently provide college prep or college access activities for middle and high school youth and for those programs who wish to add college prep or college access activities.

Program Design Elements In this guide you will find an overview of the need for college preparation activities, as well as the needs of college-bound youth. Additionally, the guide includes best practices through such components as:

Creating college prep programs afterschool—explores key aspects of effective college prep programs and helps practitioners think about design components that meet young people’s needs.

Helping youth get ready—outlines how to prepare young people for the high school and college application process.

Staffing college prep programs—focuses on finding the appropriate staff to work with middle and high school youth on college prep activities.

Engaging parents/caregivers as partners—provides strategies for providing parents with information that will allow them to best support their children.

Connecting with middle schools, high schools and colleges—provides strategies on forming relationships with high schools and higher education institutions to best meet the needs of their participants.

This guide outlines a number of tested and successful program models, curricula, and best practices in college prep programming gathered from the afterschool field. These practical “Lessons from the Field” are an excellent resource to drawn upon as you develop your college prep program. Following the descriptions are the “Keys to Success”, a list of tips on what made this program or activity so successful. These Lessons from the Field can be found throughout the Guide. Finally, in order to provide activities and information that can be integrated into your college prep program, this Guide offers sample lesson plans along with an extensive list of resources grouped by content areas.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This guide was developed under the leadership of Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director of the Partnership for After School Education, and was written collaboratively by PASE staff, Christina Antonakos-Wallace, Yvonne Martínez Brathwaite, Elizabeth Fisher, Tania Ortiz, Kevin Roe, Christopher Seamens, and Geoff Trenchar. PASE thanks consultant Kyla Kupferstein for her contribution of content and resources and intern Colin Laughlin for his contribution of resources for this Guide. PASE thanks all those who assisted with editing during various phases— Christina Antonakos-Wallace, Kyla Kupferstein, Colin Laughlin, and Ellen O’Connell. PASE also appreciates the early contributions of Gabrielle Fondiller, PASE summer intern who conducted much of the research for the resources section. PASE’s also appreciates Christina’s work in designing the final product. PASE extends its gratitude to the Time Warner/PASE College Prep Capacity Building Initiative pilot programs who contributed ideas, feedback and best practices that are infused into this publication. A special thanks is extended to the college prep coaches whose expertise was an invaluable resource to the participating agencies. These coaches are Vagnes De La Rosa, Kyla Kupferstein, Merle McGee, Belinda Passafaro, and Sam Quiah. Finally, PASE would like to thank the Time Warner, Inc., Office of Corporate Responsibility for their generous support of the College Prep Capacity Building Initiative. Their vision and support enabled PASE and the participating programs to make college access a closer reality for an increased number of youth.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


WHY COLLEGE PREP AFTERSCHOOL? A college graduate with a bachelor’s degree earns almost double per year than the person who only completed high school. In fact, those whose formal education ends with a high school diploma may see their real wages decline over time. For low-income youth, afterschool programs in their communities are a critical resource – and often their only resource – for broadening their educational opportunities and helping them prepare for college. These youth consistently lack the advantages available to their more affluent classmates, such as college summer programs, one-on-one admissions counseling and college visits. Low-income young people rarely receive sufficient information and encouragement to strive for an education beyond high school. They often have misperceptions about the cost of higher education and the steps required to prepare for it. The familiarity of program staff with the socioeconomic conditions and cultural backgrounds of the young people they serve, as well as the structural flexibility that enables staff to focus on the specific needs of each young person or group of youth, make afterschool programs ideal locations for college prep action to occur. Using the techniques and strategies outlined in this guide, afterschool programs can help make college possible. According to Cynthia R. Schmeiser, ACT’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Education Division, “State learning standards are trying to cover too much ground in the limited time they have with youth. As a result, key academic skills needed for success in college get short shrift.” In addition, most schools in low-income areas do not have enough counselors to support all their youth in the application process. Particularly for many young people who are the first in their families to apply to college, this service gap goes unaddressed if supplemental support is not provided. Low-income youth who succeed in high school still face an uneven playing field when it comes to college admission. National data indicates that low-income youth who received A’s on a standardized test went to college at the same rate as top-income youth who scored D’s on the same standardized test. Once admitted they face further challenges in paying for college. Federal Pell Grants once covered just over 50% of tuition, fees, room and board at public four-year colleges and just over 20% at private colleges. In 2007 the same grant only covered just over 30% at public colleges and about 15% at private schools. It’s possible that this will rise again since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is allocating funding toward Pell Grants.

 Coleman, Toni. “College Grads Earn More, But Racial Disparities Persist.” Online posting. November 16, 2006 m0WMX/is_20_23/ai_n17093270?tag=rbxcra.2.a.4  Pytel, Barbara. “College Preparation-Good or Poor?” Online posting. April 19, 2007. < preparationgood_or_poor>  College Summit Website: The College Enrollment Gap <>  The College Board. “The Proportion of College Charges Covered by the Maximum Pell Grant Has Declined Over Time.” < prod_downloads/about/news_info/trends/federal_student_aid.pdf>

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Introduction Why College Prep Afterschool?

Afterschool programs that offer financial literacy activities can play an important role in helping young people plan for college and negotiate the maze of loans and scholarships necessary to attain a college degree. Afterschool programs also offer key learning opportunities in literacy, test preparation, and help to build young people’s self-confidence and critical thinking skills—all of which are crucial to college admission. In 1999-2000, 31% of low-income youth were enrolled in college or had attended college, compared to 79% of high-income youth. This disparity continues to grow and frustrate the opportunities of many of our country’s lower income youth. Higher education is the key to many of life’s opportunities and offerings, and afterschool is the key to college for many low-income youth.

 Tierney, William G., Corwin, Zoë B. and Colyar, Julia E. (Editors). Preparing for College: Nine Elements of Effective Outreach, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2005. Teachers College Record. Goho, James, ed. 2005. <>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


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The ROAD to COLLEGE for MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH Too often the first conversations about college don’t occur until late in a young person’s high school years. This is too late as the middle school years are the gateway for helping youth deepen their connections to school, develop or reinforce their college aspirations, and prepare them to succeed in high school and college. Middle School is the time to support youth in developing a sense of what course of study they would like to explore, engage in experiences to develop their interests and skills, and hone in on an understanding of the early steps needed to be better prepared for the college application process. It is during the middle school years that young people need to feel and believe that college is accessible. Afterschool programs for middle school youth are ideal settings to create a “college-rich” environment where applying to and attending college become less of an anomaly and more of a natural next step toward larger life goals. Programs can expose youth to myriad possibilities of what they might like to do later in life and teach them how to create a plan of action. By starting the college planning process in middle school young people are provided with opportunities to develop effective organizational skills and study habits while also working on their personal development. College prep for middle schoolers is more about the exposure to the array of possibilities of what they might like to become and what they might need to do throughout the journey to get there. It’s about laying the groundwork for high school, college and post-college success by building their self esteem, confidence and the life skills needed to reach these goals. Last minute test-preparation or assistance in assembling and submitting applications is helpful in high school, but without college prep in middle school, programs cannot have the same long-lasting impact needed to put youth on the road toward college success. This section of the Guide focuses on key information middle schoolers need to know about applying for high school—from exploring available options to the high school application process. Practitioners should also explore the section “Building Life Skills” when designing middle school college prep programs.

CHOOSING A HIGH SCHOOL Choosing and applying for a high school in the New York City area can be an intimidating and stressful process. What was once a ritual limited to those pursuing a college degree, incoming high school students are now given the option of exploring the five boroughs for a high school that will suit them better than the one assigned to them by the arbitrary lines dissecting their neighborhoods. The following pages will explore this process by focusing on the options available to students, how they can narrow down their choices using materials available, and finally how to approach the application process itself. The unique opportunities available through this system will allow students to make the most of their high school experience.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


High School Options

The sheer variety of schools available to students in today’s network can be a surprise, even to those adults who have grown up in the same system. Some relatively new educational models, such as Charter and Small Schools are making an impact on New York City’s educational system, have changed the way parents and students must think about high school. They are intended to reduce the gap between Specialized and Zoned schools, and are available to students no matter where they live in the city. The first step in the decision process is to understand the differences between the options available. Most familiar to those throughout the country is the Zoned School. These schools are commonly divided into districts or boundaries where students are assigned to a school based on their current address in the city or county’s established grid. In New York City, within these schools, it may be possible to find one of the newer concepts in public education, a Small Learning Center (SLC) or a Small School. While both the SLC and Small School are typically found within a larger high school building, the Small School can sometimes be found independent of larger bodies. The Small School will often have a relationship with non-profit organizations, cultural centers, or businesses and may offer a more specialized course of study, such as science, law, business, or the arts. A SLC, on the other hand, will have fewer links with private organizations and will tend to offer traditional course options of a more challenging nature. Both SLC and Small Schools will typically have an enrollment of 400 and 500 students. The term Charter School refers not so much to a method of educating, but rather to a method of contracting or chartering the duties of education. Charter Schools are publicly funded schools, though sometimes they raise private dollars as well to supplement the school budget. They are independently run and bring “new resources, personnel and ideas to public education and give families a greater choice within the public school system.” Each charter school tends to be unique in its approach to education, but many emphasize more challenging course work in order to prepare their students for college and beyond. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Schools have the most rigidly defined and focused curricula, often revolving around a particular career goal. Currently, there are 285 CTE programs in New York City, including such areas as carpentry, restaurant management, computer graphics, veterinary science and nursing.  Rather than earning a standard high school diploma, students at CTE Schools can earn a Regent’s Diploma with a Technical Endorsement. Specialized High Schools are considered the most prestigious but also the most difficult option in New York City public high schools. There are nine Specialized Schools offering intense coursework in a variety of fields.  New York City Department of Education. “Choices & Enrollment: High Schools.” Online Posting. < default.htm>  New York City Charter School Center. “Charter School Basics.” Online Posting. <>  New York City Department of Education. “Special Programs: Career and Technical Education.” Online Posting. < SpecialPrograms/CTE/default.htm>  New York City Department of Education. “Choices & Enrollment: High Schools.” Online Posting. < default.htm

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The Road to College for Middle School Youth

These nine schools include Bronx High School of Science; Brooklyn Technical High School; The Brooklyn Latin School; High School for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering at City College; High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Queens High School for the Sciences at York College; Staten Island Technical High School; Stuyvesant High School; and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. With the exception of LaGuardia High School, all applications to Specialized Schools must include the student’s results of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). At LaGuardia High School, an audition or portfolio must be submitted before the application process. The student’s test score is the first basis for acceptance to one of the Specialized High Schools, followed by seat availability.10

HIGH SCHOOL INFORMATION RESOURCES Perhaps the most difficult part of the high school application process for students is choosing to which high schools to apply. Important things to consider will be academics, size and location, graduation rates and any evaluation of the school itself. If a student has the direction and focus necessary to proceed with confidence through this stage, it will simply be a matter of searching for the programs best suited for his or her interests and abilities. However, as many students may not have the confidence to take on this task alone, there are a variety of ways your afterschool program can help youth find their bearings as their education progresses. The staff of your afterschool program is instrumental in this process. They can connect youth with information about high schools and various in-school resources, advocate for them, and help provide them with copies of applications and other relevant materials to help ease and support youth through a challenging process.

The Guidance Counselor

One invaluable resource to steer youth toward is their middle school guidance counselor. Their involvement will be necessary at the very least as a source for the high school application paperwork. While the application can be obtained at enrollment offices located throughout the five boroughs, it is generally easier to go to the school counselor’s office for applications along with other publications regarding choosing and applying for high schools. 11 Apart from the necessary paperwork, counselors can also be a great source for advice in the application process. With the resources and knowledge at their disposal, a guidance counselor should be readily available for questions from both parents and students. If there are any roadblocks in the path to a desired high school, the counselor’s office should be the student’s first stop.

10 New York City Department of Education. Specialized High Schools Student Handbook: Admissions Information and Sample Tests. 2008-2009. Online Posting. <> 11 New York City Department of Education. “Choices and Enrollment: New Students-Borough Enrollment Offices.” Online Posting. < ChoicesEnrollment/NewStudents/BEO+Contact+Information.htm>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


High School Information Guides

The aforementioned paperwork and publications are also a great source for information in selecting a school. There are at least seven booklets available from the New York City Department of Education for different aspects of choosing a high school, with many designed specifically for making the high school selection process a little easier. Two of these publications are also printed in a variety of languages for those students or parents whose first language is not English. Specifically available is the Directory of the NYC Public High Schools, a fantastic resource for those who want to explore the five boroughs for school options There you can search for schools by Borough, program interest area, program selection method, site accessibility, special education services, zip code, or school code. Students can look for each school’s profile which includes the school’s enrollment and performance history, the programs and extracurricular activities available, as well as the information needed for incoming students to apply to the school. These booklets can be found in the counselor’s office, at the office of enrollment, or online12. All afterschool programs serving middle school youth should have copies of these booklets for reference or to distribute to their participants and their parents.

High School Fairs and Open Houses

School fairs can be an excellent source for becoming informed about specific high schools. An annual citywide high school fair is usually held in late September with borough-specific fairs following in October. At these events, students and staff are on hand to share information about their schools and answer any questions that potential students may have. Similar are school open houses held by individual schools to help students get a better feeling for what their school atmosphere is like. It’s a great idea for afterschool programs to take a group of participants and their parents to these events. With enough preparation, youth can learn how to make the most of this trip so that they can make informed decisions.13 Afterschool programs can help youth prepare in the following ways: •

keep youth and families informed of upcoming school fairs and open houses

have multiple copies of High School Directories and make easily accessible to youth and families

provide workshops for youth about the different types of high school options

help youth prepare questions they might ask at fairs and open houses

have discussions with youth about what they’re looking for in a high school (size, location, extracurricular activities, etc.)

SEE APPENDIX A: REPRODUCIBLE -EVALUATING HIGH SCHOOLS FOR YOUR CHILD: QUESTIONS TO ASK AT HIGH SCHOOL VISITS AND FAIRS 12 New York City Department of Education. “Choices & Enrollment: High Schools-Publications.” Online Posting. < High/Publications/default.htm> 13 New York City Department of Education. “Annual Citywide High School Fair to Be Held September 29-30.” September 27, 2007. Online Posting. < http://>

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The Road to College for Middle School Youth

HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION PROCESS14 With all of the potential schools to which students can apply, there can certainly be some confusion. Application deadlines are not all that different. The deadlines vary depending on the round in which the student is applying, which in turn depends on what kind of schools the student is applying to. First, is the Specialized Round for students wishing to apply for Specialized Schools. Students taking the SHSAT should bring their applications to the test with the full list of the twelve schools to which they have decided to apply. This test, held every fall, assesses the student’s ability to perform in English and Mathematics. Graded on a scale, students are given a score ranging from 200 to 800 for each topic with cut-off scores; the lowest scores accepted at the Specialized Schools is around 500560. Test preparation classes and textbooks are available, though many are expensive and time-consuming. Students find out whether they have been accepted to any Specialized Schools of their choice around February. According to the Princeton Review, only 15% of students who applied to Specialized High Schools are accepted.15 This tough competition provides opportunities for afterschool programs to take a special role, such as tutoring and test prep, in preparing and supporting young people who apply to these schools. If a young person is not accepted, their application will move on to the Main Round where the bulk of high schools are considered. The deadline for this usually comes around December and results are announced around the end of March. If a student finds him or herself without a school, there is a final Supplementary Round in which the student may fill out a new application to twelve new schools. The deadline for this round is typically in the second week in April with results being announced by the end of the month.

Lesson from the Field:

High School Prep for Middle School Youth

Agency: New Heights Youth, Inc. The high school preparation program for middle school youth (grades 6-9) runs during afterschool hours, Saturdays, and during the Summer Academy. Program components include homework help, creative project-based activities, and preparation for the Specialized High School Exam.

Keys to Success: • Hiring New Heights alumni (high school and

college students) to come back to be mentors and counselors for younger kids.

• The program is centered around basketball which serves as a recruitment strategy.

• Focus on high school placement to make sure that youth make the best academic, social, and personal fit.

• Have strong relationships with college prep-focused high schools.

14 New York City Department of Education. “How the High School Admissions Process Works.” Online Posting. High/Admissions/Admissions+Process.htm and New York City Department of Education. “Choices & Enrollment: High Schools-Calendar and Events. Online Posting. <> 15 The Princeton Review. “About the SHSAT.” Online Posting. <>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


If somehow through part or all of the high school application process, the student is unhappy with the results, an appeals process can be invoked. There are certain limitations regarding the circumstances involving an appeal and the best thing for students to do is to visit their school counselor. They can then discuss the situation and the counselor can access the necessary paperwork. The last day to submit an appeal is in early March and the results are given at the beginning of June. As an afterschool provider, you can assist your participants who may be going through an appeal process. Working with their parents and the school guidance counselor, you can serve as a source of information and an advocate.


According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling and ACT, youth need “strong preparation In middle school to take the high school classes that colleges require.”16 It’s an unfortunate reality that many young people realize during their junior year of high school that that they have an average transcript and no extracurricular activities, which in the current college admissions environment makes things really tough. Afterschool programs can play a key role in helping youth avoid this pitfall by providing comprehensive college prep activities. It would be impossible for afterschool programs to connect with every high school in New York City—or even every high school in a particular borough. In order to partner with high schools, middle school afterschool programs should take a more targeted approach. This includes attending the high school fairs and open houses in order to make some personal connections with schools. Staff may also want to focus their outreach to those schools that are of higher interest to the young people in their programs. Afterschool programs should also work toward establishing relationships with key personnel from the NYC Department of Education. With the various high school options available, it would be helpful to go directly to the source for any critical information when a young person is experiencing challenges with the application process.

Additional Program Components

Beyond helping middle schoolers navigate the high school search and application process, afterschool programs should provide opportunities for young people to explore their interests, and develop skills and habits that will ensure high school success. All activities should support middle schoolers where they are—at the beginning 16 Strean, Linda. “A Middle School Parent’s College Prep Guide.” Online Posting. October 2007. Great Schools. < showarticle/1099>

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The Road to College for Middle School Youth

stages of developing more complex thinking processes, reasoning skills, and decision-making skills17—all necessary for success in high school, college and life. Programs should incorporate activities that provide young people opportunities to talk openly with their peers, develop a sense of teamwork and responsibility and focus on key topics such as communication, leadership, ethics, time management, financial literacy and health, to name a few. Essentially, the more well-rounded the afterschool program is, the more prepared the young person will be. The section on Building Life Skills provides more detailed information about the role afterschool programs can take in supporting both middle and high school youth to develop these skills and healthy habits .

17 MUSC Children’s Hospital. “Adolescent Medicine: Cognitive Development.” Online Posting. 2006 < cogdev.htm>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


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College Prep in High School


ollege is often seen as a defining moment in a person’s life; a time when lifelong friends are made, and exploration is an everyday activity. In order to participate in this life-changing experience, students must apply for the chance. The process can be long, tiresome, time consuming, and frightening but the rewards of seeing it through are too great to let them pass by. For high school students, the focus of college prep programs shifts toward the application process, including test prep, essay writing and interviewing. This is a critical area of support that afterschool programs can provide while also continuing to build life skills as described in the Building Life Skills section of this guide. In the following pages, all aspects of the college application process will be covered, from the moment students thinks they may want to go all the way through acceptances. The key will be to not rush through the application, giving each aspect the time needed to complete it and knowing how much time will be necessary for the individual involved. Whether they come from a long line of college graduates with a deep history at a particular school or they are the first in their family to go to college, this experience should be an enjoyable one for all students. The counselor can help to shape the experience and should try to frme it in the most positive way possible


The college application process is a lengthy one, with some students putting in years of preparation. It is not something that should be left to the last minute —time and dedication is required for the process to be done properly. The preparation necessary when planning such a massive investment of time and money should not be taken lightly and as such should be a focal point in a student’s junior year of high school—at the latest! If the time is taken to investigate and plan out this process, utilizing as many of the available tools as possible, it will greatly ease the pressure on the student and increase the likelihood they will be happy with the college selection process. A first step in selecting a college is deciding what to look for in a school. Students should ask themselves a series of questions:


Do I want to attend a two- or four-year institution?

Am I looking for a school that seeks to create a particular student body (for example, single

sex or African-American)?

What size school do I want to attend? A large research university or a small liberal arts college?

What programs of study am I considering?

How far from home do I want to go?

Do I wish to participate in any specific extra-curricular activities or athletics?

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


With the answers to these questions and perhaps a few others that may be important to the individual, the student have already narrowed their options and given themselves a more strategic goal. School guidance counselors and afterschool program staff are excellent resources when looking for guidelines like these that might not be at the forefront of a student’s thought process. Their experience can provide students with a new perspective on finding a college that is right for them.

e Field: Lesson from th

College Fairs

Another early step in applying for colleges is simply finding out what is available. There are thousands of colleges across the country and college fairs are a great way of exploring a student’s options. These gatherings are often free and open to the public, making them excellent opportunities to encourage groups of students to attend together. These fairs attract colleges from all over the country and even around the globe. College fairs can be a little overwhelming, so your afterschool program should help each student create a plan before diving into these sometimes chaotic affairs. Your program can help introduce several helpful steps youth can take so that they are prepared for the fair before they even walk through the doors. With the right tools, youth will be better able to take full advantage of the fair and can get the most out of the experience. 1.

The first step is to do a little bit of research. Take the time to help youth pick out some colleges of interest that may fit some of the criteria they have identified.

College Fairs Agency-hosted


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fall sts spring and Settlement ho Grand Street ded by ten at School site their Beacon college fairs at State (CUNY) and of New York ty rsi ve ni U City tives, as NY) representa New York (SU University of by both ir is attended lleges. The fa co te iva pr as well learn lows them to parents and al students and to ional schools t local and reg ren ffe di e th t abou n apply.. which they ca

Keys to Success: •Partnership with the Beacon School provided a number of benefits: space (the gym), the Beacon School college counselors shared contacts with college admissions offices, and Beacon teachers

brought students to the event during the school day. •The hard work and enthusiasm of staff memb ers was crucial to the event’s success.


With the criteria in mind, have youth prepare a list of questions in a notebook to ask college representatives.


Practice asking questions


Explain the concept of the elevator pitch –a 60 second speech where you describe yourself or your project as if you had only a short time in an elevator to make your case. Then help them create and practice elevator pitches about themselves.

• Resources include: space, staff, food, and prizes.

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College Prep in High School

These college fairs should be seen as an opportunity to find out things of particular interest to the student which may not be readily available on the college’s website or pamphlets. No representative will ever tell a potential undergraduate that a particular major is bad at their university, but by asking about the popularity of certain majors this information can be deduced. And while a plan for college fairs is necessary to make the most of the fair, the student should be sure to schedule some time to simply browse around to see what is available. Their dream school may be hidden somewhere among the throngs of colleges vying for attention.

Other Resources for College Information

Gaining as much information as possible about the schools a young person is considering is of major importance, and there are many ways to go about obtaining this information, including published college guides, campus tours, school-sponsored information sessions, overnight stays and web information. One portable resource constantly available to help youth narrow down their options are college guides. There are several available and should be fairly easy to find at any store selling periodicals and can also be found online. Princeton Review and Fiske each publish a college guide with editorial, narrative information on a limited range of schools. Each of these, and all guides with researched descriptions of life on campus, use different criteria and attributes to “rank” the top public and private schools in the nation.

Lesson from the Field: College Fair

Agency: Chinese American Planning Council The agency organized a college fair for the youth participants and invited several New York State colleges and universities to participate.

Keys to Success: • Participation from The City University of New York (CUNY), the State University of New York (SUNY) and some New York State private schools such as the College of Saint Rose St. John’s University

• Continual work by staff to develop partnerships The College Board publishes a set of guides annually that are with area organizations to secure a larger space essential for any college prep program, including the College to grow the fair. Handbook (with factual information on all accredited U.S. • Connections with private colleges to ensure colleges and universities updated annually, cost was $29.95 broader representation of schools so students can for the 2009 edition), the Book of Majors (a listing of all explore all their options. offered college majors, with a state-by-state and degree-level breakdown of which schools offer each major, cost was $25.95 for 2009 edition) and the Scholarship Handbook (listing a wide range of available scholarships from organizations and colleges). Your afterschool program should keep multiple copies of these guides to be made available to the youth in your programs.

Once students have identified some potential matches for their college dreams, the schools’ websites should be their next stop. College websites are full of information for prospective students, including class profiles,


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


information on academic programs, financial aid and extra-curricular activities. Many admissions offices have begun to incorporate blog features on their websites, allowing prospective students to read what current students have to say about their experiences at the school and to engage in live internet chats to get their questions answered. This is a great way for youth to see what current students are saying about the school and interact with college students in a format with which they are comfortable. Finally, many college websites offer “virtual tours” with comprehensive views of their campuses for students who may not be able to visit. Nothing can take the place of a visit to the campus. Tours and information sessions should be attended at any campus youth are seriously considering. If your program is able to organize college trips, this greatly increases the likelihood that young people will be exposed to schools they may otherwise miss. If a student has decided that a college or university is a good match for them, they definitely should not overlook attending open houses or special visit weekends. Colleges will often open their doors to potential students (especially those of lowincome, first-generation backgrounds) to allow them a firsthand taste of what life on campus would be like. Staying with a current student overnight is an excellent chance for youth to get a feel for the pace of the college and to ask real students questions about what it’s like to be enrolled there. Students and program staff should check college websites frequently to learn about these special visiting opportunities, as there is often an application process to qualify for school-sponsored, no-to-low cost programs.

Narrowing Down Choices

As the deadline for applications looms closer, the need to narrow down the selection will become more pressing. A limit to how many schools to apply for will vary from student to student depending on their financial and personal situations, but a good rule of thumb is a balanced list with at least as many less competitive schools as highly selective institutions. Many will employ a rule of shooting for two to three “reach” schools (very selective schools-accepting less than 25% of applicants- or schools where a student’s academic, testing and personal profile are below the middle 50% of accepted students), another two or three “solid” schools (where the student’s profile matches the middle 50% of admitted students well), and finally two to three “likely” schools (where their profile is well within range or above the middle 50% of accepted students). If students apply wisely, with a balance between places that are very competitive and less selective, they should be left with some choices in the spring, rather than only one thick envelope. Also, those students who are in definite need of financial aid should apply to at least one “financial aid safety” – a school, usually local and public, that their family can afford or where they would be able to work to cover the tuition and fees. Whatever the decision on how to select the colleges they want to apply to, the hard work of applying must begin early.

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College Prep in High School

The APPLICATION PROCESS Standardized Testing

In addition to researching schools, the college application process also includes students registering for and taking standardized tests. The SAT is the exam most frequently used (outside of the Western regions) and is given seven times per year at approved testing sites. The ACT is another standardized exam, given five times per year (with an additional September administration in certain states). Registration for both exams is available online, and allows you to search for test sites based on location and code. The SAT Reasoning Exam tests a student’s reasoning ability in math, reading comprehension, and writing, and is scored on a scale of 200-800 in each of three sections, for a total possible score of 2400. The ACT tests a student’s skills in math, science, reading, and English and writing, and is scored on a scale of 1-36. While a few schools will only accept one exam or the other, many will be willing to look at both scores when assessing the student’s application. Recently, a few colleges have questioned the concept of using these tests as an accurate reflection of a student’s competency and have changed their policies to make standardized test scores optional, but these are few and far between18. While the SAT Reasoning Exam is required for most all schools, some schools also require SAT Subject Tests as well. SAT Subject Tests are offered in the areas of English, History, Mathematics, Science and Languages, with a number of choices for different levels of students. Often, students who have difficulty attaining a high score on the SAT Reasoning Test may fare better on the SAT Subject Tests. These exams test mastery of subject matter, and taking them may help a young person show his or her academic strengths, even in the face of low SAT Reasoning Exam scores. Many of the selective private schools require them to be taken, so it is important for youth to consult school guidance counselors or college websites to make sure that they are familiar with the varying policies of their schools of interest. All of these exams have fees associated with them ranging from $20 for subject tests to $45 for the SAT Reasoning Exam. There are also additional processing fees and score distribution fees based on what the student requests.19 Afterschool programs should encourage youth to talk with their high school guidance counselors regarding their eligibility to receive fee-waivers vouchers.

Lesson from the Field:

College Essay Writing Seminar


Children’s Aid Society: EXCEL Program

In the three day college essay writing seminar, seniors work with teachers and one-on- one volunteers to brainstorm, outline, write and proofread college essays. They walk away with a finished, or close to finished, product which they can use for college applications. Students learn the steps of the college admissions process and the basic structure for college essays.

Keys to Success: • Volunteers are college students and recent graduates who share their experience with and insights about college with students • Relationships between students and volunteers often continue after the seminar ends, allowing students to use the volunteers as resources throughout the college application process.

18 Matthews, Jay. “25 Hottest Schools.” Newsweek 20 August 2007 <> 19 The College Board. “SAT Frequently Asked Questions. Online Posting: <>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Personal Statements

The personal statement is one of the most important aspects of the college application and should not be taken lightly. Students should dedicate solid time to writing and revising each of their essays. Upon completing a draft, they should ask an afterschool program staff person, a friend, family member, or mentor to look over the essay for yet another revision. Afterschool programs should be ready to help by: • teaching youth how to structure effective essays •

offering time when youth can interview each other using the personal statement questions as

reading each draft and providing critical feedback related to content, grammar and punctuation

guidelines. This will help them with their first draft.

Often, it is possible to use the same essay for several schools when it is a “personal statement” essay, asking about a student’s life experiences, interests, influences, and hopes for the future. If a college requests a short-answer or additional essay asking “Why do you want to go to this school?”, students must complete additional pieces of writing specific to that school, including details gleaned from their research about the college. Using an essay directed to the admissions department at Yale on an application to Harvard won’t help the student’s odds.

Recommendation Letters

Letters of recommendation are another important piece of the college application. Some schools require up to three letters of recommendation to accompany the application. Encourage the youth you work with to not be shy about asking their favorite teachers, employers, or other relevant people. Asking for recommendations is a valuable skill for young people to learn not only for college applications, but also for future job and scholarship applications. All schools will require letters from teachers of academic subjects, preferably those who have taught the student in the 11th or 12th grade years, in main subjects such as math and English. The young person should give each teacher an extracurricular resume, a recent report card, and an addressed, stamped envelope for mailing the recommendation to the school. Students should ask their references to have it completed at least a week before it is actually due to the school. It’s best for students to ask for these letters at least two months before they’re needed, since the writers occasionally need reminders about getting them done on time. But most caring teachers know that writing college recommendations is an important part of their jobs and will usually just want enough information to do the student justice. Letters from pastors, community members, alumni of the college, and others are not encouraged by colleges, unless they offer an “optional” recommendation. If a student has had a significant outside involvement during the high school years, the person who supervised or advised them may want to write a letter of support. These letters are supplemental and never replace the required teacher recommendation that speaks to a student’s academic ability. Bear in mind, colleges do not like to read lots of supplemental recommendations. Advise students to choose only one additional recommender, if they feel they must, and let their application speak for itself. partnership for afterschool education |


College Prep in High School

Submitting the Application

Once the application is complete and all of the items above have been finished and put together, it is time to send the package off to the admissions offices. Most colleges encourage electronic applications, and many of them accept The Common Application. This computer-based system allows students to fill in personal information in one place and submit applications online to any of the more than 300 members of their network. Each school may also require a supplement that students can also complete through the Common Application. While some public schools will use the Common Application, most public systems still operate their own independent admissions processes. Make sure your students know which mode of application is required by their chosen schools. Most selective, private schools use a January 1st deadline for regular admissions, and most public schools will operate on a rolling basis, where applications are considered and decided upon as they are received. Helping your program participants complete their applications by January 1st will ensure that they are in good shape for all types of schools. Early Decision is an option for students with a clear first choice, who are ready to commit to attending that school if admitted. Students submit their application in early November and receive a decision by mid-December. The decision options are: Accepted (which activates a binding agreement to attend that school); Rejected (the application is closed); or Deferred (where the application goes into the regular pool, with no binding agreement if they are accepted in March/April). A few schools offer an Early Decision II plan, for those students who decide on a first choice later in the year. Early Decision is not an appropriate choice for students who require financial aid to attend college, unless they have applied to schools that guarantee to meet the full financial need of any student who is accepted. There are only a few of these institutions. Early Action is a non-binding option for students where they submit their application and receive a decision in the same time frame as Early Decision. Unlike Early Decision students, applicants are not required to attend the school if they are accepted Early Action and remain free to apply to and potentially accept other offers. The decision options are the same as early decision. Students should retain copies of all applications and supplementary materials that have been submitted in order to be prepared in the event of a problem with their application. Staff should help them to organize these materials.

Following Up

While nearly there, it’s not quite time to relax just yet. Students sometimes forget that even after acceptance, a college can change its mind based on how the rest of their senior year goes. It’s important not to take acceptance for granted and keep grades up for the remainder of their year. This can also work in the student’s favor, as schools can be notified of new accomplishments supporting the value of the student to the university.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Around the middle of spring, acceptance and rejection letters begin to filter in. Every envelope brings a new, potentially life-changing possibility. Currently, the “bulge in the number of high school students, combined with a sharp rise in the number of colleges they apply to, has created a numbers crunch”20 at colleges that result in many rejections nationwide. Despite this trend, receiving even one rejection letter can be very difficult on any young person and can affect their confidence levels. It’s critical for afterschool program staff to reinforce with youth that they should not take rejection letters personally and that they should not feel discouraged. Afterschool programs should also have information sessions for parents on how to support their children if they receive any rejection letters. The student may also receive multiple acceptance letters, which leads to some decision-making. Taking the time and money to visit the schools in consideration a second time, especially if they are able to stay overnight may be a good idea to help make the decision a little easier, and families must take into account the differing financial aid offers coming from each school. When the student has finally come to a conclusion about the school at which they want to spend the next four years, they must formally accept the school’s offer in writing, or electronically. Although not used by every college, the “Universal Candidate’s Reply Date” is May 1st of each spring. The schools will generally provide a postcard, letter or email response request to accomplish this, and will have a separate form for accepting any financial aid offered. The school will likely ask for a deposit along with the acceptance letter. When this is accomplished, the student can feel free to reject any other offers. You should encourage youth to hold onto all paperwork, even if they reject a school as it could be helpful if they change their mind about a school or choose to transfer schools later on.

20 Schworm, Peter. “Wall Of College Rejection Letters: How Kids Cope”, The Boston Globe. April 8, 2008 Online Posting. < articles/2008/04/08/wall_of_rejection_letters_is_teens_group_therapy>

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A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



here was a time in which a high school education was considered enough to attain most careers. However, this is no longer the case as most of the sustainable careers of the 21st century require at least a bachelor’s degree. According the US Census Bureau, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree earns almost 50% more per year than the person who only completed high school.21 In fact, those whose formal education ends with a high school diploma may be more likely to see their real wages decline over time. Fortunately, there are many things afterschool programs can do to help youth to make their transitions to high school and college easier while ensuring that they get the most out of their experience. One way is to encourage them to meet with their school guidance counselor. In middle school, the counselor can support the young person through any academic struggles so that they are better prepared for high school. For high school youth, the counselor can help them to map out a high school curriculum and familiarize them with the college admissions and financial aid processes. Your afterschool program can serve students with academic support services, advocating for youth at their schools, and providing many direct service activities for youth that can greatly improve their chances of acceptance to high school and the college or university of their choice. Another key way to help is by simply providing a quiet space for youth to focus on academics along with qualified staff who can help answer questions related to their school work or standardized tests. Afterschool programs should have various academic support resources readily available for youth, ranging from dictionaries to school text books to sample exams. In addition, afterschool programs can organize regular discussion groups, invite college students to speak about their educational experiences, bring employers to talk about what they look for when hiring, establish mentorship programs that connect young people with adults working the fields they may be interested in pursuing, and much more.

Test Prep

Many schools and afterschool programs offer test prep for youth. If your program doesn’t offer this as an activity (and has no plans to), you should encourage youth to enroll in a test prep course to help them hone study habits and test taking techniques. Your program should have a list of test prep resources available. This includes resources to help prepare for the specialized high schools exams in NYC, the NYS Regents, the PSAT and the SAT.

Study Habits

Fostering good study habits is another essential skill set young people need before entering college life. This includes both note taking strategies that capture the main points of a lecture as well as strategies for taking exams22. It’s a good idea to get a young person in the habit of creating a study schedule for exams and term papers, and this is something which can be done with the support of an afterschool practitioner.

21 Longley, Robert. “College Degree Nearly Doubles Annual Earnings.” US Government Info. Online Posting. < censusandstatistics/a/collegepays.htm?p=1> 22

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Academic Support for Middle & High School Youth

Advanced Placement and Honors classes

Colleges are most interested in students who challenge themselves academically and take the toughest program that they can handle, given what is available at their high schools. Honors classes and College Board Advanced Placement courses display this academic curiosity, as does taking college courses at a local school or through programs like College Now, available in New York City. Sometimes, students can earn college credits ahead of arriving on campus, or “test out” of basic foundation courses that would otherwise fill up the freshman and sophomore years. Performing advanced coursework can show that these young people are both interested in academics and prepared for the work load they will face in college. If your program would like to incorporate test prep or tutoring to support youth who will be taking standardized tests or enrolling in advanced placement and honor classes, there are several key factors and questions to consider as you design your program, including: Activity structure Should you offer individualized assistance, small group help or large group support activities? What materials do you need to support this design (e.g. number of test prep books, sample exams, text books)? Scheduling How often should you offer these activities? Should you offer this during regular weekday programming or add a Saturday or evening component?

Lesson from the Field: Technology and Career Building

Agency: New Settlement Apartments To teach networking skills and support alumni as they look for jobs, New Settlement has created a student-run, online job-finding project. Using Facebook, students have designed a dedicated group where they post job opportunities that they find out about through research, their school career centers, and through word of mouth.

Staffing Should you use volunteers or hire staff—or use some combination of these? What qualifications do they need to provide academic support to middle and high school youth? (see more in the Staffing section of this guide.) What kind of professional development will you need to provide?


Keys to Success:

• The project is a part of alumni program, encouraging students to stay connected.

• Students do independent research with staff support • Students design and maintain the group, while staff monitors the site to ensure it remains appropriate and professional. • Emails are sent to the group to share new information

By participating in your afterschool program, young people are already engaged in extracurricular activities. As a program, you are responsible for helping young people understand how your program is supporting their


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


development and learning and helping them learn how to communicate this to schools they want to attend. In addition to your program, all school-run extracurricular activities such as the drama club, school news papers, or political action groups are great ways to show a wide array of interests and skill sets on a college application. Clubs are Field: e th m o fr also great ways to find out about internships and scholarship opportunities. Lesson ps u ro G g n li Youth may also engage in other activities that support their interests and Counse skills, such as internships and volunteer opportunities. lement tt Se n io n Agency: U work oups youth unseling gr co d se ba lhoo grades In small sc to improve arning how le r, lo se n to u with a co t each other also suppor th ou Y . ls skil rformance, and study academic pe ls, increase il sk e es th practice ade with they have m the progress e ar sh to get to d an allow staff all groups sm e Th k. ovide homewor level and pr ore personal m a on ts n hers. know stude ns with teac ve interactio ti si po h it youth w

Keys to Success:

• Program provides inc entives to all studen ts but particularly those who show the most improvement. The sm all groups compete for additional incentives as teams, with reward s going to the teams wit h the most peer suppor t and where students make the most progres s. • Collaboration becom es a part of student skill sets, adding a compon ent not usually focu sed on in traditional school ing. Students becam e more open with one anoth er and learn to seek out support and provide it to others.


Nonprofits, faith-based organizations and businesses are always looking for help, and afterschool programs can help provide that link for young people. Internships can help youth to gain real world experience as well as provide contacts within various industries which can be extremely beneficial after graduation. Afterschool programs can use this as an opportunity to help youth while establishing relationships with local businesses and connecting with board members’ companies. Programs serving high school youth can also connect with elementary afterschool programs that need high school interns. In addition to helping another afterschool program, the young person is also exposed to a career in youth services. Afterschool programs can also make available computers with internet access for youth to explore job web sites for possible internship opportunities.


In addition to serving as a great learning experience, community service also builds a stronger college application, and many high schools offer school credit for significant volunteer involvement. Because young people might find it challenging to find volunteer activities, your afterschool program can serve as the perfect place for them to gain this experience. Your afterschool program can incorporate community • Communication ski lls improved. Studen service activities to help fill this need while helping your agency build ts who were once withd rawn and reluctant better connections with the community. Engaging in volunteer activities to participate become exc ited to be at school an can start in middle school and carry through to high school with young d happy to share with others. people taking on a variety of service activities, thereby expanding their resumes. In addition to participating in your afterschool program’s service activities, youth can also look for opportunities through their church, synagogue, mosque or other religious institutions and community centers. Additionally, large organizations like the Red Cross or the United Way are also always looking for help. Like internships, volunteering is a great way to start thinking about what kind of career your youth may want to pursue. partnership for afterschool education |





A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



reparing youth academically for high school and college and providing guidance through the application processes are just two pieces of college prep programming. In order to be really effective and help improve a participant’s chance of success, an effective program must also help youth acquire other skills that will help them flourish in college and later in life. For a young person who is about to go off to college, there are myriad of new challenges they must face. Not only do they have to negotiate a totally new scholastic work structure that relies extensively on self motivation, they are for the first time completely responsible for their own physical and mental wellbeing. Afterschool programs offer the opportunity to help young people cultivate these essential life skills--beginning in the middle school years. These skills include communication, leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, technological literacy, and time management. In addition, young people need to have knowledge of core thematic areas such as financial literacy, health, civics and global understanding.23

Lesson from the Field: Single Gender Discussion Groups


Groundwork, Inc.

Through single-gender discussion groups, girls met with female staff and boys with male staff to have candid discussions about their experiences in East New York (Brooklyn), in high school, and their

Many of these skills are taught as a part of by normal program activities, but consideration of them during program design will help your agency offer more effective college prep programming. This Guide contains sample lesson plans that support these life skills.


thoughts about college. The goal of these discussions is to help students to begin thinking about the various life decisions they will have to make in college. Having these discussions before going to college will help students prepare for the cultural shift that occurs there, and will make them more self-aware so that they can confidently manage potentially difficult decision-making.

Keys to Success: • The staff are respected and trusted by the students, and are positive role models. • Necessary resources include: space, staff, funding, administrative supervision and support for staff and students.

Comfort with public speaking, an understanding of informal vs. formal writing and speech as well as an ability to utilize clear and concise style(s) are all important aspects of successful communication. These are skills that will be put to use in a variety of ways such as writing college application essays, interviews, providing presentations, high school and college writing assignments, and writing emails. Afterschool programs can help to hone all of these communication skills that are necessary for success in college and in life. In addition to providing straightforward writing support activities, afterschool programs can support communication skillbuilding by infusing practice with these skills through such programming as theater arts, creative literacy activities, debate, and discussion or rap groups. These activities can take place in both middle and high school.

23 Adapted from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. “Framework for 21st Century Learning.” Online Posting. < documents/framework_flyer_updated_jan_09_final-1.pdf>

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Building Life Skills

LEADERSHIP and ETHICS When in college many young people are completely independent for the first time, and they will have to be manage their academics as well as make important decisions on their own. Having the initiative and capacity to envision and carry out projects and participate in civic engagement activities with little adult guidance can be difficult. Helping young people understand the importance of being responsible for their own actions can make the transition easier. Afterschool programs should offer many opportunities for youth to take on leadership roles. This can take place informally with afterschool staff asking for volunteers to take on daily or weekly jobs, or more formally through such activities as youth councils, participatory evaluations, community service and event planning (e.g. a youth conference). In middle school, there are wonderful opportunities for genderspecific activities where young people can discuss issues of personal responsibility in safe environments. Additionally, afterschool programs should offer youth activities and discussions that allow them to explore values and moral dilemmas. As an example, programs can create their own “Scruples” game, allowing teens participate in developing the questions. Ethical dilemmas such as plagiarism are important for college students to understand, and how to identify it is not always straightforward. Understanding what is appropriate and what is not before entering college can help a student avoid a lot of difficulty.

CRITICAL THINKING Being able to think critically and solve problems are important skills for any young person to be successful in college and in the work environment. Young people need to learn how to take any situation, analyze it, make a decision and be reflective about it. “True critical thinking is higher-order thinking, enabling a person to, for example, responsibly judge between political candidates, serve on a murder trial jury, evaluate society’s need for nuclear power plants, and assess the consequences of global warming.”24 Helping youth build critical thinking skills can be easily incorporated into most afterschool activities. Youth practitioners just need to be intentional about what they do and how they process activities with youth. Critical thinking can be supported through games and team building activities as well as through activities with direct academic links like math and science, or with supplementary programs such as chess and debate clubs. Community service is another great way to develop critical thinking skills by involving young people in identifying a need in their community and developing service action plans to address that need.

COLLABORATION and TEAM WORK College can be a very community oriented learning environment, and being able to recognize and appreciate the skills and abilities of others can be an invaluable skill for success. Having the ability to work well in groups, 24 Schafersman, Steven D. “An Introduction to Critical Thinking.” January, 1991. Online Posting. <>


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


a willingness to share credit and being able to take responsibility for oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own share of group work can make college a much easier experience. This also provides a good foundation for working in environments that rely on individual workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ability to be team players. Afterschool programs can support this by infusing collaborative projects into existing activities as well as by facilitating team building exercises followed by group discussions.


A basic understanding of computer operating systems, including word processing, spreadsheet applications, internet research skills, and familiarity with professional email communication are all necessary skills to have in college where much of the work assigned will need to be done using computers. Afterschool programs with even a small computer lab can provide instruction on how to use computers effectively. This will help them in high school and college as they have to do everything from use e-mail to communicate with other students, teachers and professors, to researching colleges and scholarships to writing essays, and later, conducting a job search. Because there are so many young people who have a good understanding of how to use computers, afterschool programs can also incorporate supervised peer instruction. Peer instruction and peer learning provide a great opportunity to support some of the other life skills like collaboration, team work and leadership.

TIME MANAGEMENT One of the most essential skills to a successful college career is efficient time management. A good first step is creating a master schedule of all classes and extra curricular obligations (including homework time allotment). Task lists are also a good way to organize the most pressing deadlines. Afterschool programs can help build time management with concrete activities such as giving young people projects and tasks to manage through which they develop schedules, timelines, and must meet goals. Providing consistent messages for both middle and high school youth about the importance of time management as well as tools and strategies they can use is another great role for afterschool programs. A generic Google search will produce dozens of results for books and websites that have more information and strategies for students about time management. SEE APPENDIX B: REPRODUCIBLE SAMPLE SCHEDULE SPREADSHEET

FINANCIAL LITERACY When youth begin college, they need to be able to negotiate the financial aid matrix as well as their new found financial independence. A familiarity with financial and economic terminology is a necessary first step. For young people entering college, it is important they have a clear understanding of not only their credit ratings and loan agreements, but also their taxes and general financial solvency. Providing personal financial partnership for afterschool education |


Building Life Skills

management skills, including helping young people learn how to open checking accounts and reviewing financial aid information, is tremendously valuable. In addition, helping young people to understand the importance of responsible spending as well as the potential dangers of credit cards and debt are essential life skills for them to have both in college and beyond. Helping them create a budget for their living expenses is a great way to teach them how to control spending and debt. Afterschool programs for middle and high school are in a unique position to be able to incorporate financial literacy into their programming. There is no shortage of resources for financial literacy, including the PASE curriculum Dollars and Sense: Building Financial Dreams available on the PASE website at: SEE APPENDIX C: REPRODUCIBLE SAMPLE BUDGET SHEET

HEALTH Good health habits, which include good nutrition, regular exercise, and knowing how to avoid risks to physical and mental well-being are invaluable to young people. A regular exercise regimen not only helps to maintain physical health but can provide great stress relief when dealing with the transitions to high school and college, as well as opening up the opportunity to create a supportive group of friends through teams or intramural sports. Adjusting to eating meals in cafeterias and late-night pizza runs can lead to weight gain in the first months of college therefore learning to cook a few nutritional meals is a great way to keep healthy and can be an effective money saving strategy. Programs with kitchen space can also incorporate cooking classes and those with open spaces can infuse physical fitness activities. Additionally, college social life also poses risks to young adults’ physical and mental health; it is crucial that programs address issues of alcohol and drug use and responsible sexual behavior, in addition to dating violence. Middle and high school afterschool programs can incorporate hands-on workshops for youth to teach them how to keep themselves healthy now. Good habits established in the middle and high school years will ensure that young people begin college in the best health.


Lesson from the Field: Financial Literacy: Economic Empowerment


Agency: Children’s Aid Society: EXCEL Program The Economic Empowerment Initiative consists of

monthly financial literacy workshops with 8th and

11th graders. These workshops include training on

savings, budgeting, credit, and investing. Students

begin to learn and understand the concepts

and functions of finance in their lives through

managing mock financial lives, including budgets,

checking and savings accounts, credit cards and

reports, as well as investments (basic, mutual funds,

CDs, etc)

Keys to Success Director, effective work of the Program relies on the r d Program Instructo Assistant Director, an Day helpful include: Pay Resources that are www., board game, www.m -teen (pre g, communitycorner.or financial section), ww

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING Our young people need to be able to understand the world around them beyond what takes place on a daily basis in their immediate community. In school they can learn about geography, history and government, but “the skills, which include the ability to help shape public judgment, are created by meeting, talking, and thinking with other members of the student’s community inside and outside of the school.”25 When young people enter college, understanding their relationship to a larger global context will not only be important academically, but will also aid them immensely as they adapt to a new social, intellectual and geographical environment. This is the perfect place for afterschool programs to support school-day learning while building young people’s life skills. Any programming that engages youth in learning about other countries and cultures helps to build a global understanding. Programming can include, but needs to go beyond food and dance. Middle school and high school programs can address religious plurality, conflict resolution, communication, citizenship and other global themes. This can be done through music activities, discussion groups, and trips to cultural institutions, to name just a few options.

25 Titus, Charles. “Civic Education for Global Understanding.” ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education Bloomington IN. (ED370882), April 1994. Online Posting. <>

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A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



othing can replace quality personnel in effective youth programming. Staff who bring their talents, compassion, and desire to learn to enrich every aspect of their programs from building strong relationships with young people to effectively delivering services. However, hiring and supporting the development of qualified staff and volunteers can be challenging especially in those programs with a small staff and few resources. Many of the skills needed for a successful college prep program may be present in your current staff, and the work may be restructuring their job descriptions to incorporate college prep activities. For example, a staff social worker may also be a talented writer, who is able to help students with their college essays. Some of the skills needed for a college prep program may be different from those of your other afterschool program activities. For that reason, this section is designed to help lay out steps and demystify the processes of working with staff in afterschool college prep programs in three central areas: 1) Recruitment and Hiring, 2) Training and Professional Development, and 3) Recruitment and Volunteer Management.

RECRUITING AND HIRING APPROPRIATE STAFF The first step in finding the right staff is determining what is appropriate and needed for your particular program. Below are three helpful questions to ask, together with colleagues, in order to clarify the needs of your program. Use the ideas and answers generated by these questions to develop a job description and determine where to focus your recruitment activities. Question 1) What is the goal of your program or the mission of the larger organization? By examining the goal of your program you can determine what personal qualities and outlook you need staff to have to achieve these goals. For example, you might have a program goal to provide an encouraging, fun space for young people to pursue their dreams. In order to meet that goal you might decide that the most important qualities for future staff is a positive attitude, comfort working with young people, and a good sense of humor. Conversely, your program might be committed to teaching professional skills to young people. In this case your first priority might be someone who exhibits professionalism, and focuses on organization and efficiently completing tasks. Of course, honesty, integrity, and enthusiasm for the success of young people are qualities that all youth-serving organizations should seek out in all of their employees. Question 2) What services do you provide? College readiness programs offer a range of services and a variety of approaches, such as providing SAT prep courses, leading tours of college campuses, counseling youth through their application process, and learning activities that support the development of life skills. Given this range, it is essential to consider which concrete skills your program needs from a new staff member. Do you need a public speaker, a social worker, or an experienced academic tutor? Do you need someone very familiar with the local colleges in your area, a veteran partnership for afterschool education |


Staffing your College

in the public school system, an SAT tutor, or an excellent writer to help students with their essays? While you may want all of these skills, such a candidate may be impossible to find. Your search will be much more effective once you determine the main services and the necessary skills to target. It is also important to consider the overall structure of your program in order to identify any other criteria a potential staff member must meet such as skills related to services provided throughout entire program, weekend availability, a driver’s license, or access to a car in order to make college visits. Familiarity with the different types of college application processes and the college experience are both essential. A bachelor’s degree should be a pre-requisite for most programs. It is important that any College Prep staff member be able to model the application, attendance and completion of college to prospective students. Staff without a bachelor’s degree should be current college students, so that they are familiar with the application and financial aid processes and able to serve as role models for youth in the program. Other necessary skills include: • Effective Communication • Understanding the developmental needs of middle and high school youth • Ability to work with a team • Understanding of Nutrition and health needs of youth • Ability to teach financial literacy activities Question 3) What communities are you serving? What are the specific demographics and needs of the young people you are serving? You may have a group young people whose parents speak languages other than English; perhaps foreign language skills may be crucial for new staff in order to engage those parents in the college prep process. You may have foster care youth in your program who have difficulty getting the credits to graduate because of being moved from school to school. You may also need a staff person who understands the foster care system and knows the challenges these youth face and can identify special resources that can help. While you won’t be able to hire someone who meets every need of every young person in your program, you can be sensitive and creative in considering how to best match the needs of your young people with qualified adults.

BUILDING a RECRUITMENT STRATEGY Developing a Job Description

Job descriptions are standard practice, and you have probably written many in the past. You want the description to give a sense of the overall responsibilities of the job but you also want to encourage people to apply. Once you combine all the things that you identified above (the personal qualities, skills, and background) you already


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


have the bulk of the job description. However, in order to recruit effectively you also have to write about the strengths of your program. This leads to one more question: Question 4) What are the most rewarding aspects of your program? It is important to include the positive aspects of the job in your publicity materials. Working with young people, particularly in supporting them reach for their dreams, can be incredibly gratifying work, and you should take advantage of that! You might want to emphasize such things as staff camaraderie, making a difference in the lives of youth, a creative and flexible work atmosphere, and supporting your community. Speak with your colleagues and brainstorm together what you value and enjoy about your work. It will be a good exercise for the job description, interview process and your own motivation!

Conduct a Broad Search

Now let the world know about the great position that is opening up in your organization! As you already have identified the characteristics of your desired hire, it is time to brainstorm where to find those people. Reaching out to targeted groups who have members with desired characteristics is more effective than doing generalized advertising. For example, you may reach out to fraternities/sororities and professional associations (eg. college admissions counselors), post flyers at the nearby colleges, or pay for a posting in local newspapers. In addition to targeting specific groups, publicize the position in as many places as possible. These combined efforts will help you get a strong pool of applicants.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is almost always the best method for recruiting talented staff. Every event you host or attend is an opportunity to get out the word about the position and your organization. One good idea is to discuss with current staff how to talk publicly about the new position.

Listservs and Websites:

The Internet is an amazing tool for reaching out to many people efficiently. There are numerous useful listservs and postings including the PASE Job Bulletin at (for jobs in the youth development and afterschool field) and (for non-profit jobs and volunteer opportunities internationally). Professional association websites often maintain a job board, which will be visited by those with the skills sets that you seek. The National Association of College Admissions Counselors ( or the National Association of Social Workers ( may be good places to post vacancies, depending on the specific skills your program is seeking (i.e. a staff member who can perform counseling duties, as well as managing the college program, or someone who is highly experienced in selective college admissions.) partnership for afterschool education |


Staffing your College Prep Program

Sample job description Full-time College Prep Counselor sought for Brooklyn-based afterschool program to help students achieve their dream ofdream attending college. [Write a brief description of your program agencyorhere.] students achieve their of attending college. [Write a brief description of your or program agency here.]

Duties: • Assist middle and high school youth in assessing their educational needs. Duties: Providemiddle advising areasschool such as academic preparation, admissions,needs. testing, financial aid, career exploration •• Assist andinhigh youth in assessing their educational and form completion. beas one-on-one group advising. • Provide advisment in This areasmay such academic or preparation, admissions, testing, financial aid, career

• exploration Maintain on-going advising relationships youth. and form completion. This maywith be one-on-one or group advising. Conduct outreach at schools, libraries, community agencies, faith based organizations, etc. •• Maintain on-goingactivities advising relationships with youth. Plan and/or conduct campusatvisits, college fairs, financial aidagencies, workshops, testbased preparation sessionsetc. and early •• Conduct outreach activities schools, libraries, community faith organizations, awareness • Plan and/orworkshops. conduct campus visits, college fairs, financial aid workshops, test preparation sessions and • early Track,awareness collect, andworkshops. report data for services provided. Prepare reports. •• Track, collect, and report data for services provided.

• Prepare reports. Qualifications: • Bachelor’s Degree in education, counseling or other related field. Qualifications: •• Strong oralDegree and written communication skills. Bachelor’s in education, counseling or other related field. Ability to initiate activities and work independently. •• Strong oral and written communication skills. Knowledge in areas related to post-secondary •• Ability to initiate activities and work independently. education including admission, financial aid, career areas related to post-secondary education including admission, financial aid, career • Knowledge • exploration. Ability to communicate and cooperate with diverse populations. Bi-lingual skills helpful. and cooperate with diverse populations. •• Ability to communicate • Bi-lingual skills helpful.

(Sample Job Description adapted from the National College Access Network’s “Advisor Training Module” page 2)

Others websites such as charge a small fee to post, but are visited by thousands of people daily and may be worth the fee to your organization.

Your Organization’s Website:

Don’t forget to update your own website! Add the position on your jobs or news page or in a pop-up menu. Also, it is recommended to send an email announcement to your email list (people already in your circle are often very passionate about your work).

College Career Centers

Most colleges have an Office of Career Services. Their primary responsibility is to help their alumnae and students find jobs. Sometimes these offices are specific to one department, and other times they


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


are university-wide. Most offices advertise jobs in a variety of ways, including sending out regular email blasts with job positions, maintaining job bulletins, and hosting career days for employers to meet with students. Contact the offices directly in order to find out what opportunities they provide to employers.

Print Resources

Advertise in both large citywide papers and local papers to reach out to the general population and targeted communities.

TRAINING your STAFF Hiring the right people is the only the first step towards running a great program. Even the most qualified employees need an orientation to the job, continuing education as the field changes, and opportunities to grow. Each program should create a professional development plan that starts with an assessment of staff competencies and an examination of common areas of need. The afterschool program should offer group training or outsource their training on those topics that are common needs among most staff. The plan should include a timeframe for professional development in order to keep staff on track and current as well as a listing of resources available and needed. Together with the staff, the program supervisor should create individualized professional development plans to support staff skill building in areas that are specific to the individual. It is important to note that if your youth have needs that cannot be adequately met by someone on staff, you should refer the young people to places that have qualified staff who can meet those needs. SEE APPENDIX D: REPRODUCIBLE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING TOOL

Staff Orientation

All staff should receive training in the policies/procedures of their organization, their rights as employees, and how to access benefits. Staff will also need to be trained in the software and database system used in the program. Communication with staff should be both transparent and inclusive to make sure that everyone is on the same page and fully involved. Staff orientations are also a time to discuss the agency mission and vision as well as the afterschool program goals and expectations. Orientations should also be a time to begin building staff cohesion by providing time for staff to get to know each other and learn about each others strengths and skill sets.

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Professional Development Modalities

There are a variety of professional development modalities that afterschool programs can utilize to engage their staff. Some can be provided in-house by qualified staff, peers or consultants, while others may be provided outside of oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own agency, such as through intermediary organizations like PASE, higher education institutions, or community based organiztions. These modalities can include:


Usually single-sessions that can range from an hour to several hours; workshops provide great introductions and refreshers on specific topic areas. They also provide opportunities for staff to share ideas with each other or with staff of other organizations if located off-site.


Conferences for afterschool providers, youth workers, college access counselors serve as great opportunities to build knowledge and network with other practitioners, and gain exposure to a wider set of issues facing peers in the field. This type of setting allows for easy resource sharing which is invaluable for the development of an afterschool program.

College Fairs or visits from a particular university:

In every city, there are a variety of college fairs throughout the year. Most are general, but many have a particular focus such as portfolio review fairs for art schools, or the National Black College Tour of representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. College fairs are full of print, interactive and video information about colleges that staff can use to build their knowledge about the various schools. College fairs are a great time to meet representatives from different schools, to introduce your program, and describe the types and numbers of students that can be found there. Most universities visit high schools directly to recruit applicants. If you are a school-based program, you have the opportunity to work closely with the high school counselors to take advantage of these opportunities. If you are not school-based, meeting admissions counselors at college fairs and developing relationships with them will encourage them to visit your program directly. Staff should use these opportunities to ask the school representatives for tips on how your program can better help youth prepare for the college application process.


Networking is valuable in increasing the effectiveness of your organization. By meeting colleagues working on similar issues, you have the opportunity to discuss and share best practices and to collaborate on common issues. Also, as mentioned above, networking with people involved in other areas of the field can bring in allies and resources that ultimately benefit your program.


A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Information Sessions:

Most public university systems have advantages that apply primarily to students from their particular area or state. All of these systems have information sessions for high school guidance counselors and other youth workers helping students through the application process. For example, in New York State the SUNY (State University of New York) system maintains an Information Center in mid-town Manhattan that anyone can visit to learn more about New York State’s public university opportunities. Counselors from SUNY are there to answer questions and help guide student and adults’ research. Most of these centers also provide ample information about the financial aid application process, including state entitlement programs for students with high financial need. Take advantage of these resources, as well as the training programs that are offered, as they are usually free or at very low cost.

Web Resources:

The Internet is a great place to continue developing professionally and participate in ongoing training. This includes accessing written materials and databases (such as scholarship databases) as well as webinars, and listservs. See the last section of this Guide for great web-based resources.

Professional Development Topics:

All staff providing college prep programming should receive training to ensure they all have the foundational knowledge needed to work with youth in your program. PASE recommends that staff receive baseline training in the topics outlined below. These workshops were all provided by PASE for staff participating in this college prep capacity building pilot program. In addition to learning new ideas and strategies, staff also have opportunities to develop and share their own best practices and resources.

Foundations of Youth Development: Staff learn about ages and stages of youth development to gain a broad understanding of the needs of middle and high school youth. Staff also learn how to make connections between program activities and how these activities support youth’s developmental needs.

Goal Setting for College Bound Youth: Staff learn strategies for helping youth understand the connections between the choices they make and future careers. Staff learn how to a) help youth make decisions about high school course loads; b) work with youth to set realistic goals; and c) teach youth how to create action plans based on their goals.

Engaging Parents as Partners: Staff explore strategies for strengthening their relationships with parents and families in order to engage them as partners in the process of supporting youth through high school as well as with the college application and acceptance process. Staff explore barriers to parent/family involvement and brainstorm potential solutions to these challenges.

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Staffing your College Prep Program

Survival Strategies - Helping Youth and Family Make Transitions: Staff learn strategies for working with youth on the transition from middle school to high school or from high school to college. This includes preparing youth and their families for academic, financial, social and emotional changes that will take place.

Working with Undocumented Youth: Staff learn about the issues facing undocumented youth regarding access to higher education, in particular college admissions and financial aid. Workshops covers state laws and regulations, the Dream Act, resources available to undocumented youth, and the issues that confront youth once they arrive at college. (Note: this workshop is considered part of foundational training for all programs serving undocumented youth.) SEE APPENDIX E FOR RESOURCES FOR WORKING WITH UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH AND BEST PRACTICE TIP #2: TROUBLESHOOTING FINANCIAL AID APPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS IN TRICKY SITUATIONS [PAGE 99]

In addition to the baseline training, staff should receive training related to completing documentation (high school and college applications, financial aid forms, standardized test forms) and should be linked into networks where they can learn about any changes to the forms, processes or regulations. Within the College Prep field, many of these opportunities are targeted to high school guidance counselors, but can be attended by others.

WORKING WITH VOLUNTEERS Volunteers can be important resources for College Prep programs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and not only because of limited funding. A successful businessperson might be an unlikely applicant for an agency staff position, but s/he can make an excellent volunteer or mentor. Volunteers provide youth programs and the young people they serve with a variety of role models with different professions and backgrounds, as well as resources such as connections to various alumni networks. Volunteers can aid your agency by filling a variety of roles including tutoring, general mentoring, college campus ambassadors, and career guides. College students can also be valuable volunteers because of their recent experience with the college and financial aid application processes as well as their up-to-date understanding of what the current college experience entails. As you already know, working with College Prep programs is extremely rewarding. Many people are interested in making a positive impact on the lives of youth and supporting young people preparing for college is a very tangible way to do so. With even a few hours a month, an adult can make an impact. While respect should be paid to the time passionate volunteers are willing to donate to your program, untrained and unguided volunteers are a liability, not an asset. Although volunteers are unpaid, your agency may require a full- or part-time paid position to manage your volunteer program. These managers would be responsible for the screening, interviewing, training, placing and the general guidance and supervision of volunteers. By


A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


having someone who specializes in volunteers, it will make the relationship between your volunteers and your agency much smoother.

Identifying Program Needs26

As with paid staff, it is essential to first determine what kinds of characteristics and skills are important for volunteers in your program. You might have dreamed of offering a computer skills club in your program, but not have the capacity with the current staff or volunteers. Once you start telling people about your idea, you might find a volunteer to teach it. Until you articulate what your program needs, it will be difficult to find it. A few simple questions you should ask yourself about your program can help guide the volunteer recruitment and selection process: 1) What are the goals of your program? 2) What services do you provide or would you like to provide? 3) What communities are you serving? 4) What are the most rewarding aspects of your job? By answering these questions you can identify personal qualities and skills needed, identified demographic needs, and come up with a program “pitch” that can help you begin to formulate a volunteer job description.

Writing a Volunteer Job Description

Even volunteers need a clear job description, especially those who may be hesitant to volunteer without a clear understanding of what will be expected of them. Writing a job description will also help you target what you are looking for. A volunteer description may advertise a wider variety of possible skills and backgrounds than a paid position would, as you are likely hoping to recruit many volunteers. A volunteer job description should include: • Desired qualities and skills: • Include information from answers to the questions you answered about program needs. • Benefit for volunteers • Ways they can make a difference in a young person’s life. • Time commitment • The time commitment needed from the volunteer. If you can accommodate people who only 26 Garringer, Michael. “Effective Mentor Recruitment: Getting Organized, Getting Results.” 2006. Jucovy, Linda. “Recruiting Volunteers: A Guide to Finding Volunteers to Work With You.” 2001

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have one hour per week or can help with only one event, emphasize that as well. • Responsibilities • If there are a variety of possible positions, you can leave is open with language such as: “Responsibilities may include…” • Criminal history check • As with all paid staff working with youth, you should check the criminal background of volunteers. Let them know that upfront. Keep in mind that you may need more than one job description for volunteers depending on the overall needs of your program.

Recruiting Volunteers

Doing recruitment requires significant time and teamwork but can be a great way to get the message out about your organization. The following steps can help break down the process and enable you to be more effective in your efforts: The first step in any recruitment program is to identify your target groups. It is almost always more effective to target groups who will likely have an affinity for your message than going after the general public. Target groups can share similar values and goals, or have members with necessary skills or backgrounds. Some examples of groups to target include: college students or even particular clubs in a local college (keep in mind schedules of students, including vacations, finals, etc.); college financial aid and admissions counselors (might give financial aid or general admissions workshops); professional associations such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (could mentor one on one, lead a writing workshop, speak about career experiences, etc.); and board members who are already invested in the organization can also bring various professional experiences to the table. In addition, there are often many corporate volunteer programs. As the volunteers come from the professional sector, they often bring specific and refined skill sets, which can be an excellent resource for your program. These corporate programs may also offer funding to match their employee volunteer hours. The parents of the youth served by your organization are also an important resource not to be overlooked. If their children are involved in your program, they will most likely be very motivated either to offer their own time, or to recruit from within their community. One of the best ways to find groups to target is by tapping into the networks already established in your organization. Board members, existing volunteers, staff members and young people are part of all part of various organizations and communities who you can tap into. Getting volunteers to be active in your program, especially if you are targeting busy professionals or college students with hectic schedules, can be a difficult process. There are a variety of hurdles that afterschool programs


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


can face in attracting volunteers – identifying these potential difficulties and brainstorming strategies to overcome them can greatly help increase volunteer interest and make recruitment an easier process. Consider together with your team what will be the challenges to recruiting volunteers for your program. For example, many adults are still working during the after school hours when you need them. In fact, time commitment is often a major deterrent to potential volunteers; some may feel that they are too busy to volunteer. Come up with a list of possible challenges along with some ideas as to how you will address those issues. If, for example, you are looking for college students, many of whom have flexible schedules during the day, it may be more effective if you highlight daytime volunteer opportunities. If you are looking to recruit busy professionals, it may help to highlight the immense impact that a relatively small time commitment can make – even a one-time, two-hour career presentation could be inspirational for a young person. When recruiting, it helps to be able to respond directly to the specific concerns that may be raised by those to whom you are reaching out. Once you feel comfortable that you can adequately respond to volunteer concerns, it is time to develop a marketing plan with a very consistent message. Anyone familiar with the basic principles of marketing will know that it is essential to develop clear, consistent and appealing messaging. Consistency signifies that your agency is dependable, and well established. In coming up with your message for volunteers, always consider what they will gain and emphasize the positive contribution they will be able to make. For example, one message could be: “College opened doors for you…now you can open doors for young people by helping them access college education.” Once your marketing campaign is in place, you can begin to design your overall outreach plan. Get your team together and make a plan for the who/what/where/when/and how. There should be a lead person, realistic goals, a clear time period to execute the plan, and a budget to pay for it. There are many ways to advertise your new slogan and message. Radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs), newspaper print ads and flyers at the local grocery store or religious organizations. Announcing volunteer opportunities at every public event hosted by your agency or like-minded organizations and revamping your website to have a volunteer recruitment video and sign up page are also good outreach methods. Make sure to involve everyone in your strategy and incorporate recruitment into the many things you already do. Recruitment comes not only through your organized recruitment efforts but also through every day work.27 Keep your eyes open at all times and let everyone in your organization know that they play a public role in the organization. Staff, current volunteers, board members, and even parents and participants play a part. Alums also make excellent recruiters and volunteers.28

27 Garringer, Michael ‘Effective Mentor Recruitment: Getting Organized, Getting Results” pg 8 28 Jucovy, Linda “Recruiting Mentors: A guide to finding volunteers to work with youth” p. 7-9

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Staffing your College Prep Program

Utilizing Volunteers

There are many ways to utilize volunteers, so get creative. Below is a list of possible suggestions to get the ball rolling: • Bring in professionals to lead one-time workshops for young people on topics where they possess expertise such as “College Application Essay Writing”, or “The Life of a Nutritionist”, “Financial Aid 101”, “Preparing a Portfolio for Art School”, “Interviewing 101”, “How to Prepare for Law School”, etc. • Recruit adults to support one young person through their application process • Involve volunteers in organizing fundraisers • Get help with administrative tasks • Ask local college students to lead tours their campuses or to do panel presentations on college life • Provide SAT test prep tutoring

A well-utilized corps of volunteers can help sustain an effective college prep program when expanding your paid staff is not possible, or when looking to enrich aspects of your program.

Training and Managing Volunteers29

In order to maintain a professional and skilled group of volunteers, your program may want to create an in depth screening and training process. All volunteers should be treated in a professional manner, similar to that of paid staff that respects both their talents and passion to help. Many organizations require interviews, orientation sessions, and fairly extensive training to ensure that their volunteers have the skills appropriate to do a good job. It is important for an agency to establish clear expectations of their volunteers, stating exactly what will and will not be expected of them. This may best be accomplished by creating a volunteer contract, where all expectations and duties are clearly delineated. The volunteer should be given a copy to use as a reference. Because they will be working directly with the youth and parents who are part of your program, it is essential that all volunteers are well informed of your agency’s policies and procedures. They are part of the public face of your organization and should be able to maintain your professional image. Providing each volunteer with a packet containing the contract, program and organization descriptive materials, and any documents and contact information related to the work they’ll be doing is key to ensuring that they have all the required information. If volunteers do not meet the expectations of your organization or program, it must be addressed appropriately and immediately. At first, the aim should be to help a volunteer to get back on track by going over the expectations and explaining exactly how their efforts are falling short, or are inappropriate. If a volunteer has difficulty taking this feedback or does not seem able to fulfill what is needed by the program, the agency will be responsible for severing the relationship and letting them go. Clear policies should exist in your organization to ensure that these difficult conversations are as painless as possible.



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Engaging Parents and Caregivers

WHAT FAMILIES NEED to KNOW Families of youth are important partners in the college application process. Whether a student has parents who are proactive and involved or ones who are not a daily presence at home, each young person will need support and key documentation from their families as they go through the high school application as well as college admission and financial aid application processes. While it can pose a significant challenge, parents and caregivers need to be engaged as much as possible from the very beginning of your work with young people. Families need to know what their child is doing for college process, and they will also have opinions that their children must hear and consider. Program staff can assist students as they progress through the process, make sure families have key information, and mediate difficulties for all involved. To ensure the best outcome for each student, all families need at least the following information: 1.

The high school admissions process (for middle school)


The appropriate high school courses for college preparation (for middle and high school)


Standardized testing schedules and fees (for middle and high school youth)


The basics of the college application process, fees, and important deadlines (high school)


The financial aid application process, fees, and necessary documents (by the middle of the

12th grade year, at the latest)


Decision-making processes and evaluating financial aid packages (Spring of the 12th grade)


Myths about the college process and financial aid scams (for high school)

Getting strong attendance at parent meetings can be a challenge, but this will be one of the best formats for delivering regular overviews of the college preparation process. Parents should be invited for regular meetings throughout middle and high school programming. Your program can help students get a head start on the application process by advocating with parents for an early start on selection, applications, personal essays and recommendation letters. Lastly, help to take the pressure off the youth in your program by bringing families together to create a support group for one another. Using successful program alumni to speak to parents at these meetings can also help to alleviate fears parents have about their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s futures.


Making demands on family schedules can pose challenges depending on your programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population. Let go of the pressure to get every family to every meeting and work on scheduling options that will allow as many A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


families as possible to have face-to-face time with the experts at your agency. Instead of one parent meeting each year, offer office hours late in the day, at lunch hour, or other times that are convenient for your students’ families. While such meetings may be sparsely attended, this gives staff the time and leisure to explain the intricacies of the process, address specific family concerns, and ensures that each family has the information they need. It may help to use technology like email or instant/text messaging - either to filter information to parents through their children, or to access parents. Inviting parents to college fairs and visits, and providing workshops designed to support them in their own lives (i.e. tax preparation or resume building) can help to bring them to your site. Developing relationships with NYC Department of Education (DoE) Parent Coordinators is also a valuable resource for accessing your participants’ parents. A regular schedule of mailings to participants’ families including all information that is given to youth is another good strategy for reaching parents and caregivers. Keep mailings simple and straightforward and include information on no more than one aspect of the process at a time. Give families information on additional resources such as informative websites that they can explore at their leisure. Remember, there are many unscrupulous companies that will inundate families with mail about college loans, schemes where families must pay for access to “scholarship” information, and other phony ventures. In families’ desperate search for information for their kids, it is easy for them to fall prey to a scam. Make sure you’re keeping families informed about the right way to go through the process so they don’t make a well intentioned error.

PAYING for COLLEGE This is the part of the college process that concerns families the most. The costs of college have been steadily rising, even in this period when more and more Americans are attending college as a necessity for entering the workforce. While you can’t solve this national dilemma for families, you can help them avoid “sticker shock,” and aid them in finding a workable plan for financing their child’s college education. The most important thing you can do for families is demystify the financial aid application process and show them examples of how families in similar financial situations have made it work for them. Again, this should not be held off until the actual process begins in the senior year, rather, families should be regularly apprised of financial aid matters from the beginning of the college preparation process. Documentation and materials are of key importance in the financial aid application process, and youth cannot do it without family input and participation. Ultimately, most of the funds paid out for a college are from the parents, and no parent can “choose not to pay” for their child’s education. All assessments of financial need are determined by the family income and tax documents, so letting parents know what they’ll need to have in order when the time comes is crucial.

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Engaging Parents and Caregivers

As early as you can, begin collecting the following from families: 1. Social security numbers for students, and proof of immigration status/naturalization, if applicable. 2.

Tax returns and W-2 forms for proof of family income and dependents in the household (to identify students who are eligible for federal and state entitlements)


Any documentation of public assistance or SSI income, and the family members that these benefits cover.

In this age of identity theft and attacks on immigrants, many families may balk at being asked for such documentation. To reduce this anxiety, preface any request with the relevant information as to how this

eases the financial aid application process. There may be other opportunities to collect this information while completing other agency tasks. For instance, if your students participate in the New York City YEP program30, much of the same information is required. Use this application as a chance to collect this crucial documentation well in advance, ensuring an easier process for your students. In the last few years, the FAFSA and all other financial aid application documents have moved to an electronic format. Some families may show resistance when asked to enter the required personal information into a computerized forms. Be sensitive to their feelings and reinforce for them that you are there to support their children through the process and protect their interests. Underline that this is the only way to apply for financial aid, and that the system used is a government-based, encrypted technology where their personal information will be safe. In addition, college applications and financial aid applications continue to be protected from being used in criminal immigration investigation, ensuring that applying to college will not subject an undocumented family to scrutiny from law enforcement.

Lesson from the Field: Community Newsletter

Agency: Alianza Domincana Youth participants produce a community newsletter that is distributed throughout the area. The newsletter describes the activities that the young people are engaged with at Alianza Domincana, including information on the activities fair, college

Keys to Success: • Youth include information abou t other programs, publiciz ing the agency an d it’s offerings to people in the communit y. • Provides a venue to involve youth involvement in advertising Alian za Dominincana ’s programs and other commu nity initiatives. • Connections with businesses and ba nks in the community for dis tribution.

fair, and SAT prep classes.

30 YEP is the Youth Employment Program run by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Youth participants receive set pay for a seven week summer job at various companies and organizations. The program helps youth gain skills in the job search and application processes.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Finally, there is some mystery surrounding how college gets paid for and many families may feel that there is no way that they could cobble together the required funds. A thorough overview of all the pieces that make up a financial aid award from a college will let families know that college can be a reality for their child. It is important for students and families to start researching and understanding what their own resources are as early as possible in the high school career. Exploring outside competitive scholarships as early as ninth grade is appropriate as some can be applied for during the high school years – not just at college admissions time. Some parents’ employers offer some kind of college savings plan, or even a tuition-assistance benefit. A family’s religious organization (on a local or national level) may offer some scholarship opportunities. The more a family knows about the assistance and resources they can secure for when the college bills come due, the more confident they will feel. No matter what the topic for a specific parent meeting is, make sure that you are sending the consistent message that paying for college is within each student’s reach. Put as much information in the hands of your families as possible, and it will pay off. The resources section at the end of this guide contains a list of many of the places to get good information on the financial aid application process and scholarships available to students.

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A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



he high school and college application processes are a journey from one school to another. Often times the youth who will access your program for support will be in schools with many students and few guidance counselors (and possibly none who focus exclusively on preparing for high school or the

college process). While the personal, one-on-one attention for each student may not be available at school, there are still crucial functions that school personnel will play in getting each young person through the process. The disposition of transcripts, holding of official standardized test scores, and counselor/teacher recommendations must all come through the school. The better relationship you can establish with the schools that your students attend, the better your students’ outcomes will be.

WORKING with MIDDLE SCHOOLS The most critical contact period your program will have with schools during the middle school years is in the eighth grade as students enter the high school selection and application process. Their schools will be collecting completed high school forms and submitting all of the necessary information (standardized test scores, grades, class rankings) to the required DoE agencies for actual placement. Getting to know the guidance counselor, dean, or assistant principal at your youth’s schools will help ease this process for students. Schools may set internal deadlines or have other school-based requirements that are not publicized through DoE or other general information sources. It’s important for you to have this internal information, ensuring that the support systems you build are preparing them to meet these internal school deadlines as well as the city-wide ones. Overall, you can provide the best support to students when you know what they are faced with in school. There may be standardized testing dates, school-wide performances, trips, or other important dates that will affect your students’ ability or inclination to attend programming. Parents’ Association meeting dates at your students’ schools are also important to know so that you do not schedule events for parents at the same time. You may even be able to use these opportunities to make presentations for parents. A call at the beginning of the year, followed up with a personal visit – even if unexpected- are the best ways to make contact with the guidance counselor or other key personnel at the middle schools of your students. If you cannot see the person you’re looking for when you stop by, leave a personal note with a packet of information on your program. If at first you don’t make contact, try, try again. The parent coordinator at the school is generally a good navigator and can help you find the right person to talk to.

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Partnering with Schools

WORKING with HIGH SCHOOLS Building Relationships

The pace of life in any high school is fast. Teachers and administrators are always on the go, teaching classes, handling emergencies, and taking care of perhaps thousands of kids each day. As difficult as it can be to make contact with individuals in your participants’ schools, the effort will most certainly pay off. Everyone involved in teaching and supporting young people wants to ensure that kids are successfully getting through the high school and celebrate student accomplishments. If you plan special events, make sure to invite your students’ teachers and administrators to these special programs and remember to thank them for participating!

Key School-Based Stakeholders

You probably won’t have much contact with the principal or assistant principal on a regular basis, but they should be invited to any special events or celebrations. In the event of a problem communicating with school staff, the principal or assistant principal can often resolve problems quickly. The guidance and counseling staff are your front-line allies in reaching kids and making sure that their applications are complete and submitted on time. Even when there isn’t a dedicated college advisor, most high school guidance offices are the main stop for all kids applying to college. These are the people who will fill out secondary school reports for kids, run all collegerelated events, provide information on fee waivers for the SAT, ACT and college applications.31 They will complete the Secondary School Reports for students, and often they also coordinate and store teacher recommendations. Any processes and guidelines your students will need to follow will come from these people, so it is of utmost importance that you know them, and how they work in each of your area schools. CBO or other outside program staffs – in the NYC public schools, many high school buildings are now “educational complexes” or “campuses”, with a number of smaller schools housed in one large school that previously served thousands. Many CBOs and other programs work out of these campuses, and often serve kids from all of the schools in the building. Staff already working in the building can often be your guide in getting to know the schools’ personnel. Often, your organization’s mission will have aspects in common with theirs, so make sure to identify and get to know these partners, and determine ways that you can work together to best serve the needs of your youth and families. 31 The College Board will provide application fee waivers and standardized test fee waivers to those students who meet the financial criteria. These fee waivers are administered by schools and programs that hold College Board memberships


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Follow-up and Mutual Support

Each high school coordinates their college application process differently. In some schools, kids may be left largely to their own devices as they apply to college. Other schools have specific timelines and procedures for their students, like earlier internal deadlines for submitting school report forms and recommendations. As you guide your kids through the intricacies of deadlines, forms, and essays, it is crucial that you know what the school expects from them in order to complete their pieces of the applications on time. Although many colleges have moved to electronically-based application forms, there is still a lot of paper involved in the application process. All of these paper forms must come directly from an applicant’s school, and there are a lot of opportunities for things to be lost. Working directly with the guidance staff in your the Field: Lesson from students’ schools will allow you to support the smooth operation College sed Agency / ommunity Ba C of this process and to keep your youth on track. Requesting and Partnership keeping copies of each student’s official transcript, knowing who to contact for which forms, and staying in communication with pment s Local Develo ncy: Cypress Hill ge A guidance staff will set you up to support kids in emergencies, Corporation and will allow your staff to fill in when a school counselor is not ollege available. York City C ith the New

ip w The partnersh and collaborative (NYCT) is a gy lo no ch cess. Te of rsue college ac nts as they pu de stu ED G supports dents epare GED stu selors help pr un co m ra og into Pr dents for entry gh school stu hi l na tio di and tra

WORKING with COLLEGES Colleges spend millions of dollars on recruitment and outreach. Far from “cherry-picking” the best students, most colleges cast a wide net seeking a large pool of kids from which they compose an entering class. Strong relationships with local organizations and other community groups can be a great asset for any admissions officer, helping them to open new avenues for recruitment. Cultivating these relationships can increase your students’ visibility in huge admissions pools. Successful programs can become “feeders” for colleges. If you have participants with special interests and talents that are supported by your organization’s offerings, colleges want to know about it. By tracking where your young people apply and are accepted, you can more effectively target your outreach to colleges. If at least three or four youth have matriculated to a particular school over the years, it’s time to get in contact with that college’s admissions staff.

CT. college at NY

Keys to Success: • Services are designed to aid undocumented students, students who are parents, and GED graduates.

• NYCT helps prepare students for required remedial classes. • Resources include: funding for weekly metro transit cards and a stipend for books each semester.

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Partnering with Schools

An introduction letter and organization press packet is a terrific first step to making contact with admissions personnel and getting them interested in your program. Invite them for a visit to speak to your current students about their offerings, or plan your next college visit to their campus. Also, if there are any alumni of your program at a college, they are also great ways to make contacts and build relationships with that school. Many schools, especially private colleges/universities welcome these contacts, and they can pay off greatly for your program. Good relationships with college admissions staff will make it much easier to request lunch passes for a college trip, get a dedicated tour for your group, or to set up hosting situations for youth who want to visit individually. Many college admissions offices operate on a regional basis, with counselors dedicated to visiting and recruiting students from a specific geographic area. Identify the admissions person responsible for your region, and attempt to deal directly with him/her. As many admissions officers are on the road for the majority of the fall season, email will always be your best option for making contact.

Use College Alumni Connections

In many cases, you’ve already got the best entry point you could possibly have to college admissions offices: your own staff and board. Many people from your organization are alumnae/i of the kinds of schools your students want to go to, and in this competitive application environment, every means of connection needs to be used. This includes staff, members of your board of directors, volunteers and parents. Survey your staff and board to find out where they attended school, if they are alumni interviewers or ambassadors, or are involved in college-related events. They may know exactly who to contact at their alma mater, or know about other visiting opportunities for students. Passing on information, contacts, or other materials is an easy way for board members to make an increased contribution to the function and success of your program. Board involvement also creates possible mentoring opportunities between kids and the board members who attended their “dream school.”

Counselor Programs and Visits

Colleges know that you and school-based counselors are their best allies in publicizing their schools’ offerings. You’re on the front lines and know best what your students need and want. Many schools put a great deal of time and energy into cultivating relationships with school-based staff, and have begun to open their visits and local events to CBO and agency staffs. Make sure to check the websites of the schools most popular among your students; often these events will be publicized through the guidance counselor section of a college site. Also, feel free to inquire about such events from the admissions staff that you’ve met personally, or when you encounter them at college fairs. These visits and programs can be terrific places to get insider information about programs and opportunities for your youth. They provide the chance to meet current students who could be great ambassadors to your own youth as they investigate their college choices.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Strategies for an Effective College Visit

Planning effective college trips can be a challenge for any program, but there are a few things that will make all the visits you invest in pay off for your students.

Lesson from the Field: College Tours

Agency: Madison Square Boys and Girls Club The College Tour program runs parallel to the SAT prep program. The program meets twice a week during the two months prior to each SAT test date and prepares students to make the most of a college campus visit.

Keys to Success: • Program coordinator has a strong relationship with the youth of the program • Structured prep work prior to the tour gives students a framework through which to understand the information they acquire while on campuses • College visits help students become excited about education beyond high school and help open discussions about the realities of college life • Signed parental consent forms and student behavioral contracts ensure that students act appropriately while on the tour. • Follow-up surveys help staff understand the effectiveness of the program. • Metro transit cards and a stipend for books each semester.


Staff: Before visiting the school, staff should be prepared to thoroughly research the school, and what the overall visit will look like. Knowing how the tour will be organized will be very helpful. It may be self guided, in which case those staff that chaperone the tour will need to have a lot of specific information at their disposal. Before departing, create an itinerary with staff. The timing of the visit is important and should be made around the college’s calendar (exams and breaks should be taken into account). Understanding the student’s interests and making up a list of questions will make the trip more valuable to them. When the staff is gathering information about the school, they should include general information about the city or town, including important resources (i.e. what banks are most easily accessible) academics, work opportunities, and extracurricular activities. A sample student schedule can be very helpful in providing a window into what a typical day or week at the school might look like. A course catalogue should be provided to all participants to explore curriculum offerings. There are many things that you can do to maximize your visit to a college. Setting up a lunch with alumni or current students is a great way to get information on student life and to gain some actual perspective on what the school is like. Working with the admissions staff, you may be able to create opportunities for youth and families to go on classroom visits/observations, visit dorms to learn more about security and health, and meet with financial aid advisors at the school to understand typical financial aid packages and other modes of financing. The family should also be encouraged to visit the town or city and to learn about options for getting to and from campus. Youth: There should be an orientation session for the youth before the visit which includes information on dress code and expectations. This is also a good time to distribute some information about the school(s). Have the young people brainstorm what they want to partnership for afterschool education |


Partnering with Schools

know about the school, create questions to ask at an information session, and discuss their expectations about the school. You may want to help family members generate their own list of questions as well. Families: Families should be involved on trips if they like to attend and can be invited as chaperones. They should also be provided with the itinerary, contact information, and an overview of the colleges to be visited. Additional: Before departing youth should be provided with a permission slip and a checklist of items to bring (if it is an overnight trip). It is also helpful to provide them with a journal or a place to record information about the schools they visit.


Youth: It is important to gauge student responses to the visits and there are many ways to go about this. Staff should ask questions about the visits during a lunch break or on the ride home. Staff can also engage students in one-on-one sessions and the visit can be referred to throughout the rest of the program. Another method is to distribute evaluation forms for the students to fill out, such as during a group discussion, or to create an anonymous online survey. College: The post-visit relationship is where a program has a great opportunity to maintain contacts that can enhance the services provided to their youth. Sending thank-you cards or emails to any admissions staff who participated in the visit is a great way to establish those relationships. Staff should invite representatives from the school to visit the program so that they may learn more directly about the work you do. Staff can also provide feedback to the school and can refer students to college representatives. SEE APPENDIX F: COLLEGE VISIT PLANNING SHEET

Lesson from the Field: College Trips


Kingsbridge Heights Community Center

College Directions Program (CDP) The center runs daytime college trips to local schools and overnight trips to colleges and universities outside of the city. These trips provide youth with the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of daily life on a college campus, and what kind of resources and opportunities are available. Twelve to fifteen students register with priority given to seniors.


Keys to Success: • CDP counselor arranges college tou rs, sends out flyers, and collects permission slips fro m parents. • Youth participa te in prep sessions prior to college tours • Youth participa te in other student activities when on campus .

• Special trips are arranged for 8th grade students to tour campuses and become thoug htful about college as an optio n for their own fut ures. • Resources includ e: former program participants who host students visiting their camp us, student organiza tions (particularly minority organizations) tha t provide housing , college admissions office s, two program va ns.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


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Best Practices and Lesson Plans


OPEN HOURS PROGRAMMING FOR SENIORS Submitted by: Kyla Kupferstein, College Advising Consultant For many programs, the cornerstone of organizing programming for all students is scheduling workshops and other concrete activities to deliver specific content. Yet when students arrive at their senior year, formal programming becomes less important, and is replaced by the time needed to work on applications with the support of knowledgeable staff. Whether your seniors come afterschool, on weekends, or during school breaks, incorporating an “open hours” format as a regular part of your program is often most useful for supporting the college application process. Reducing structured programmatic activities and leaving that time open for work on applications provides programs (and students) with a number of benefits, such as the ability to: •

monitor and record what students have completed for each application

teach students in smaller groups how to navigate the various websites required to complete their applications (i.e. College Board, Common Application, FAFSA)

work closely and individually with students on essays and short answer questions

collect copies of completed applications to keep on file in case pieces are lost

give students time to ask sensitive questions on a one-on-one basis

This format will allow staff to monitor and support student progress closely and with great effectiveness. In addition, moving from tightly scheduled program sessions to an open hours format mirrors the developmental transition that students are making as they plan their moves from high school to college. College will require that students become increasingly self-motivated and able to manage their time and effort. These open hours become a safe space in which to practice these skills, with easy access to adults who can coach and encourage them. The best configuration for the open hours format is as follows:



Schedule “open hours” so students will have access to college prep staff for advising and computers for completing applications. Saturday sessions are particularly helpful as they allow students the time to engage deeply with work while leaving room for questions to arise.


Depending on the size of your group, one or more staff members should be available; preferably the main college counseling person, as well as someone who can work directly with students on essays.


At the end of each session, staff should collect and file students’ completed application pieces.


Staff should create and provide short weekly worksheets or surveys for students to complete with

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


updates on their college lists, things to do, responses from colleges, and other tracking items. 5.

Staff should complete a regular (bi-weekly, monthly) review of student progress as they move toward deadlines for applications – particularly by December 31st to ensure that all students meet the main deadline of January 1st.

The open hours format can be complemented by shorter, information-delivering sessions that are relevant to the senior year, covering such topics as: •

Troubleshooting financial aid applications and FAFSA completion.

CSS PROFILE, iDOC and the additional institutional financial aid forms for students applying to private schools.

“Resume checks” – ensuring that kids are recording all of their extra-curricular activities properly in the application.

“Showing, not telling” – essay writing tips (in the absence of formal classes with writing instructors).

The balanced list – explaining the importance of having schools in the “likely”, “possible” and “reach” categories, as well as “financial aid safeties”, schools that the student will definitely be able to afford to attend.

With this “benign monitoring”, staff can observe students and identify pitfalls early. For example, if a student has great trouble creating a plan for completing his work, staff can help the student evaluate his college list to ensure that it reflects institutions with sufficient academic structure. A student who is challenged by taking initiative may not be ready for an “open curriculum” or looser academic structure, no matter how appealing they might be to him. Insight gained from these sessions can provide an opening for staff to broach these issues with students, exploring learning styles and developmental milestones, all of which are critical to effective college preparation.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans



Submitted by: Kyla Kupferstein, College Advising Consultant

We’re a diverse nation, and your program may serve youth whose family situations pose a challenge for completing financial aid applications. Youth may be living with friends or distant relatives, may not have had contact with one of their parents in a long time, live in single-parent households that receive public assistance, or lack legal citizenship in the United States. No matter the situation, there are ways to ensure your students are considered for aid; it just takes a few more steps.

Step I: Get information early Request family information from all students by the end of their junior year. Information to collect on all students: •

A current tax return is needed to determine if the student will be eligible for federal or state entitlements, such as Pell Grants, or programs like H/EOP32

Social Security number for the student, to determine citizenship status

Family composition (who lives in the household, who is the head of household, and how many are claimed on the family tax return) in order to compare to tax return and be able to estimate the expected family contribution (EFC) that will be determined by FAFSA

Documentation of any unusual legal status (emancipated minor, ward of the state, foster care) and any changes in status (foster care to adoption, residing with family to independent)

Statement/information on divorced/separated/never married parents and whether financial support is provided

Having this information available in the junior year gives staff much more time to determine which students will need increased support to manage the financial aid process. Staff are urged to ask youth for updates at the beginning of their senior year.

Step II: Bring in the parents During the college admissions and financial aid application season, you can’t ask parents to come in enough! Coordinating information-gathering for financial paperwork is crucial in being able to support your youth in the financial aid process. Call, email, and invite parents in on a regular basis. Welcome grandparents, older siblings, godparents – any adults willing and able to take an active role in this often-confusing process.

32 H/EOP refers to two college access programs – Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity program (HEOP) – run by the state of New York. Students are accepted into H/EOP if they demonstrate a non-traditional academic profile and do not have the financial means to afford college but do show potential to succeed. Students accepted to college under these programs receive financial aid as well as financial and academic counseling. ( HEOP/introduction_to_heop.htm)


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Events that should be planned for parents:

11th grade spring (or anytime in the high school years, as many times as possible) • The financial aid process overview – demystification of the process and sending the message that college can be affordable for all. 12th grade fall/winter • Mock FAFSA walk-through

FAFSA night – where parents can receive one-on-one assistance in filling out FAFSA

Available one-on-one meeting times with college program staff

12th grade winter/spring • Financial aid package comparison meetings

Step III: Collect everything If you collect everything in Step I on a regular basis, you’ll be ahead of the game for all of your students come FAFSA time. As students complete financial aid applications, they will have lots of small items to keep track of such as website log-on names and pins. Recording this information and keeping copies of completed forms can allow staff to be of help to students in last minute emergencies. Things to track for your students: •

Student social security number

FAFSA PIN (Personal Identification Number) created by students and parents

Copy of the current year W-2 and tax return or statement of non-filing/public assistance

Paper print out of copy of completed FAFSA and the Student Aid Report (SAR)

Copies of any institutional H/EOP application financial aid forms

Copies of all financial aid offers for comparison

NOTE: At no point should college prep program staff assist parents with their federal or state tax preparation, or offer financial advisement beyond the appropriate completion of financial aid application documents. If your agency has a relationship with tax preparers, you may refer them there for assistance, but no staff should be involved in this process. Unless it is a regular function of your organization, it is a level of legal responsibility no program can absorb. partnership for afterschool education |


Best Practices and Lesson Plans

Step IV: Be proactive in tricky situations You may, for example, serve young people who live in single parent homes where, whether or not the parents were ever married, the mother provides the vast majority (if not all) of material support for the family. Even in these situations fathers are responsible for providing financial information for financial aid applications for their children. Many private colleges use the CSS PROFILE as well as the FAFSA to determine student need. In these cases, and perhaps with special program applications such as certain scholarship application, information on both parents is required for the application to be complete. Some students in certain single-parent homes will be hindered by this request. However, there are ways to preempt this requirement. Your agency can help in the following ways: 1. Have the student write a letter to the financial aid and admissions offices, to be sent both electronically and via paper mail, explaining the facts. The letter should be specific and personalized, and say something to the effect of:

“To the Committee, I have had no contact with my biological father since birth. He provides no financial or spousal support to my mother, who has had sole custody and financial responsibility for me for all my life. I ask that the non-custodial parent form requirement be waived for my financial aid application.”

Make sure the letter is headed with the student’s name, school name and social security number.


Staff members familiar with the family should write a corroborating letter to support this statement and send it to both the admissions and financial aid offices. This letter can also come from a school counselor or other community member (i.e. pastor, rabbi, imam, coach) who knows the family well.


If your agency provides written recommendations for students, it is a good practice to discuss the family composition and any challenges this has presented the student in completing his/her education.

Step V: Long-term planning for undocumented students There are few good solutions for undocumented students when it comes to financing a college education. Undocumented youth cannot be offered any government-based grants or loans, which make up the majority of financial aid packages at all but the wealthiest schools. Most colleges treat undocumented students as international applicants. In the absence of government programs to offset costs, very few schools offer financial assistance to students classified as international.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Working with these students can be heartbreaking, and they will experience many disappointments, especially if they are academically qualified for top schools. The sooner you know which of your students are undocumented, the better outcomes you can plan for them. Working around lack of documentation requires: 1. Working on status issues The hardest of all – clearing up the immigration problem. If kids are still early in their high school careers, they and their parents should seek legal counsel immediately to work toward resolving status issues. Most processes related to immigration take a long time, so if students aren’t in the pipeline already, they must work with their families to make choices about what steps to take. Middle school is a great time to broach these issues with families and direct them toward support. 2. Local/In-state solutions Some public colleges have begun to offer resident tuition rates to undocumented students. In New York City, at CUNY, students who graduate from a New York City public high school pay the city-resident tuition. While a lack of financial aid will make financing an education difficult, CUNY resident tuition is low enough for most students to pay on their own, perhaps attending part-time and working to earn money to be used toward fees. This isn’t ideal, but it does allow students to keep moving forward in their education until they can either resolve the immigration issue and qualify for federal aid or transfer to a school that can provide financial support. With undocumented students it is of top importance that they have as many of these “financial aid safety schools” as possible. Their lists will be heavy on local public schools supplemented by some of the schools that have the resources or willingness to fully fund “international” students. There are very few private schools that offer generous financial aid to international students and an even smaller number that have financial aid programs designed for undocumented students. Unfortunately, many institutions do not want to support students who, though they may graduate with distinction, will later have significant difficulty securing legal employment in their field of interest/study.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans



(The College Application Process)

Submitted by: Kingsbridge Heights Community Center Age Group: High School # of Sessions: 1-3

Goals • •

Youth will gain a better understanding of the SAT exam and the different sections of the exam. Youth will develop preparation and test taking strategies for the exam

Preparation and Resources

Set up the room with tables and chairs for both large and small group work. Have sample SAT Reasoning Exams for all youth as well as any additional resources that will help them prepare.


Opening Activity Begin a conversation with youth about the SAT Reasoning exam. Discuss myths and facts about the exam and explain what the SAT Reasoning exam is. Provide an explanation of the difference between the SAT Reasoning exam and the SAT Subject Tests. Main Activities How to Attack the Critical Reading Section What types of questions will be on the test? Review all types. Quick Tips • Sentence Completion • Critical Reading How to Attack the Math Section • What types of questions will be on the test? Review all types. Quick Tips • Student Produce Response (Grid-ins) – how to calculate and then bubble in responses on the grid. • Multiple Choice • Help with arithmetic and word problems


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


How to Attack the Writing Section • What the Writing section is looking for – explain questions and areas for scoring. Quick Tips • Multiple Choice Identifying Sentence Errors – sample question Improving Sentences – sample question Improving Paragraphs – sample question • Essay Essay Format Review Sample Essays

Wrap Up

Review with youth what they have learned about the SAT exam and distribute additional resources they can use to help them prepare for the exam.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans



(The College Application Process)

Submitted by: The Children’s Aid Society – EXCEL Program Age Group: High School # of Sessions: 1-5

Goals • •

Youth will develop a better understanding of the college essay writing process. Youth will learn how to develop an essay that demonstrates their writing ability, reasoning and critical thinking ability.

Preparation and Resources

Set up the room with tables and chairs. Have blank paper or journals for youth.


Opening Activity Engage youth in a discussion about the process of the college essay in relation to the application. Introduce the idea that the college application provides an overview of who they are as a student: the classes they took, the grades they earned and the activities they participated in. Test scores and teacher recommendations help to round out that picture. The college essay is an opportunity to bring the facts of their academic and personal journeys to life on the page. Explore the kinds of topics that youth may want to write about. Introduce the idea of using the college essay as an opportunity to look at their lives and examine the key experiences that shaped them into the individuals they are today. Main Activities Getting Started Write a resume. Youth should list the activities that they have been a part of both in and out school, including community service, jobs, summer camp, travel, etc. Brainstorm journal. Coming up with a college essay topic can be difficult, especially for young people not familiar with expository writing. Brainstorming can help young people develop a number of possible starting points. In a journal, each youth should write a few sentences in response to following prompts: • Important events in their lives • Important people in their lives, both from your childhood and right now • Teachers who have had a special impact on them • Challenges they have faced or obstacles they have overcome


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


• • • • •

Accomplishments Influences in their lives: people they’ve known, books they’ve read, movies they’ve seen Their favorite qualities about themselves What they wish they could change about themselves Travel experiences and their strongest impressions of places they’ve been

Review of Essay Topics Youth should understand that different college applications often ask variations of the same questions. Ideally youth should write one or two essays that can be adapted to more than one application before confronting each application as a separate assignment. Below is a list of possible questions that could all be answered with one or two essays: • • • • •

Tell us about a significant event that has had an impact on you; Discuss the personal importance of a book you have read during the last two years; Describe a significant personal achievement or challenge; Write an editorial concerning an issue of local or national importance; Autobiographical essay : Family history, ancestors, heritage, parents; Events that have impacted your life and why; Interests, hobbies, activities, sports, music; Employment experience and significance in your life; Why is going to college important to you and what do you hope to achieve; Career objectives and why; What did you particularly like about high school.

Practicing Begin drafting essays. Youth should avoid being too clever or too cute. Their essays should demonstrate writing ability, reasoning ability and creativity. Therefore: • Youth should write about something important to them • Youth should think about the essay as a tool for self-discovery • Keep the essay focused, organized. • Youth should take their time writing the introduction

Wrap Up

Review with youth that the college essay is an opportunity for them to be themselves and show the admission committee who they are. Distribute a sheet with reminders of the above tips to assist them as they continue to develop, format and revise the college essay. partnership for afterschool education |


Best Practices and Lesson Plans



(Leadership Development)

Submitted by: Groundwork, Inc. Age Group: Middle School or High School # of Sessions: 1-2 (This lesson is part of an eight week all girls group)

Goals • •

Youth will explore the qualities and characteristics of influential women in their lives. Youth will begin to identify those personality traits that they feel are most important to them and that they would like to develop in themselves.

Preparation and Resources

Set up chairs in a circle for opening and later have youth move chairs around for small group work. Have chart paper or butcher paper with markers available for small group work. Have blank paper or handouts with sentence prompt for “The Woman I Want to Be” activity.


Opening Activity • Revisit group norms Main Activities Qualities and Characteristics of Influential Women • Break group up into small groups of 3-4 youth. Ask each young person to think of a woman that they feel is influential in their lives. - As a group they should make a list of the different women. - Groups should then work together and discuss why the women identified are considered influential to each of them. - Group should create a list of different characteristics these women possess that make them feel that way • Reassemble the full group and each small group will present the women they chose and the characteristics/reasons they identified these women as being influential. • Discuss the qualities and characteristics identified and what actions the women exhibit that demonstrate those characteristics. The Woman I Want to Be • Provide youth with the instructions to think about the characteristics they would want to possess as they transition into womanhood. • Have youth think about why this characteristic is important for them • On a sheet of paper have each young person complete the following statement based on the characteristics they listed: “I want to be because .”

Wrap Up •


As a large group, have youth volunteer to share the characteristics they want to possess as they transition into womanhood. Begin a conversation on the kinds of things they can do to start developing those characteristics. This conversation can continue into the next session.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



(Leadership Development)

Adapted from PASE Sidewalk Arts Curriculum. Originally Submitted by Clayton Evans. Age Group: Middle School or High School # of Sessions: 2-3

Goals •

To explore the strengths and struggles of one’s self through the personification of various characteristics.

Preparation and Resources

Set up chairs and tables in a circle or horseshoe. Review and have definitions of “personification” and “characteristics” available for yourself. Have chart paper or butcher paper and markers. Have blank paper for youth.


Opening Activity Have participants define the terms “personification” and “characteristics.” * Explore and post examples of characteristics with the group: creative, resourceful, social, shy, quiet, discriminating, adventurous, etc. Main Activities Choosing Characteristics • Allow young people time to list their own personal characteristics. Have members choose characteristics that are complimentary, or that oppose each other, and explore why. When does this happen most often? In what ways are they revealed to the public (if at all)? Does any characteristic dominate? Which characteristic would you prefer to dominate? Is there any other characteristic that could help? Writing Activity • Participants will then make these characteristics come to life and have them talk/ argue with each other. Before they do this, provide an example of personification that members can examine for characteristics that complement or oppose each other. Give members ample time to write. •

Have them share their writing with a small group of no more than four members. Encourage members to ask questions and/or give feedback.

Group Share • Bring it back to the large group. Get volunteers to share their pieces and point out similarities.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans

Wrap Up •

Group Discussion: What was it like to write/reflect on characteristics? What was it like to share something so personal? Have members share any discoveries about themselves or others. Have members applaud all efforts.

* Definitions: Characteristic33 •

feature: a prominent attribute or aspect of something; “the map showed roads and other features”; “generosity is one of his best characteristics”

a distinguishing quality

Personification34 •

a person who represents an abstract quality; “she is the personification of optimism”

representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature

the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas etc.

33 34


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



(Leadership Development) Submitted by PASE Learning Lab Age Group: Middle School # of Sessions: 1-3

Goals • • •

Introduce concept of goal-setting toward achieving dreams Outline what is necessary to set, manage and achieve goals Begin to identify personal goals

Preparation and Resources

Have open space as well as tables and chairs available. Prepare copies of Human Treasure Hunt sheets. Prepare tree chart for Our Goal Tree Activity. Prepare samples of short and long term goals--write goals on small strips of paper--one goal per strip. Bring sufficient pencils, slips of paper, bowl, box or bag, tape, construction paper, markers, and scissors for main activities.


Opening Activity • Distribute Human Treasure Hunt sheets and pencils to youth. Youth have to find others who match the statements on the sheet. Collect one or two who finish first then discuss as a large group—ask some youth to share more details related to their responses. Main Activities Defining Short and Long Term Goals • Fold and place strips of paper with goals into a bowl, box or bag. • At random, each participant chooses slips of paper from a bowl, box or bag with sample goals. In turn, youth will read them aloud and move to the “short term” or “long term” side of the room to reflect the nature of the goal they pulled. • Once all participants have taken a turn, ask what the difference is between short term and long term goals. • Discuss why they feel goals are important. Personal Goals Discussion • Lead the group in a discussion that focuses on the following questions: Why do we set goals? What are appropriate goals for middle school? (Make links to opening activity) What are challenges to accomplishing our goals? How do we make a plan for getting support and reaching goals? partnership for afterschool education |


Best Practices and Lesson Plans

Creating “Our Goal Tree” • Provide youth with a trunk and branches of a tree sketched out on a large sheet of butcher paper • Using markers, construction paper, and scissors, students will cut out and decorate “leaves” for the Goal Tree. • Each student will present their goal to the larger group as they affix it to the tree.

Wrap Up

Record student goals with their names on a sheet for later reference and individual follow-up.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


HUMAN TREASURE HUNT Find others who fit the descriptions listed below. You can only list each person once and you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use yourself on your own sheet of paper.

Find someone who: 1.

Has ever set a goal for themselves (Name:

2. Has saved money to buy something special (Name:



3. Plans to go to college (Name:


4. Participates in more than one extracurricular activity (Name:


5. Would like to travel to another country (Name:


6. Knows what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to study in high school (Name:



Has a part time job (Name:

8. Visited a college campus (Name:


9. Planned a party (Name:



10. Met with their guidance counselor about extracurricular activities



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Best Practices and Lesson Plans


(Team Building)


Submitted by PASE Learning Lab Age Group: Middle School # of Sessions: 1 (This is the first lesson of an 8-week girls or boys leadership group, but can be used as the first lesson for most types of activities.)

Goals • • • •

To get acquainted with the members of the group Begin to feel more comfortable in a group setting Establish Group Pledge/Promise and create a poster for display Establish a process for individual youth to be self-reflective

Preparation and Resources

Set up chairs in a circle to allow for open group discussion. Have chart/butcher paper and markers to write up group responses as well as many different color markers for “Create a Group Pledge” activity.


Opening Activity • Have participants define “pledge” and what this means to them. Define other relevant terms: Trust, Respect and Honesty Main Activities Create a Group Pledge • On chart paper, as a group, write out a pledge statement that everyone can agree to uphold • Using color markers, have students trace their individual handprints around the pledge and write their names inside their handprints. The collective handprints will form a border around the pledge statement. Create Journals • Discuss the rationale for keeping a journal and how they will be managed. • Rationale: A way to self-reflect on personal actions; way for youth to note their observations, thoughts and feelings related to the work they’re doing in the afterschool program. • Managing journals: How will the facilitator respond to what is written (notes, individual conversations, etc.) When will youth be asked to share some of their entries with the group? Where will journals be kept?


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


• •

Discuss the concept of making entries at the beginning of each group, through a writing exercise or drawing or lists. Allow students to decorate and personalize the covers of the journals.

Wrap Up •

Review the group pledge and discussion of the structure of the group in coming weeks.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans



Submitted by: Emil Ramnarine Age Group: Middle School or High School # of Sessions: 1-2

Goals • •

Gain an understanding of how to read and interpret the new USDA Food Guide Pyramid. Learn how to identify healthy food options, create a healthy meal plan and decipher between basic foods and healthy foods.

Preparation and Resources

Set up tables and chairs so that youth will be able to work in groups of 4-5 per group. Bring sufficient copies of “My Food Pyramid”. Prepare chart with Fun Quiz questions. Have blank paper and pencils/pens for youth to use in Smart Meal Planning activity.


Opening Activity • What is Your Favorite Food (or Meal)? Ask the youth to share with the group what their favorite foods (or meals) are and why. Try to illicit one response from each student. Note: Do not pass judgments on the student’s responses. Allow the youth to freely express themselves. Main Activities Introducing the Food Pyramid • Distribute copies of “My Food Pyramid” to each youth and explain that this is the new Food Guide Pyramid. It was designed to help them make smart eating choices and see the links to exercise so they can live a long, healthy life. Note: Food pyramid can be downloaded from http://www. Using the Food Pyramid • Ask the youth to take a minute or two to figure out which food group(s) their favorite food/meals fall under. Note: The student’s foods/meals may fall under several food groups. Challenge them to figure out which groups. • Ask the students the following questions: - Does anyone know why the food guide is shaped like a pyramid? Answer: It is recommended that you eat more healthy foods which are located at the bottom of pyramid. For example fried chicken and baked chicken both fall under the Meats group, but baked chicken is a healthier choice so it is located at the base. - How many of you eat foods from each of the food groups every day? Response: It is


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


- -

recommended that we try to eat foods from every food group each day. Why are some bands wider than others? Answer: It is recommended that we eat more foods from these food groups. What do you believe the person on the steps represents? Answer: To live a long, healthy life you must balance exercise and physical activity with healthy eating. Also, changes don’t all have to come at once it’s best to take it one step at a time.

Fun Quiz. As a group or in teams take the Fun Quiz as a way to review and reinforce what was learned about the Food Pyramid. - What group or groups would a Big Mac fall under? - Where on the Food Pyramid would you place French Fries? Potato Chips? - The size of the band means what? - What do the steps represent? Smart Meal Planning Activity - Divide the youth into groups of 4-5 - Have each team take 15 minutes to create their own healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner that incorporates all of the food groups throughout the day. This may include fast food choices. If you have limited time have the team only create one meal. - The team must be able to tell us which food groups their meals fall under. - Have each group share.

Wrap Up Offer the youth a challenge to try and eat foods from all of the different food groups each day. If that is too challenging have them pick one food group each week and try to eat something from that food group each day. Helpful Tips to Teach the Food Pyramid: • The wider the food group band, the more items from this food group you are supposed to eat. • There is no such thing as a bad food. Some foods are healthier for us than others. • Healthier foods are found towards the base of each food group. For example fried chicken would be found towards the top of the Meat & Beans group while baked chicken would be found at the bottom. • The person walking up the stairs represents two things. First, exercise has to be balanced with healthy eating in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Second, healthy changes are supposed to take place one step at a time.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans


(Financial Literacy)


Submitted by Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Adapted from SIRV Money Matters Age Group: Middle School # of Sessions: 1 (This is one lesson from a year-round financial literacy curriculum)

Goals • •

Begin to identify the value of things Make a collage of pictures showing things that can and cannot be bought with money

Resources and Preparation

Have tables and chairs set up so that youth can work individually or in groups of 4-5 per group. Bring in old magazines (appropriate for this age group), newspapers, photos, markers, scissors, glue and/or tape, poster board or construction paper.


Opening Activity • Define as a group what it means for something to be of “value” Main Activities Money Posters • Youth create posters individually or in small groups, depending on the size of the group and available resources (old magazines, newspapers, photos, markers, glue, and poster board) • Youth draw a line down the center of their poster boards (or construction paper), titling one side "Money Can't Buy" and the other side as "Money Can Buy". • Using magazines and newspapers, youth will clip out pictures showing what money can or cannot purchase and incorporate them into a plan for their posters. • Youth paste pictures or drawings on to the “correct” area of the poster board showing what can and can’t be bought. Gallery Walk • Clean up supplies and post up posters or display on tables • Youth walk around and look at each other’s posters, making observations of what they see.

Wrap Up


Youth discuss their collages, noting why they added things to the different sides of the poster. The group will make a list of the types of things that students placed on either side of their collages and discuss how they made those determinations.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



Submitted by Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Adapted from SIRV Money Matters Age Group: High School # of Sessions: 1 (This is one lesson from a year-round financial literacy curriculum)

Goals • • •

Learn about the pitfalls and advantages of credit cards Teach essential credit-related vocabulary Start a reflective process about using credit in advance of students possessing credit cards.

Resources and Preparation

Set up chairs in a semi-circle for group discussion and role playing activity. Have chart or butcher paper and markers to jot down group ideas. Prepare two copies of script for role playing skit.


Opening Activity Have a group discussion about everyone’s responsibility during role playing activities. How should everyone act? What are the responsibilities of those acting and what are the responsibilities of the audience? Main Activities Credit Worthiness Skit Get two youth volunteers to act out the skit. You need two characters: Connie and Lenny. Lead a group discussion after the skit that focuses on the following questions: • Would you lend money to Connie? Why or why not? • What could Connie do other than borrow money from Lenny? • What are the risks Lenny is taking if he lends money to Connie? • What responsibilities does Connie have if she borrows money from Lenny? • What should Lenny do to protect his money if he lends it to Connie? Credit Worthiness Discussion Provide information about the three C’s and discuss what this means to them. Before lenders loan money, they check an individual’s creditworthiness. This means they evaluate the three C’s: Capital - How much money or resources does a person have to repay the debt? Capacity - What is the person’s work history; how will s/he pay back the debt? Character - What is the person’s payment history? Those who frequently miss payments or default on bills are riskier clients.

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Best Practices and Lesson Plans

Credit Issues Quiz Ask youth to state if the following statements are true or false. Note: All of the statements are True. • A credit card isn’t free money. • Don’t use a credit card for things you can’t afford. • You must pay back what you owe on time. • When bills aren’t paid in full, you’ll have to pay interest charges. Let youth know: if you move or go away to school, you must quickly notify the credit company of your new address. Otherwise, bills may reach you late or not at all, and you might suffer late payment fees and penalties.

Wrap Up

Leave students with three key questions to ask themselves: Why do I need a credit card? Can I afford a credit card? Will I be able to pay off my balance each month?

Credit worthiness skit Characters:

Connie Consumer: She wants to borrow money. Lenny Lender: He will decide whether to lend Connie money.


Connie: Hi Lenny. I need some new clothes and I’d like to borrow some money. Can you help me? Lenny: That all depends, Connie. This is my money and I want to be sure you’ll pay me back. You know, I have that money in a savings account and if I lend it to you, I’ll lose the money I earn on it. Let’s talk about it. How much do you need and how will you pay me back? Connie: I need $100. I’ll pay you back by the end of the year. Lenny: It’s important to me that you can pay me back. How can I be sure? Do you have a job? How much do you make? What other bills do you have? I’m taking a risk here. Are you a good credit risk? How much money do you have saved in the bank? I can’t afford to lose the money. Connie: I don’t have a job right now. I will though in about 3 months. I borrowed money from my brother Fred last year but lost my job and couldn’t repay him. But that’s different ... I’ll pay you back for sure. I’m just starting to save now and will open a savings account next week.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



(Global Understanding)

Excerpted from the Tannenbaum Center curricula, Coexist

Age Group: High School # of Sessions: 1

Goals •

• •

To test students’ knowledge of interreligious understanding and help them appreciate their encounters and interactions with people from various backgrounds. This interaction helps to create a classroom/work climate that teaches students to be global citizens and understand other cultures and people. To work collaboratively in an interactive game. To expose students to interreligious understanding through facts from various world religions. To make students aware of religious diversity, understand multiple perspectives and to connect with all people respectfully.

Preparation and Resources

Set the room up into three or four (depending on class size) different groups with a table for each. Have four 3x5 cards on each table, each card reading letters A-D respectively.

Main Activity

Explain to students that today they will be playing a game that will test and challenge their knowledge of world religions. Split students up into three or four even groups, depending on class size.

How the game works: The teacher/educator (you) will read a question. The questions will become increasingly difficult as points are earned, and score will be kept on the board. Each team has one minute to discuss and choose one of the four answers. After a minute each team must choose one of the answer letter cards. Then, the teacher will go around, asking each team what letter choice each team picked; each team will hold up their response card. After all teams have gone, the teacher will reveal the final answer. The team that wins the most amount of points wins the game.

Wrap Up

You may debrief with students after the game, asking where they learned the information they knew; on the questions that they had to guess, how they chose the answer they did; what was easy or challenging about the game; three things they learned by playing the game. Ask your students how these “interreligious understanding” facts will help them to be global citizens.

If there are questions that none of the teams answered correctly, you may want to assign a research assignment regarding that particular topic. partnership for afterschool education |


Best Practices and Lesson Plans

Answer Key to Interreligious Understanding Game 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.


Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding 254 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001 212-967-7707 Š 2009 Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding


A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth

COLLEGE PREP AFTERSCHOOL Interreligious Understanding Game 1. For Muslims, what is the most sacred city? A. Mecca B. New York City C. Constantinople D. Jerusalem 2. What is generally considered the world’s oldest religion? A. Judaism B. Christianity C. Hinduism D. Egyptian Spirituality 3. Food that is prepared according to Jewish Law is called: A. Halal B. Kosher C. Rabbi D. Vegetarian 4. In Buddhism, the Universal Laws of Truth are called what? A. Buddha B. Ten Commandments C. Dharma D. Torah

5. Which of the following is not a religious text? A. Bible B. Tao-te Ching C. Qur’an D. Karma

7. As of the last five years, how many religious denominations are there in the U.S.? A. 50-250 B. 500-700 C. 1,000-2,000 D. 4,000-5,000 8. What religion has the following quote in its sacred texts: “Where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself”? A. Buddhism B. Christianity C. Sikhism D. Judaism 9. The large headscarf worn by many Sikh women is called: A. Burqa B. Yarmulke C. Chuni D. Veil 10. What is the word for “to strive”/ “to exert to the utmost” in Arabic? A. Hajj B. Hijab C. Qur’an D. Jihad

6. Which of the following religions is not considered one of the Abrahamic faiths? A. Islam B. Taoism C. Christianity D. Judaism Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding 254 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001 212-967-7707 © 2009 Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding partnership for afterschool education |



Best Practices and Lesson Plans


A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth



Questions to Ask at High School Visits and Fairs ACADEMIC OFFERINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES

• Does this school offer honors, Advanced Placement or college credit courses? How many students take them?

What is the math curriculum like? Can my son/daughter take calculus by the senior year?

Does the school have any relationships with colleges where students can pursue college level classes while in high school?

What foreign languages are available for study at the school?

Are there programs for educational enrichment or advancement available at the school?

Is there tutoring or other academic support for students who are struggling?

What percentage of students pass their required Regents exams on the first try?


What, if any, programs and community-based organizations are affiliated with the school? What are their offerings? How can students participate?

What PSAL athletic teams does the school support? Are there varsity and junior varsity levels?

Are there sports activities for students who are not varsity athletes?

What are the most popular extracurricular activities or clubs?

Is community service required? Do most students participate in some sort of service activity?


• What percentage of students graduate in four years from this school? •

What percentage of your graduates receive a Regents diploma or an Advanced Regents diploma?

What support is available for students as they apply to college? Do they have academic advisors or a dedicated college counselor to assist them with this process?

What percentage of your students go on to college after graduation?

What colleges do graduates of this school typically attend? CUNY? SUNY? Private schools? Do you have a college list of the places your graduates have matriculated?

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7:00 AM 7:30 AM 8:00 AM 8:30 AM 9:00 AM 9:30 AM

10:00 AM

10:30 AM 11:00 AM 11:30 AM 12:00 PM 12:30 PM 1:00 PM 1:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM 3:00 PM 3:30 PM 4:00 PM 4:30 PM 5:00 PM

5:30 PM 6:00 PM 6:30 PM
















Advisory English Calculus French Lunch AP English

After School Program

Advisory English AP History

Theater Arts Lunch Study Hall

After School Program

Advisory English


Calculus French Lunch


AP History Theater Arts Lunch

AP English

Year Book



Advisory English Calculus


Study Hall Lunch

Lunch SAT Prep









This schedule can easily be customized to a student’s individual needs – color coding might help to keep things easy to spot. It is important for youth to schedule in studying/homework time in addition to all extracurricular activities including clubs, part-time jobs and homework time.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth










7:00 AM

7:30 AM

8:00 AM

8:30 AM

9:00 AM

9:30 AM

10:00 AM

10:30 AM

11:00 AM

11:30 AM

12:00 PM

12:30 PM

1:00 PM

1:30 PM

2:00 PM

2:30 PM

3:00 PM

3:30 PM

4:00 PM

4:30 PM

5:00 PM

5:30 PM

6:00 PM 6:30 PM

partnership for afterschool education |



APPENDIX C: Timeframe:



Income: Home

Individual savings

Part-time work



 Total Income:  



Room and board/rent

Credit Card Payments

Health Insurance



Food - meals and snacks


Health care




 Total Expenses:  

Balance (Income – Expenses):

This sample budget sheet can be modified to each individual’s needs. We recommend recreating your own digital form which allow youth to utilize Excel formulas that will automatically calculate totals if the values change.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth

Job title with brief description of job function / responsibilities

What key skills & knowledge are required for this person to successfully fulfill their job duties? Refer to list of competencies as a guide.

skills / knowledge required

have What key skills & knowledge does this person already have?

Š 2007 Partnership for After School Education (PASE),

Name of staff person

job What key skills & knowledge does this person already have?


What kind of training and support will help fill the individual needs? Complete this for any needs that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t overlap with needs that are shared by most of the other staff.

FulFilling need



A Tool for Afterschool Supervisors In order to develop a training plan for your staff, use this tool as a first step towards identifying skills and needs of each individual staff person. This process should be completed during an individual meeting between you and each staff person. Once you have determined all of the skills and knowledge each person needs, you can look for commonalities across the entire staff to determine group training. Where there are differences, you can work with each staff person to identify professional development opportunities that are appropriate for him/her.

Professional Development Planning



partnership for afterschool education |


95 resources What resources can the agency tap into for training, support, and/or knowledge building for your staff’s high priority areas of need?

shared staff needs

Based on your individual meetings with staff, what are three highest priority skills & knowledge areas of need shared by many of your staff? (e.g. 70% of staff need a better understanding of children’s stages of development or 80% of staff need to learn how to create effective lesson plans)

Summary of Needs and Resources for Cohorts of Staff



A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth




Reprinted courtesy of the New York Immigration Coalition -

Can I apply for college?

Yes. Undocumented students can apply for college. State colleges and universities should not ask for any information regarding your legal status when you submit your application.When applying to a state college or university you are not required to put a social security number. Leave the space blank on your application; there will be no negative effect on your likelihood of acceptance. State schools are not required to report undocumented students to the federal government; however, they are required to report international students with a student visa from a foreign country. Once accepted to a state college or university, make sure you are not mistakenly classified as an international student. Private colleges and universities determine their own policies toward undocumented students. If you are interested in applying to a private institution, call the admissions office and ask if they have any particular policies toward undocumented students. Some schools are more accommodating than others. If you are nervous about calling, ask a friend or guidance counselor to inquire on your behalf.

Am I eligible for in-state tuition rates?

Non-resident tuition for state colleges and universities is significantly higher than in-state tuition. In New York, undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition if you meet the following requirements. â&#x20AC;˘

You have attended for at least two years and graduated from an approved New York State high school and apply for attendance at a SUNY, CUNY, state-operated, or community college within five years of receiving a high school diploma, or


You have attended an approved New York State program for General Equivalency Diploma preparation, received a GED issued in New York State, and applied for attendance at a SUNY, CUNY, state operated, or community college within five years of graduating high school

In order to claim residency status for tuition purposes, undocumented students must: 1)

File affidavit state that s/he has filed or will file application for legal residency.


Show proof of domicile (rent checks, pay stubs with a NY address, high school records, etc.)

It is important that your school be aware of your legal status in order that you may qualify for resident tuition rates. Check to make sure that you are not classified as an international student, as international students are charged higher tuition costs.

partnership for afterschool education |



Can I apply for financial aid?

Under current law undocumented students cannot apply for state or federal financial aid. However, undocumented students can apply for private scholarships and awards for higher education. See the web page for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) at for a list of private scholarships available to undocumented students

Should I fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?

Because undocumented students cannot receive federal or state financial aid, it is not necessary to fill out a FAFSA form. However, you may wish to fill out a FAFSA in order to determine your estimated family contribution. If you are applying for private aid through a college or university, the school may need to know your estimated family contribution. In this case, fill out the FAFSA leaving your Social Security number blank and marking â&#x20AC;&#x153;c. No, I am not a citizen or eligible non-citizenâ&#x20AC;? in box 13. The application will be rejected and returned to you, but will include your estimated family contribution, which can then be used by your school to determine your financial aid package.

Should I go to a state or private college?

State and private schools offer different advantages to undocumented students applying for college in NY State. It is best to apply to several colleges, both public and private, so that you have a range of options to consider. On the other hand, it is easier to know what to expect when applying to state colleges and universities. The policies of these schools are determined at the state level, so NY State schools all have the same policies toward undocumented students. State schools admit students regardless of their legal status. Furthermore, qualified undocumented students are eligible for lower, in-state tuition costs. This generally make state schools more affordable than private schools. However, state schools generally have less private money available for scholarships and financial aid through their institutions. Private colleges and universities are oftentimes more academically challenging than state schools, a factor that attracts many students. However, many private schools have little or no experience dealing with undocumented students, and there is no one set of policies that these schools follow in admitting undocumented students. Inevitably, some private schools are more willing to accommodate the concerns of undocumented students than others. Private colleges and universities are also more expensive that state schools, and the costs is the same for students regardless of their state of residence. However, once you are admitted, private institutions generally have more sources of funding available to offer scholarships to students who cannot receive financial aid from government sources.


A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth




¿Puedo solicitor ingreso a una Universidad?

Sí, los estudiantes indocumentados pueden solicitor ingreso a una Universidad o en colegio universitario. Las universidades y los colegios universitarios del estado no deben pedir ninguna información en cuanto a su estado

legal cuando presenta su solicitud. Cuando usted solicita a una universidad or un colegio universitario del estado, no se requiere poner su número de seguro social. Puede dejar el espacio en blanco en la solicitud sin que esto afecte su aceptación. A las escuelas del estado no se les exige informar sobre los estudiantes indocumentados al gobierno

federal; sin embargo, sí se les exige informar sobre estudiantes internationales que tengan una visa de estudiante de un país extranjero. Una vez que sea aceptado a una universidad o colegio universitario del estado, asegúrese de que no le han clasificado erróneamente como estudiante international.

Las universidades y colegios universitarios privados determinan sus propias pautas/normas hacia los estudiantes indocumentados. Si usted está interesado en solicitar a una institutción privada, llame a la oficina de admisión y pregunté si tienen alguna norma en particular hacia los estudiantes indocumentados. Algunas escuelas son más serviciales que otras. Si usted está nervioso en cuanto a llamar, pidale a un amigo o consejero que lo haga por usted.

¿Soy elegible para el costo de matrícula dentro del estado?

El costo de matrícula de las universidades y colegios universitarios del estado para los que no son residentes del estado es significamente más alto que el costo de matrícula para los que son residentes del estado. En Nueva York, los

estudiantes indocumentados son elegibles para la matrícula de residentes en el estado si satisfacen los siguientes requisitos:

Usted ha asistido por lo menos dos años y se ha graduado de una escuela secundaria aprobada por

el Estado de Nueva York y solicita asistir a una universidad o colegio universitario SUNY, CUNY, u otra

universidad o colegio universitario operando por el estado o la comunidad dentro de un períoda de cinco (5) años de haberse graduado de la escuela secundaria.

Usted ha asistido a un programa aprobado por el Estado de Nueva York para la preparación de un Diploma

de Equivalencia General, recibido el mismo diploma dado por Estado de Nueva York, y solicitado la entrada

a SUNY, CUNY, u otra universidad o colegio universitario operando por el Estado or la communidad dentro de un períoda de (5) años de haberse graduado de la escuela secundaria.

Para poder reclamar el estado de residencia para el prepósito del costo de matrícula, los estudiantes indocumentados deben:


Presentar una declaración jurada por escrito estableciendo que él/ella ha presentado o va a presentar una


Demonstrar prueba de domicilio/residencia (cheques del pago de alquilar, talón/talonario de pagos que

solicitud de residencia legal.

enseñen una dirección en Nueva York, expedientes académicos de la escuela secundaria, etc.)

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Es importante que la escuela tenga conocimiento de su estado/situación legal para que usted pueda ser considerada para el costo de matrícula de residentes del estado. Asegúrese que usted no está clasificado como un estudiante international, ya que a los estudiantes internationales se les cobran cosos de matricula más altos.

¿Puedo solicitar ayuda financiera?

Bajo la ley actual un estudiante indocumentado no puede solicitar ni ayuda financiera federal ni estatal. A pesar de eso,

los estudiantes indocumentados pueden solicitar becas y premios del sector privado para la educación universitaria. Puede ver la página de WEB de la Liga de Defensa Legal y Fondo Educacional Mexicano Americano (MALDEF) para obetener una lista de becas privadas disponibles para los estudiantes indocumentados. scholarships/.

¿Debo llenar un formulario FAFSA (Solicitud Gratis de Ayuda Federal Estudiantil)?

Debido a que los estudiantes indocumentados no pueden recibir ayuda federal ni estatal, no es necesario llenar un formulario de FAFSA. Sin embargo, puede ser que ested quiera llenar el formulario de FAFSA para determiner en estimado

de su contribución familiar. Si está solicitando ayuda privada a través de una Universidad o un colegio universitario. Puede ser que la escuela necesite saber un estimado de su contribución familiar. En este caso llene el forumarlio de FAFSA, y su numero de Seguro Social, y marque “c. No, no soy ciudadano o no-ciudadano elegible” en el apartado 13. La

solicitud le será rechazada y devuelta a usted, pero tendrá incluido un estimado de su contribución familiar, que puede ser usado entonces por su escuela para determinar su paquete de ayuda financiera.

¿Debo ir a una universidad or colegio universitario del estado o privado?

Las universidades o los colegios universitarios estatales y privados ofrecen ventajas diferentes a los estudiantes

indocumentatos que piden entrada en el Estado de Nueva York. Es mejor solicitar a varios, privados y públicos, para así poder tener una serie de opciones para considerar.

Por un lado, es mucho más fácil saber lo que se espera cuando se solicita a las universidades o colegios universitarios del estado. Las pautas/normas de estas escuelas son determinadas a nivel estatal; así que, en las escuelas del Estado de Nueva York tienen todas las mismas normas/pautas bacia los estudiantes indocumentados. Las escuelas estatales

admiten a estudiantes sin hacer caso de su estado/situación legal. Además, los estudiantes indocumentados que

califican son elegibles para los costos de matrícula más bajos en el estado. Esto, generalmente, hace que las escuelas estatales tengan menos dinero del sector privado para becas y ayuda financiera a través de sus instituciones.

Las universidades y colegios universitarios privados son con frecuencia académicamente más exigentes que las

excuelas estatales; un factor que atrae a muchos estudiantes. Sin embargo, muchas escuelas prevadas tienen poca o ninguna experiencia para tratar con estudiantes indocumentados. Inevitablemente, algunas escuelas privadas están

más dispeustas a acomodar los intereses de los estudiantes indocumentados que otras. Las universidades y colegios privados también son más caros que las escuelas estatales y el costo es el mismo para los estudiantes sin importar su

estado/situación de residencia. Sin embargo, una vez que usted es admitido, las insituciones privadas generalmente

tienen más fuentes de recursos disponibles para fondos para ofrecer becas a estudiantes que no pueden recibir ayuda financiera de fuentes del gobierno.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth




SCHOOL NAME: DATE OF VISIT: MY PREPARED QUESTIONS (about academics, athletics, student life, dorm living, safety, etc.): 1. 2. 3. 4. THINGS ABOUT THIS SCHOOL THAT APPEALED TO ME: 1. 2. 3.


MY LEVEL OF INTEREST IN THIS SCHOOL AFTER THIS VISIT (1 = very low interest; 10= very high interest): 1










partnership for afterschool education |





Reprinted courtesy of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills -

Framework for 21st Century Learning The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a vision for 21st century student success in the new global economy. 21st Century Student Outcomes and Support Systems

21ST CENTURY STUDENT OUTCOMES The elements described in this section as “21st century student outcomes” (represented by the rainbow) are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a unified, collective vision for 21st century learning that will strengthen American education. The Partnership created the Framework for 21st Century Learning, which describes the skills, knowledge and expertise students must master to succeed in work and life. Only when a school or district combines the framework with 21st century professional development, assessments and standards, can the American public be sure that high school graduates are prepared to thrive in today’s global economy.

Publication date: 1/2/09


21st century skills represent the necessary student outcomes for the 21st century, i.e. students need to obtain Learning and Innovation Skills (creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, etc.), Information, Media and Technology Skills, Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes (global awareness, financial literacy, etc.) and Life and Career Skills (initiative and self-direction, among others) – the colored parts of the rainbow.

177 N. Church Avenue, Suite 305

Tucson, AZ 85701


A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes Mastery of core subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics. We believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects: • • • •

Global Awareness Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy Civic Literacy Health Literacy

Member Organizations • Adobe Systems, Inc. • American Association of School Librarians • Apple • ASCD • Atomic Learning • Blackboard, Inc. • Cable in the Classroom • Cisco Systems Inc. • Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Learning and Innovation Skills

• Davis Publications Inc.

Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century and those who are not. They include:

• Discovery Education

• Creativity and Innovation • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving • Communication and Collaboration

• EF Education • Education Networks of America • Educational Testing Service • Ford Motor Company Fund

Information, Media and Technology Skills People in the 21st century live in a technology and media-driven environment, marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills, such as: • Information Literacy • Media Literacy • ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy

• Gale, Cengage Learning • Hewlett Packard • Intel Corporation • JA Worldwide® • K12 • KnowledgeWorks Foundation • • Learning Point Associates

Life and Career Skills Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills, such as: • • • • •

• Dell, Inc.

• LEGO Group • Lenovo • McGraw-Hill • Measured Progress • Microsoft Corporation

Flexibility and Adaptability Initiative and Self-Direction Social and Cross-Cultural Skills Productivity and Accountability Leadership and Responsibility

• National Education Association • Oracle Education Foundation • Pearson • PolyVision


• Scholastic Education

Developing a comprehensive framework for 21st century learning requires more than identifying specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies. An innovative support system must be created to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century. The Partnership has identified five critical support systems that ensure student mastery of 21st century skills:

• THINKronize

• • • • •

• Sesame Workshop • Verizon • Wireless Generation

21st Century Standards Assessments of 21st Century Skills 21st Century Curriculum and Instruction 21st Century Professional Development 21st Century Learning Environments

For more information, visit the Partnership’s website at

177 N. Church Avenue, Suite 305

Tucson, AZ 85701


partnership for afterschool education |



A Practitionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


partnership for afterschool education |


RESOURCES Creating a College Prep Program •

National College Access Network provides local communities with advice and web resources to help initiate, develop and sustain college access programs. A Guide to Establishing CommunityBased College Access Centers (requires Adobe Reader) is a blueprint for those interested in creating pre-college prep programs to promote college attendance among low-income and first generation college students. The guide explains what a college access center is and how one can be started and maintained.

Pathways to College Network is a national alliance of organizations and funders dedicated to focusing research-based knowledge and resources on improving college preparation, access, and success for underserved students, including low-income students, underrepresented minorities, first-generation students, and students with disabilities. Especially useful is their College Readiness for All Toolbox. Though aimed at schools and districts, it offers advice on effective program setup and development.

The College Board’s CollegeEd Curricula for both middle and high school students, is focused on self-exploration, test-taking and study skills, and goal determination, emphasizing the importance of rigor in course work, the college application process, and financial aid. These materials are available for purchase through the College Board and can be adapted to the afterschool setting.

Middle School Programs •

Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice to Teachers from Middle Schoolers by Kathleen Cushman & Laura Rogers. New Press, May 2003.

ACT Policy Report: College Readiness Begins in Middle School policymakers/pdf/CollegeReadiness.pdf

Great Schools—A Middle School Parent’s College Prep Guide showarticle/1099

For all NYC Department of Education information on high schools and enrollment choices, see:

Academic Support Resources •


College Survival Skills Reference – An overview of some helpful hints on note-taking, test taking, time management and general study habits.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Teaching Aids: • offers web resources for teachers in a range of subjects and special interest areas. http://

The RHL School offers downloadable worksheets for teaching, reinforcing, and reviewing math, grammar, reading and research skills. These sheets can serve as the basis for lessons. http://www.

Writing, Grammar, and Punctuation: • is an alphabetical guide to every grammar error you could dream of making. divides writing into 6 “traits” and provides free lesson guides and activities useful for teaching students to think about and use these areas of focus in their writing and editing processes:

Paradigm: On-Line Writing Assistant is a comprehensive and well presented resource with general writing tips and guidelines for several specific essay types, including exploratory essays and argumentative essays.

College Level Writing Advice: •

Brown University’s Writing Center online resource provides comprehensive information on academic and other types of writing, with general guides; help with style, grammar, and citations; tips on avoiding plagiarism; guides for researching papers; and resources for ESL/ESOL students. Also contains links to other top college writing resources such as the University of Chicago and Purdue University writing center publications. Writing_Center/resources_writers/

Citing Sources: • as a full guide to citing sources using MLA, APA, CBE, Turabian, and Chicago, along with many other styles. if you still have questions, this cite might have the answers you’re looking for. partnership for afterschool education |



Volunteer Recruitment and Management Resources •

The Corporation for National Community Service: A government program that provides free volunteer opportunities posting for organizations seeking volunteers.

New York Cares: A New York program which connects New Yorkers to volunteer opportunities in the city. - Agencies are able to post descriptions of their organizations and can solicit donations and recruit volunteers.

The National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association has a special section of their website on volunteer management and recruitment at’s site that provides information on all aspects of volunteer management.

The Path to College •

Jump Start Your Education booklets are available online and in print in both English and Spanish. They are part of the College Is Possible initiative, of the American Council on Education (ACE) aimed at increasing achievement in middle and high school students from underserved communities. Start.htm

ACE and the Lumina Foundation have partnered to create which is a student-friendly resource on all the steps necessary to prepare for college, starting with middle school.

For students who need help getting back on the path to college, ACE offers information on the GED and how to attain one:

Mentoring, Life Skills, Teambuilding, and Leadership


MENTOR offers research on group mentoring and suggestions for how to be a good mentor.

It's My Life is a guidance tool offered by which gives youth advice on how to manage their emotions, their time, their money, and more. Most appropriate for middle school: http://

The Society for Adolescent Medicine’s publication “The Healthy Student: Preparing for the College Years”

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


teAchnology provides links to lesson plans on decision making. teachers/lesson_plans/health/decisions/

The site of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policy makers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child’s success as citizens and workers in the 21st century by providing tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change.

The Youth Leadership Initiative offers K-12 resources for fostering youth involvement in the political process: is a website that offers information on starting leadership classes, projects for youth, and general information resources.

The National Youth Leadership Council offers online materials, webinars and primers on service learning at:

A chapter of Barbara Gross Davis’ book Tools for Teaching is available online, and outlines of different types of collaborative and group work structures that are useful for adding teambuilding components to lesson plans.

Media and Technology •

The National Center for Quality Afterschool offers information on integrating technology across all afterschool activities.

The University of Michigan offers access to a range of resources for kids, educators and parents on media literacy and the ways to teach it. htm

YouthLearn offers great tips for teaching the use of technology (as well as many other areas) at:

Financial Literacy for Young People •

The Partnership for Afterschool Education’s financial literacy curriculum for young adults “Dollars and Sense: Building Financial Dreams.” nasd.html

The full offering’s of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity’s My Money Matters curriculum is available at:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides an introduction to personal finance targeted toward young adults. partnership for afterschool education |



American Bankers Association Consumer Connection offers a wide range of personal finance resources for young adults. offers a free rates calculators that allow you to determine the interest your savings will earn or how much you need to put away to meet a specified savings goal.

The Stock Market Game: Gives students the chance to invest a hypothetical $10,000 in a realtime stock market, simulated on the Web.

The College Application Process •

The National Association of College Admission Counseling is a top overall resource. In addition to information for counselors, they also provide a national list of college fairs.

The Common Application is used by over 300 colleges and universities and can be completed online. Most colleges and universities prefer to receive electronic applications and you should encourage students to apply with CommonApp to ease record keeping.

The Educator’s page at the College Board’s site offers important information and tips on all aspects of the college preparation and application processes. http://professionals.collegeboard. com/educator

Princeton Review offers step-by-step advice on the application process, from developing a list of schools to apply to through managing wait lists. It also provides a year-by-year guide for high school students with “to do”s to ensure students are ready for the college application process come senior year.

Princeton Review’s research tools helps students identify colleges as well as scholarships which may be a good fit.



The College Board administers the SAT Reasoning and Subject exams. To register for either, students must create a user account which they will use to register each time they wish to sit for the exams.

The ACT site allows students to register online for the test, as well as test prep resources. http://

The College Board offers a range of official preparatory materials for the SAT exams through their online store at

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required for students who do not speak English as a first language. This site provides information about the exam and the registration process:

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth


Writing the College Application Essay •

The College Board has a variety of resources for college application essay writing including how to choose a topic, and sample essays. html

Quintessential Careers breaks the college essay into three stages and includes links to a number of sample essays.

Accepted is a for-profit company offering private admissions counseling, however there are some terrific free resources on writing the college application essay and writing in general available on this page. has some good tips for essay writing. essay_tips.htm

Getting Parents Involved •

The Department of Education’s new site has clear, cogent information for parents on partnering in the college preparation process as well as understanding financial planning for financing a child’s higher education.

The College Board offers direct advice to parents as they help their children in the process. http://

The National Association of College Admission Counselors’ Families Counselors and Communities Together (FCCT) program offers a range of publications and power point presentations for familiarizing parents with the college admission and financial aid process. http://www.nacacnet. org/PublicationsResources/Marketplace/Pages/fcct.aspx

Exploring Majors & Careers

All of these sites offer strong interactive resources for middle and high school students informing them about the connections between academic and extracurricular interests and potential future careers as well as how potential majors needed to prepare for future careers. •

The College Board’s page for career research navigator.jsp?t=careers&i=index

The Bureau of Labor Statistics site “What do you like”

Mapping Your Future provides a number of interactive resources for career exploration and college preparation especially for middle and high school students. http://mappingyourfuture. org/MiddleHighSchool/ partnership for afterschool education |



Resources for Youth with Disabilities •

Government information on the rights of disabled students is available at about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html

HEATH Resource Center is an online clearinghouse of information on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities.

The Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) is an international, multicultural organization of professionals committed to full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities.

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) has a wide array of materials that support full access of youth and adults with disabilities to employment and postsecondary education. www.

Financial Aid, Scholarships and Financing College


FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The site contains information on the main application process students and their parents complete to receive grants and low-interest federal loans.

The Student Guide, available in English and Spanish, is a comprehensive guide to student financial aid from the U.S. Dept. of Education. It is updated each year with information about government entitlements, federal loan programs and the procedures required to qualify for aid.

The Federal TRIO Programs includes six outreach and support programs targeted to serve and assist low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. Among their programs are local Educational Opportunity Centers. trio/index.html

TERI offers a booklet for download or purchase on making college affordable. http://www. and are free, membership-based services that allow users to search for scholarships online. Both services will send users ongoing alerts based on their reported talents, interests and personal information. and http://www. offers comprehensive information on the financial aid application process, including loan calculators and explanations of different types of aid. The page otheraid/undocumented.phtml provides important information on the various laws surrounding financial aid options for undocumented youth.

A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming for Middle and High School Youth

COLLEGE PREP AFTERSCHOOL - provides a list of many of the scholarships and academic prizes available to students regardless of their immigration status. Not specifically geared towards undocumented youth, but it includes them.

The College Board’s “Pay for College” section includes a scholarship search function.

Additional Informational Resources

While not all of these articles and publications will be useful on a day-to-day basis, program staff should inform themselves about trends in the field of college admissions and middle and high school education. Below is a selection of reports, papers, and articles that you may find helpful in learning more about college preparation overall. •

National Dropout Prevention Network has compiled research discussing the high risk factors associated with students’ discontinuation of high school education. This research also provides recommendations for those working to keep kids in schools and links to programs that are succeeding in this effort.

"How Families of Low- and Middle-Income Undergraduates Pay for College," by Susan P. Choy and Ali M. Berker, analyzes 1999-2000 statistics from public and private two and four year undergraduate and doctoral programs. While the total cost of college has increased since 19992000 the report remains useful as an overview of how students from family with different income levels pay for education at different types of institutions using earnings, loans, grants, and other means.

ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) of the U.S. Department of Education offers access to a range of publications about educational attainments and college-going behaviors of all American groups.

"Two-Year Colleges and the Transfer Function in the State University of New York System," by Andrew W. Nutting discusses the role of two year colleges in preparing students for careers and bachelor degrees.

Making the Grade in College Prep: A Guide for Improving College Preparation Programs Designed for use by pre-college professionals responsible for planning and assessment of high school college programs, this pamphlet classifies the range of college preparation programs available, analyzes problems, identifies needs for improvement in evaluation, investigates ways to intervene, and recommends the most successful interventions. pdf/makinggrade.pdf

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College Prep in Afterschool: A Practitioner’s Guide to Effective Programming  

Includes best practices, strategies and resources for integrating key college preparation elements into existing programs.

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