Activity 4: Improving Student Experience

Activity Guide

In September 2010, the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center began capturing the journeys of young men of color as they struggled toward high school graduation and college matriculation. Their interviews, profiles, and recommendations are collected in The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: Capturing the Student Voice, a monograph giving an at-risk population of minority males first generation college attendees an opportunity to reflect on their educational experience with the hope of improving the “steep climb” of those that follow.

Reading: The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: Capturing the Student Voice, The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, 2010.

Materials

A. Jigsaw Reading

Divide participants into three groups. Each participant should have a copy of the monograph: The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: Capturing the Student Voice.

Seat each group far enough apart for directed discussions.

Assign readings as follows:

Group I: Pressures of Life Overview, p. 6 and pp. 8–17
Group II: Paths to Completion Overview p. 6 and pp. 18–29
Group III: Web of Support Overview p. 7 and pp. 30–39

Pose these directed discussion questions to each group:

  • What are the educational challenges for these students?
  • What are the social challenges for these students?
  • What other roadblocks must these students navigate to be successful?
  • Why do many of these students see education as a burden?

B. Extend the Conversation

Have participants in the three groups give themselves a number from one to three sequentially. All the “ones” will meet at one table, the “twos” at a second table, and the “threes” at a third. Summarize the key points of each mono-graph reading for the group members and review the discussion resulting from the directed questions. Knowledge of all three key findings is essential to understanding and recommending outcomes in the real-world context of the next conversation.

C. Apply What You Have Learned

Group Simulation

Your group members now serve as education advocates for the students described in the readings. What strategies and actions might you put in place in your school that would support them and lead to better engagement in school and more successful outcomes in class and in cocurricular activities? Read pp. 40–41, “Moving from Research to Solutions,” and ensure your strategies are aligned with these suggestions.

D. Whole-School Reflection

Consider the students that attend your school.

Pose these directed discussion questions to each group:

  • Who is struggling and why?
  • Which students at your school have parallel experiences with those in this monograph?
  • How might you identify additional students or subgroups who may see high school graduation as a “steep climb”?
  • What supportive initiatives and personnel might you put in place to increase their chances of success?
  • How will you engage these students successfully in school programs that prepare them for college and careers?
  • How might parent, business, and university partnerships assist with students’ educations?

Debrief this activity by having a representative from each group summarize for the full faculty their strategies for improved educational outcomes. Now begin the conversation:

  • What can our counselors do?
  • What can our teachers do?
  • What can our administrators do?
  • What can our students do?
  • What can our parents do?

Record the summaries on chart paper.

Utilize the Process Circle (Module 1), local school data (Module 2), and these planning tools to identify and implement effective initiatives.