Research Roundup: Community Colleges and Teens

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you. To match the theme of the fall issue, this column focuses on year-round teen services by examining current articles that share opportunities to mentor teens and support their leadership development.

Boerner, H. (2016). An Incubator for Better Outcomes: Innovation at work at Prince George’s Community College. Community College Journal, 86(4), 18–23.

Prince George’s Community College in Maryland partnered with the Prince George’s County Public Schools by actually creating a high school on campus.  Students who attend the high school have an opportunity to also take courses at the community college. Many of those students graduate with an associates degree as well as their high school diploma.  A collaboration like this one allows easier access to everyone and curriculum alignment is definitely at the forefront of the high school.

Guth, D. J. (2016). Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset. Community College Journal, 87(2), 26–31.

Guth acknowledges that this generation of teens often have an entrepreneurial spirit and community colleges are taking advantage of that spirit by creating programs that encourage entrepreneurialism and collaboration with high schools. The community colleges are encouraging teens to take advantage of their fab labs to create projects that might, ultimately, shape themselves into a business. New York’s Bronx Community College has created Start-Up CEO which allows students to earn 12 college credits while learning applying real-world business skills.

Pierce, D. (2016). All in This Together. Community College Journal, 86(5), 32–36.

Pierce highlights programs in Seminole County, Florida, and Bismarck State College, North Dakota, that places an emphasis on college-ready partnerships as a way to improve the gap between skills attainment and high school graduation.  These programs hinge on the alignment of K-12 schools’ curriculums with the colleges. Instructors from both the colleges and the high schools meet on a regular basis to discuss the curriculum and the best practices to ensure that the curriculums align.  Although not a new idea, Pierce also highlights the practice of dual enrollment and the fact that many students take community college courses in their high schools. Pierce emphasizes that spending time on a college campus can give teens a better understanding of how college works and what is expected of them as community college students.

Pierce, D. (2017). The Rise of Dual Enrollment. Community College Journal, 87(5), 16–24.

Pierce discusses the practice of dual enrollment among high school students across the United States.  Although dual enrollment programs are run differently across states, most states agree that teens receive significant benefits from participating in dual enrollment programs.  Teens have, in some cases, graduated from high school while also receiving an associates degree. One benefit of dual enrollment programs is that students have momentum to continue with their studies.  Another is that some students leave high school with a viable skill set that will garner a career with a living wage.

Rosenbaum, J. E., Ahearn, C., & Rosenbaum, J. (2016). The Community College Option. Educational Leadership, 73(6), 48–53.

There are offers four lessons about the role of community colleges in the lives of teens: community colleges provide a path to future success, community colleges have different academic standards, curriculum alignment is very important, and college scorecards can provide information on college outcomes.  Community college credentials will give teens an advantage over those who only have a high school diploma. Those with community college credentials not only report higher wages but also report more satisfaction with their careers. Teens who choose to go to a community college have an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary for university learning without the large price tag. And, those teens who attended high schools with curriculum alignment have a better chance of succeeding once out of high school. Finally, it is important to look at college scorecards.  Teens will have a better sense of the success rates of those who graduate, their salaries and career trajectories.

Submitted by Committee member Yolanda Hood.

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