Contact Person: Darryle Craig
The College Partnership Program serves students in grades seven through 12 in 49 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) high schools and middle schools. The College Partnership Program for middle school students is managed by FCPS's Office of After-School Programs, located in the Gatehouse Administration Center. In July 2009, the College Partnership Program for high school students (serving students in grades nine through 12) became one of five programs that comprise FCPS's College Success Program. The other four programs that comprise the College Success Program are:
- AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)
- The Early Identification Program (EIP)
- The Pathway to the Baccalaureate program and Pathway Connection
- The Elementary School Project
The College Success Program is co-located with School Counseling in the Office of PreK-12 Curriculum and Instruction in the Instructional Services Department of FCPS.
The purpose of the College Partnership Program (CPP) is to increase the number of students, particularly first generation college and minority students, who enroll and succeed in college. Based on research conducted by the American Youth Policy Forum (Success at Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond, October, 2009), elements of successful college readiness programs are:
- Rigor and academic support
- College knowledge and access
- Youth-centered programs
- Effective instruction
The College Partnership Program addresses all of these elements, as follows:
Rigor and academic support: The College Partnership Program monitors students grades and sends a letter home mid-school year when a student's GPA dips below 2.5. The letter includes tips for improving academic performance and may warn the student that some CPP activities will be "off limits" if academic performance is not improved.
Relationships: School-based College Partnership Program "advocates" (usually a school counselor or career center specialist) conduct school-based CPP meetings on topics related to college readiness and academic and career success. Advocates serve as another school-based adult with whom CPP students have regular contact and may cultivate a relationship.
College knowledge and access: Through school-based CPP monthly meetings, parent and student leadership meetings, CPP Senior Help Days, SAT preparation classes, and the CPP Summer Academy, CPP students and their families obtain information about how to enroll and be successful in college.
Relevance: Last year, the CPP introduced a blog and a Facebook site through which students may communicate with each other and the CPP central office staff. Increasingly, CPP graduates are willingly returning to their high schools to talk about their college experience with current CPP students. These initiatives demonstrate the importance that the CPP places on communicating in relevant ways with the current generation of college-going students.
Youth-Centered Programs: From its new student and parent orientation meetings in September, to the 5-day Summer Academy that is offered to rising 9th and 10th grade CPP students in July, CPP programs are always designed with the needs of the student in mind.
Effective Instruction: The CPP is not designed to influence the quality of instruction that CPP students receive in their classes every day. However, great care is taken to produce high quality materials for CPP school-based monthly meetings (e.g. The CPP Advocate's Guide to Monthly Meetings). Every spring, teachers for the CPP Summer Academy submit a list of instructional materials and supplies needed, as well and lesson plans that describe the concepts to be covered.
The CPP is one of several programs featured in FCPS's Closing the Achievement Gap Strategic Plan (www.fcps.edu). As part of the plan's actions and timeline for SY 2012-13, the CPP will assess the number of black and Hispanic seniors who report three indicators of college readiness :
- Participation in at least one college field trip during high school.
- Completion of the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by the spring of their senior year.
- Completing an application to at least one 2 or 4 year college by the end of their senior year.
The College Parternship Program's measurable outcomes for closing the achievement gap for SY 2012-13 are:
- 80% or more black and Hispanic CPP seniors will report going on at least one college field trip during high school.
- 80% or more black and Hispanic CPP seniors will complete the FAFSA by the spring of their senior year.
- 96% of CPP seniors will apply to at least one 2 or 4 year college by the end of their senior year.
The College Partnership Program works collaboratively to provide resources and tools for CPP students and parents, as well as professional development for CPP advocates. There are approximately 47 advocates in the 25 FCPS high schools that offer the CPP. For the first time, this school year, the CPP is being offered to students attending alternative/nontraditional high schools at four sites in Fairfax County: Bryant, Cedar Lane, Quander Road, and an interagency alternative school (IAS). Additionally, the budget covers the cost of college field trips that include the five-day summer academy at James Madison University for rising 9th and 10th grade students, as well as the SAT preparation class for rising seniors. The FY 2013 Program Budget Book is available at: