For some time now Calculus Roundtable has worked to shaped our model of student success and development for community college students. We've now tested our paradigm with a variety of sub-populations (including at risk and incarcerated youth, ESL, and other socioeconomic factors) with early success and meaningful progress helping students progress through the community college system.
In interviews we find, many counselors see the idea of TRANSFER as the primary trajectory for students. Although we understand the spirit of this ideology the meta-cognitive conversation that accompanies this process is critically important in motivating learners to transition towards a multitude of options within their career objective.
Basic algebra is the first in a series of higher-level math classes students need to succeed in college and the STEM related fields. Because many students fail to develop a solid math foundation, an alarming number of them graduate from high school unprepared for college or work.
Students with a high confidence in algebra I show disproportional rate (62%) of success in both 2 and 4 year college completion.
Earning a sub-baccalaureate degree (certificate or associate degree) offers an education on how the student can utilize their skill-set in the world of work. But without a basic foundation in math a students options will be based on survival and not educational or economic choice. Math is the simple key to eliminate this gap. Once students have a vision on how they can make a living, it is then easier for them to understand how to make a life.
Quite often, a career and technical education is enough to ensure that a student can build a life (where you don’t have to be preoccupied with not earning a livable wage and can attend to building and raising your family); for others times career choice dictates that students strive for more education so they pursue a transfer option.
We believe the role of counselor/coordinator, is to present a continuum of options so that our students can make the best decision for where they would like to be in the future (while satisfying their present hierarchical survival needs).
encourage students to consider acquiring industry validated certifications and/or an occupational skills certificate on their way to transfer (it can increase their chances of getting a local job or on-campus work; for the student mentioned above it was Biotech Laboratory skills).
encourage students to build a strong foundation in math using supplemental materials like the Digital One Room Schoolhouse (DORS). Our program begins in middle school where the need for math remediation is the highest and ironically easiest to correct.
Our STEM industry validated certifications allow students to build work experience within a particular industry over time and solidifies the person as a “Ready Now” student (as defined by the California Community College Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development,)
Students work to build skills, volunteer and mentor others.
while addressing the four basic skills sets in Thomas Friedman’s NY Times Op-Ed, “New Rules”). So according to Van Ton-Quinlivan, we have the choice between “Ready Now, Ready Soon, Work Ready, and Far From Ready” workers.
Today, like never before, I’m excited to say Calculus Roundtable through CTE is preparing students to be “Ready Now” in order to meet the workplace needs of our state and nation!