COLLECTIVELY IMPACTING ACHIEVEMENT
To make completion of post-secondary education an achievable reality for every student in the greater Holland/Zeeland area - particularly low-income students, students of color, and those who will be the first in their families to attain a degree or credential.
Increase the percentage of students who attain a post-secondary degree or credential from 45%-75% by 2025.
We understand the task is big, and the process looks different. With a community that understands an "all hands on deck" approach, we are confident change is possible and the future of our community is bright.
PARTNERING TO END SUMMER MELT
The summer after high school graduation is often the most crucial but yet most overlooked time period in the road to post-secondary education. Research shows that many college-intending students, particularly those who are low-income or first generation college going students, encounter a range of obstacles during the summer that can lead them to change or even abandon their college plans. At the same time, they no longer have the support from their high school counselor and have not yet begun to receive support from the college they plan to attend. National studies estimate that between 10-40% of college-intending students fail to enroll in college, with higher rates of summer melt from schools coming from schools with higher percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced rate lunch.
The term Summer Melt was coined to refer to this phenomenon where students complete key steps (being accepted to college, completing their FAFSA, etc.) along the college access path but then fail to enroll in college the fall after they graduate high school. The post-secondary success network, facilitated by Destination Education, identified this time period as a gap in services locally and created a pilot program called Start Now for Holland High School in 2017.
The Start Now program is based on national best-practices and has three components to serve students during the summer after their senior year of high school.
1. Proactive outreach to first-generation college intending students
30 Students from Holland high school will be identified by the school counselors and college advisors as students who would greatly benefit from college access support over the summer. These students will be enrolled in the program to receive proactive outreach from an AmeriCorps member during the summer months to support them through the college access process.
2. Start Now Workshop Series for college intending seniors
The Start Now workshop series aims to help all college-intending senior's from Holland High School successfully prepare for their first year of college. Four workshops will be presented focusing on helping students navigate the many steps that need to be completed during the summer before college. We will track basic data on these students and provide incentives for participation.
3. Digital Outreach to college intending senior
The Start Now program will utilize a texting campaign to send students and parents reminders related to preparing for their first year of college. Where applicable specific reminders will be sent related to the college students are enrolled at.