For young people in the neighborhoods we serve, earning a high school diploma is a huge hurdle. Last year, for a second year in a row, all nineteen of our seniors graduated from high school. That was amazing, given the fact that only about a third of their public school peers who enter high school achieve that goal. Their success reflects a lot of hard work on their part and a lot of support from us — one-on-one mentoring, academic enrichment, and college counseling. They all headed off with great plans for this fall.
For some time, we have known that getting into college is only the first hurdle. As we hear from from our alumni, making it through college is very difficult for young people who graduate from Boston Public Schools (BPS). In fact, The Boston Foundation reported that college completion rates among BPS graduates are almost as low as the district’s high school graduation rates.
Some teens experience “summer melt” and drop out before they actually enroll in college. Others become discouraged early on when faced with remedial coursework, overwhelming debt, and lack of support. Sometimes, students who are used to being portrayed as “success stories” in their communities drop out without telling anyone they are experiencing difficulty, embarrassed about not being able to meet the goals they have set for themselves.
The Success Boston College Completion Initiative was created to change the conversation from college access to college success. Based on their model, this year our mentoring program will include college students and we are developing an alumni support program to connect students with other SSYP alums, and campus resources.
If you are interested in being involved in this program please contact Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory.
Posted by Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory, Massachusetts Promise Fellow, College and Career Program Coordinator