Preparing for college in elementary school

May 6, 2010 2:53:33 PM PDT
Getting an early start on preparing for college can make a huge difference, and some local students are getting a jump start on their college education while they are in elementary school thanks to a unique partnership. "It makes it exciting for them. They want that opportunity to be in an institution like St. John's," said Jessica McKenna, a teacher at PS 247.

The trip to St. John's is among a number of visits to college as part of a program created, especially for PS 247.

"We have every child, kindergarten through 5th grade, visiting a different college every year," said Ivy Cohen, the program co-creator.

Cohen is a business owner who was partnered with PS 247, through the non-for-profit group called 'Pencil'. A college fair at the school gives students and their parents a chance to meet with representatives from among the 22 colleges in the partnership.

"Many of their parents have not been to college themselves, so we want to be sure, and the vision of the principal is, is that upon graduation from 5th grade, every child expects to and is prepared to go to college," adds Cohen.

This is the second year of the program and the students seem to be getting the message.

"I know that without a college education, you can't go very far," said Kassidi Cheng.

The school got special permission this year to add to its name, to reflect the college partnerships.

"I have a 5th grader, and he loves the idea. He likes experiencing going to see the schools, the colleges, and know what his future is going to hold," said Sharon Fine.