Nov. 2, 2009
Conference emphasizes success in high school, college
State officials from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Department of Higher Education and area high schools, colleges and universities recently gathered at Heartland Foundation's emPowerU in St. Joseph for the Building Bridges II conference.
Sponsored by Northwest and joined by several local and regional academic partners, the conference sought to "build linkages with high schools and colleges of the region as they seek to provide a smooth and successful journey for students as they move through the high school to college transition years," said Dr. Max Ruhl, dean of Northwest's College of Education and Human Services. "The conference held out the hope that through careful communication and more unified planning, a greater partnership can be built with parents and students in Missouri to help recognize the trademarks of successful preparation for college."
The conference keynote was provided by Dr. David Conley from the University of Oregon who is the author of the book "College Knowledge" and an expert on transition years.
Ruhl said some of the factors known to be critical to ultimate success in college are:
Starting early in the child's life to emphasize the importance of education,
Reading to and with young children as often as possible and discussing what they are doing in school,
Emphasizing good study habits and completion of homework,
Attending school functions with children and discussing their value,
Attending parent-teacher conferences and supporting the teacher's efforts to encourage a child's best efforts,
Limiting television time,
Visiting museums and historic sites while vacationing,
Helping a child to choose middle school and high school elective courses with care, ensuring all of the recommended core courses are taken,
Attending college fairs at high schools or in the community to learn about the economic and other means to attend college or postsecondary training,
Paying special attention to course selection in the junior and senior years, where a solid course schedule for many will spell the difference for ultimate success or failure in college/postsecondary education, and
Monitoring a student during the early months in college when a good foundation for success can occur and when many young people falter.
Dr. Shelly Hiatt, assistant professor of psychology, sociology and counseling at Northwest and director of the Building Bridges program, said, "We've realized that in these all-important transition years where students move through high school and into some type of further education, knowledge truly is power. There is no substitute for a constant focus from family and friends on being prepared for success in high school and college."
The message of support and encouragement was provided through a panel of state leaders who discussed the importance of the P-20 (preschool through graduate school) alliance in Missouri. Panelists included two well-known leaders from northwest Missouri: Lowell Kruse, president of Missouri's Coordinating Board for Higher Education and retired CEO of Heartland Health, as well as longtime educator State Rep. Mike Thomson of Maryville.
The original partners in Building Bridges were Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville R-II School District, Lincoln University, North Central Missouri College, Northwest's Regional Professional Development Center and ACT. These organizations were joined for Building Bridges II by Rockhurst University, Missouri Western State University and the Metropolitan Community Colleges of Kansas City.
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