When you walk into a freshman English class at Kennedy High School and ask the students how many of them want to go to college, nearly all hands go up. However, the reality is that only 28% of graduating seniors from the class of 2015 completed their A-G requirements – the coursework necessary to attend a 4-year public university in California. Kennedy high school graduation rates have shown an impressive increase over the past few years. Sixty-one percent of students walked the stage in 2012 compared to 87% in 2015. This dramatic increase in the number of students graduating creates an even bigger need to ensure that our students are leaving high school prepared for post-secondary success.
Over the past year, the Ed Fund along with our partners identified 6 indicators from research and national best practices that are proven to impact the number of students attaining a post-secondary degree or credential. Knowing that innovation and experimentation are necessary to move the needle around college attainment we set out to create a pilot a program that could catalyze our partners and demonstrate the power of these indicators.
This year, thanks to funding from the inaugural Environmental Community Investment Agreement Grant from the City of Richmond, we have the opportunity to coordinate that pilot program. The City received ninety grant applications and the Ed Fund was one of only 14 organizations selected. Our Kennedy College Bound Network program received the largest grant awarded and will focus on Kennedy High School. The Kennedy College Bound Network, a collaboration between Kennedy High School, the Ed Fund, Richmond Promise, WriterCoach Connection and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce will provide coordinated college strategies in grades 9-12 to significantly improve college readiness and access to ensure Kennedy students are prepared for post-secondary success.
Through this program, students will receive targeted services to build the skills and complete the benchmarks leading to college success. Our goals are to:
• Increase the percentage of students who complete their financial aid applications by 20%
• Increase the percentage of students who test into college level coursework by 10%
• Increase the percentage of freshmen that are on track to complete A-G requirements by 10%
• Provide worked based learning opportunities to 30 Kennedy students
• Increase the number of students with GPAs above 3.0
• Increase the number of students who earn college credit during high school