While collaboration and communication between Daley college faculty and Goode teachers already had been under way, they understood that their communication needed to be strengthened to help students make a smoother transition from high school to college coursework.
As a result, Goode and Daley faculty began meeting on a bi-weekly basis to review student data and implement targeted strategies to support struggling students. “The meetings shed light on how to align college and high school expectations and how to better prepare students for the college setting,” says Birch.
These meetings also helped bridge misconceptions between the two schools. “When students first started college courses, we had the impression that students weren’t getting enough support from the college,” recalls Birch. “But after we began meeting with the professor and the Dean of Instruction, we understood that they were holding very high expectations for students and were willing to help them, but they also needed our support as well.”
Birch and the other Goode teachers learned that for students to thrive in the less-structured college environment, they needed to be able to show initiative and self-advocate — ask for and seek help when they needed it.
In response, the teachers implemented a range of strategies that required the two institutions to work together in new ways. “We have the advantage of teaching students how to succeed in college while they are still in high school,” says Birch. “The risk is lower, and the safety net is bigger.”
Daley College students began tutoring struggling students on Goode’s campus during the high school students’ required College Support class. At the same time, Goode staff encouraged students to attend Professor Taghavy’s office hours and request one-on-one meetings with him if they did not understand a concept. Taghavy also provided Birch and the math team at Goode with quizzes and coursework that he had given in the past so that the Goode team could support and re-teach concepts during the College Support class.
Students at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy travel to Richard J. Daley College on a daily basis for class and take a range of college level coursework.