An Integrated Approach to Academic and Social Supports

By Tom Vander Ark and Mary Ryerse

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Today, we release the second of two papers focused on improving students’ college, career and life readiness. Both publications frame the larger context of readiness through a programmatic case study that analyzes the effectiveness of College Spark Washington’s (CSW) eight-year College Readiness Initiative (CRI).

In An Integrated Approach to Academic and Social Supports: A Case Study on Increasing College Readiness through AVID, authors Tom Vander Ark and Mary Ryerse make the case for college readiness, relay the story of the academic and social-support-driven AVID program, and illustrate how partnerships can enhance college, career and life readiness initiatives. The message is multifold: Students need support. Case studies are helpful. Partnerships can work.

In the publication, the authors examine the current state of college readiness, offer a case study analysis of College Spark’s CRI via an impact assessment of the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, identify lessons learned from the CRI, and provide recommendations for ways in which leaders across sectors can collaborate to ensure that targeted academic and social supports drive equity and provide access for underrepresented students.

The authors sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is currently known about readiness?
  • Did the Career Readiness Initiative achieve its goal to help more low-income students be college-ready when they graduate from high school?
  • What lessons have been learned to help promote equity and increase access to college and career prep, with longevity and at scale?

The Study

This publication is the result of a multi-year study of College Spark Washington’s College Readiness Initiative. The Getting Smart team built upon the external evaluation conducted by The BERC Group throughout the course of the initiative. Through the Impact Study, Getting Smart extracted key information from BERC reports and also conducted interviews, administered surveys and analyzed the implementation, impact and sustainability of the CRI program. Year one focused on grantees, while also gathering input from policy makers and partners. Year two involved additional constituents and built toward these national reports on the impact of the College Readiness Initiative.

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This publication is the second in a two-part part series produced in partnership with College Spark Washington (@CollegeSparkWA). Join the conversation on Twitter using #CollegeReady or #RedefiningReady. Learn more about the College Readiness Initiative and download related papers and infographics here.

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Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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