Schools throughout Riverside County will be elevating the topic of college and career readiness to new heights starting on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, as part of the Riverside County College Kickoff campaign that extends through November.
The focus on college and career readiness is connected to the Riverside County Office of Education Pledge—that all students in Riverside County will graduate from high school well prepared for college and the workforce. Additionally, the campaign is an outgrowth of the Riverside County Education Collaborative that was lauded in 2014 by President Barack Obama for increasing college-going rates in the Inland Empire.
To celebrate College Kickoff this week, many districts will be proctoring the PSAT Exam—also known as the Practice SAT Test—for students in grade 9 through 11. Other districts will hold college application workshops for four-year colleges/universities and community colleges or trade schools. Several districts will host sessions to assist student and parents with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Many elementary and middle schools will be scheduling activities to encourage students to begin thinking about college and career-related choices in their future.
Other agencies in Riverside County such as Public Health, Probation, Mental Health, District Attorney’s Office, Department of Social Services, and others are supporting the College Kickoff by participating in School Colors Day on Wednesday, October 14, to promote the college-going culture by wearing their favorite college gear.
“What makes these events different than typical college and career days is that there is a systematic approach to engage all students—not just the ones who expressed an interest,” said Catalina Cifuentes, College and Career Coordinator at the Riverside County Office of Education. “At several schools, the entire day is being dedicated to ensuring participation. At some schools, every senior will be filling out a FAFSA application or applying to a local community college if they aren’t already on track with their A-G completion and headed to a 4-year school or university.”
Sample activities at schools around the county include:
Hemet Unified School District
Counselors at Hemet High School are holding a College Application Kickoff contest throughout the month for students that provide proof that they have initiated a college application. In addition, they created a short announcement video that was shown to all students earlier in the week.
Murrieta Valley Unified School District
All three high schools have activities planned throughout the morning to encourage all students to consider their life choices after graduation. At Vista Murrieta, four different workshop blocks will host sessions on everything from college terminology aimed at defining concepts like prerequisites and units to understanding the differences in expectations and time/fiscal responsibility between high school and college.
San Jacinto Unified School District
All 14 schools will be participating to some degree—including a pep rally for parents at Record Elementary School. Mountain View High School will hold a pep rally and construct a ‘dream wall’ in the middle of their campus to encourage students to share their intended major and college of choice.
Perris Union High School District
For all students opting not to take the PSAT test, a dedicated college and career readiness lesson will be given to students throughout the district. From discussing the application process to reviewing the importance of A-G completion, counselors and staff have altered the bell schedule to accommodate the day’s activities.
College Fairs (multiple districts)
Coachella Valley High School will host the 30th Annual College Voc-Tech Night on Wednesday, October 14, at Fullenwider Auditorium from 6 to 8:30 p.m. More than 3,000 students and parents are expected to attend.
Out-of-state college fairs will be held in Palm Springs on October 15-16 and in Moreno Valley on October 19. Nearly 400 students enrolled in RIMS (Riverside Inyo Mono San Bernardino) AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Programs will be in attendance at one of these fairs.