Overcoming the Odds

Getting Every Student to College: YES Prep's Plan

Advanced Placement Classes and Exams

According to ThinkProgress.com and a new Harvard study, only 56% of the students who enter America’s colleges and universities graduate within six years, while only 29% of students who enter two-year programs complete their degrees within three years. In order to prepare students to not only go to college, but complete their degrees, the YES program poses that every school should offer Advanced Placement classes which are taught on a college level. To find out more about AP courses and exams, visit CollegeBoard.org.

Keys to Success

YES believes in promoting 4 main tenets over the course of students's high school careers: Knowledge and Skills, Academic Behaviors, Habits of Mind, and Navigating the Process. Knowledge and Skills involves giving students access to standards-based instruction delivered in innovative and technologically evolved ways. Academic Behaviors relates to supporting students in a way that prepares them for the struggles of college, mainly the situation of one's motivation for education being dependent upon one's self. Habits of Mind refers to the critical reasoning and problem solving processes necessary to perform at the post-secondary and college level. Navigating the Process is approached as giving students the necessary skills to not only get in to college, but figure out the best way to maintain a healthy academic and social career while in attendance.

Best Practices

YES Prep Public School's best practices are an integral part of the success story told by this school. They involve focus on Curriculum, Discipline Policies, Facilities, and Student Data Collection. The best practice for curriculum involves high quality lesson plans, increased rigor, and standards-based instruction. Discipline policies are enforced through community involvement and a pay-to-play philosophy. Facilities are modern with advanced technology available and integrated by all students and teachers. Student Data Collection, its analysis, and guide to instruction is a permanent fixture for each educator, administrator, and student in the building.


I found this webinar extremely helpful from the standpoint of a school improvement perspective. I chose a webinar on a subject close to my heart. As a high school teacher, I'm extremely passionate about not only getting students to graduate, but getting them to continue their post-secondary education. The content of the webinar was beneficial in informing me of ways in which I can motivate my students to succeed in high school and beyond. Although I found the pace of the video to be slightly longer than necessary, for the most part the presentation held my attention. I liked the way that the slides flipped at appropriate times and how I could go back and reference an earlier point in the webinar if needed. All in all, I would recommend this webinar for high school and middle school teachers looking for ways to prepare their students for post-secondary education.

More Information

The College Board website not only contains information of AP classes, but SAT, ACT, NMSQT, and PSAT testing, college admissions and planning, but professional development opportunities for educators as well. Here you can register and prepare for testing, check out colleges, and plan out your future. Financial aid information is also available for students interested. I would recommend this resource to students and parents in their quest to select a post-secondary institution for attendance and teachers interested in increasing rigor in their classrooms through Advanced Placement courses. Register today and get started!

Cappex provides information about various colleges, such as admittance statistics, cost of attendance, and campus visits. A virtual "reality check", Cappex provides students with the opportunity to set a goal and reach it. Scattergrams reveal admission statistics so that students can shoot for specific GPAs and SAT/ACT scores. Another feature of Cappex is the college list tool that allows students to prioritize potential places of attendance. An excellent tool to use with all upper grades students, this website becomes the essential tool for college planning. I recommend this resource to teachers, parents, and students interested in college searches, prioritizing colleges, and setting specific goals for high school in order to be prepared for college.

This presentation describes different methods of data collection for teachers and school officials. Methods described are document review, existing data, focus groups, interviews, observations, one-minute assessments, portfolios, visual methods, and artifacts. Examples of each method, times when use is appropriate, and strengths and challenges are included. A product of the University of Arizona, this presentation provides valuable information for teachers who are unsure of how to implement advanced student data collection in their classrooms