Students from Springfield International Charter School, along with their families, instructors, and members of Bay Path’s faculty and staff gathered in Breck Suite last Friday for a ceremony marking their completion of a College Readiness Bootcamp, which took place over the fall semester.
The five-week program brought 11 seniors and one junior from SICS to Bay Path’s Longmeadow campus on consecutive Fridays for coursework in science labs, art and writing workshops, and in a math foundations course. Through these courses, students had the opportunity to separate chemical compounds, analyze forensic evidence, and produce a podcast about college, in addition to other learning experiences.
The pilot program, a collaboration between SICS’s Academic Director, Dean Barry, and Bay Path’s Dean of Academic Resources, Peter Testori, aims to give first-generation college-bound students an immersive introduction to campus academic and social milieus, providing a sense of confidence and belonging to students who may be unfamiliar with the environment and expectations of college life.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), first-generation college students are driven, hardworking, and goal oriented. But nationwide, 33% of them leave school within three years — a far higher stop-out rate than for peers who have parents with college experience.
At the ceremony, each student was asked to read a short paragraph they’d written, reflecting on a core value that defines their drive. Faith, determination, loyalty and kindness were among the attributes cited by the students, who were each selected by Barry to participate.
“These students are all college-bound,” explained Barry, “and we seek out every opportunity to give them access to college experiences and college-level work, so they get that they absolutely belong in college.”
According to the most recent Census data, 79.1% of Springfield residents age 25 and over have graduated from high school, while 19.5% have earned a bachelor’s degree. At Bay Path, 34.6% percent of traditional undergraduate students are the first in their families to attend college.
College Readiness Bootcamp will be offered again, with a new cohort of SICS students scheduled to attend in the spring semester.