Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 22, 2013

Howard Co. promotes college success

Indiana commissioner for higher education says work is far from over.

(Continued)

Scholars will soon be required to maintain a higher high school GPA – a 2.5 instead of 2.0 – and get workplace experience, apply to college and go on a college visit before they graduate.

They will receive help from mentors along the way.

“We can then extrapolate what we learn to other student populations,” she said.

Amy Parraga, a 21st Century Scholars support site coordinator for the area, said she will call on the Howard County College and Career Success Coalition to help students maintain the new standards.

They’re going to be tough for this population, she said. But the standards are necessary. They’re tied directly to college success, she said.

That’s something these scholars desperately need.

“We’ve put so many kids in college, but they’re not coming out on the other end,” she said.

Several coalition members have stepped up to offer their help and services already. Some have agreed to take groups of kids on college visits.

That will make all the difference, she said. There are about 1,500 21st Century Scholars in Howard County, and she’s the only staff member serving this area. She can’t get to all of the kids on her own.

Even if pastors sit down and talk with students in their youth groups, it will help, she said.

That’s where having a large member base in the coalition helps.

“Their minister now knows what we’re doing,” she said. “We’ve got a better chance of reaching that student’s circle.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com.

TERMS TO KNOW Indiana's Core 40 diploma is the academic foundation all students need to succeed in college, apprenticeship programs, military training and the workforce, according to the Indiana Department of Education. Students have to go through an opt-out process involving parental consent to graduate with the general diploma, the state's most basic diploma. The highest-level diploma type is the academic honors diploma. It requires students to earn additional math, language and fine arts credits and take Advanced Placement or dual credit college courses. The 21st Century Scholars program provides full-tuition college scholarships for economically disadvantaged students in Indiana if those students meet certain requirements in high school.

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