Michigan's College Access Blog

2018 CARDINAL AWARD RECIPIENT: North Branch High School

These award recipients boost the college access activity in communities on the ground level helps drive the state toward the Big Goal – 60 percent by 2025. They also promote campaigns that urge students, parents, school staff and citizens to take direct action helps to create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. The recipient of this award is an individual or organization that has advanced the college-going culture through significant investment in statewide campaigns. 

1. College and credentials can be life-changing to people across the state, why do you believe that is true in your community?

North Branch is located in Lapeer County, where the current degree achievement rate is only 29.5%. As we strive to increase the achievement rate in the North Branch community, we also believe it will increase the economic status of our community and have an overall positive impact on our county.

2. As a college access champion, how will you continue to work toward promoting college access in your community?

We will continue to have a strong relationship with the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) as we work to achieve our common goal of 60% obtainment by 2025. The next few years will be vital and we understand that those in our current and upcoming graduating classes are extremely vital in achieving this goal. Our Post-Secondary Advisory Council (PAC) has already begun working on ideas for next school year to further promote our college-going culture at the high school and expansion to lower grade levels.

3. Your hard work and commitment are helping us draw closer to Goal 2025, please describe a challenge you faced in your postsecondary planning process, and how your efforts helped to address it?

The most difficult challenge was getting started and figuring out what would have the strongest impact in a short amount of time. We opened our PAC membership to everyone and in effect formed a strong group of individuals who believe in the work and are extremely excited about it. We also have the support of our administration and Board of Education, which we continuously update on our progress, ideas, and implementation.

North Branch was extremely fortunate to receive a Reach Higher grant and then the following year to have the privilege of including an AdviseMI Adviser.  The support of MCAN has been extremely vital in the acceleration of promoting the college-going culture in our district.

Author: Amy Hyrman
Posted: February 5, 2019 


Michigan's Student Veteran and Military Student Educators

The Consortium of Michigan Veteran Educators (CMVE) formed as a grassroots effort in early 2012 to help share best practices, support and information between Michigan’s 43 public colleges and universities concerning military-connected students and their families.  It remains the core mission of CMVE today. The Michigan College Access Network is a proud sponsor of CMVE.

Philip Larson is Program Director of Veteran and Military Services at the University of Michigan and serves as the Associate Director, of the Office of New Student Programs of CMVE.

Unlike counterparts in other states, CMVE is member supported and member lead.  We are independent from the State of Michigan although we work closely with the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA).  This independence allows us to be flexible addressing questions and helping our member institutions serve their students.  Our other valuable partners include Michigan Community College Association (MCCA), Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), and the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).  This partnering with relevant resources inside the state, along with leveraging the talent found in our own universities and colleges, is what has enabled CMVE to thrive.  Examples of our collaboration include collaboration on webinar presentations, national conference presentations, the Multistate Collaborative on Military Credit and collaborating with Quicken loans to host the first state-wide conference with Michigan Student Veterans of America chapters.

From 2015 to 2018, CMVE has been a recipient of a generous Kresge Foundation grant, which fully funded our operational, collaboration and event budgets.  This year, we will start to rely upon our membership with annual dues starting July 1 and conference fees to offset costs.  While we cannot offer all of the benefits that came with generous grant funding, we are committed to offering events, best practices and knowledge sharing that our membership has come to rely on.  We will continue to host an annual conference, something not found anywhere else in our region.

Our mission going forward is to continue to support our four-year universities and colleges, our community colleges and two-year schools and to collaborate with non-profit institutions within our great State.  We are planning a few webinars and two statewide conferences for 2019, where we will share ideas, new resources and best practices for our members.  We want to ensure that military-connected students who are residents of Michigan or who are coming from out-of-state receive the best education possible and that their military service is recognized and rewarded.

CMVE is looking forward to this year of change.  We will count on our membership for support, for their time and for their knowledge in helping to serve veterans, National Guard and reservists, active duty military and all military families as they transition into higher education.

Author: Philip Larson, Chairperson, Board of Directors, CMVE
Posted: Jan. 29, 2019

Abandoning the term “At-Risk” for “At-Promise”: Turning the Meaning into Action.

Beverly Brown holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Oakland University, a Master’s in Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Western Michigan University.  A native of Detroit, she now lives in Flint and currently works in Lansing as the Early Middle College Manager for the Michigan Department of Education.

I recently did a Google search for the terms “at risk” combined with “at promise.”  In less than a second, the search engine identified 172,000,000 results. One article written in 2006 (Whiting, Vanderbilt University) asserted that the term “at-promise” conveyed a scholarly identity early on in a student’s educational journey. Another article published in The Washington Post (Mathews, 2009) suggested that the term “at promise” was merely “feel good language” that had no real meaning. In 2012, Ferris State University (Fulmer & Wildfong) offered a deeper understanding of the term. They suggested that the phrase focused on one’s natural gifts and potential for good.

While scholars continue to write about the pros and cons of the term “at-promise,” I want to point to a school here in Michigan that has not only given meaning to the term, but they also put it into action every day. I have closely observed the founder, leaders, and teachers at Mott Middle College in Flint for the past five years. Since 1991, they have intentionally welcomed students who are labeled what dominate society refers to as “at-risk.”  From the very beginning, they adopted and embraced the following motto: A fresh start toward a successful future.  In so doing, they applied a strategic formula, including robust wrap-around services, to transform students into young scholars.  These young people, many of whom are economically disadvantaged and African American, walk away knowing that they are “at-promise.”

The founder and former principal of Mott Middle College, Dr. Chery Wagonlander, created a purposeful culture of academic confidence among students. The first step, however, was to create a scholarly culture among teachers. In other words, scholars cultivating scholars became the theory that she put into action. What Dr. Wagonlander did more than two decades ago, was to enact what Carol S. Dweck wrote about in her 2006 book, Mindset. Both women challenged the traditional narrative of “at-risk” by declaring that all human beings can develop purposeful, positive academic, technical and social outcomes—no matter what background, age or race.

This “at-promise” framework has yielded an average GPA of 3.0 for its 13th year and dual enrollment graduates, many of whom earn more than one Associate Degree upon exiting Mott Middle College. The Early Middle College movement in Michigan is predicated on this “at-promise” philosophy. It is a particularly relevant framework for those students who are regarded as economically disadvantaged, underserved, underperforming and underrepresented. First generation college students also benefit greatly from the “at-promise” mantra at Early Middle Colleges across the state.

To learn more about becoming a state-approved Early Middle College, register your team of teachers, counselors, administrators, pupil accounting clerks and postsecondary partners for the Feb. 22, 2019 Getting Started Workshop at Mott Community College in Flint at the following link before February 8: Early Middle College Getting Started Workshop.

Author: Beverly Brown Ph.D., Early Middle College Manager, Michigan Department of Education.
Posted: January 22, 2019


The Journal of College Access – A Resource for High School Counselors, College Access Practitioners, Counselor Educators, and Researchers

Since the publication of its inaugural issue in 2015, the Journal of College Access (JCA) has published 28 articles: 10 articles describing original research; 6 ‘perspective’ articles written by and/or about influential people, organizations, and access-related issues; 4 literature review articles; 3 book reviews; 3 research report critiques; 1 resource highlight article; and finally 1 best practices article.  The Journal really does have something for everyone involved in college access work – from those on the ‘front lines’ in high schools and community organizations to researchers investigating access-related issues and the counselor educators preparing the next generation of school counselors – and everyone is invited to contribute to JCA.

What, specifically, might you find in JCA?  You’ll find research reports describing investigations into areas such as Latinx college-going, pre-college summer programming, and the effect of Naviance on college application rates.  You’ll find a special mini issue of JCA dedicated to the Obama’s influence on the college access landscape with perspectives from The White House, The Kresge Foundation, and the Secretary of Education.  You’ll find literature reviews describing college access for students with intellectual disabilities and 10 years of school counseling intervention research.  You’ll find recommendations for engaging homeless, justice-involved, and immigrant students.  You’ll find all of this, and much more! 

For people interested in reading the peer-reviewed literature related to college access, JCA is somewhat unique as it is open-access – anyone can go to JCA’s website to access it, without needing to go through a university library or have a subscription.  This makes it a great place for ‘end users’ to get peer-reviewed information, and for researchers to publish their work all articles are also indexed in ERIC. 

As hinted at above, researchers are not the only people who can submit articles – JCA welcomes submissions from anyone who has an idea they would like to share.  Have a program you developed you’d like to share?  You can do this as a Best Practices submission.  Read a book related to college access?  Submit your thoughts in a Book Review submission.  Read a thought-provoking research report?  Submit your thoughts as a Research Report Critique.  Write a literature review for a class that you think might be worth sharing?  Submit it as a literature review.  You’ll find examples of each of these areas already published in JCA – we hope you will not only ready JCA, but contribute!

Dr. Tim Poynton is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and serves as an Editorial Board member for the Journal of College Access.  Sophie Schuler is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Author: Dr. Tim Poynton, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
Posted: Jan. 15, 2019





Author: Sophie Schuyler, Doctoral Student, University of Massachusetts Boston
Posted: Jan. 15, 2019


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