Berkshire Elementary School <<back>>
On December 15, 2006, at the school’s first-ever College Awareness Day, fourth- and fifth-grade students attended a college awareness assembly. In addition, all school faculty and students wore college sweatshirts and t-shirts. A showcase titled “Where Will You Go to College?” showcased memorabilia from faculty members’ college days – including photographs, textbooks, degrees, and mortarboards and tassels.
Following a performance by the Dundalk High Step Squad, representatives from five colleges discussed the college experience. Vicki Whitmore of the Community College of Baltimore County - Dundalk discussed the application process and the parallel enrollment program, which allows high school students to earn college credits. From the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Tricia Angelinitalked with the students about the college’s programs as well as her experience of a semester abroad when attending Loyola College. Dorm life and her experiences as a resident assistant and peer educator were the main topics of remarks from Loyola College representative Chelsea Singer. AlanThompson, representing the Savannah College of Art and Design,shared artwork that he created at school. Finally, Greg Grevey of the University of Delaware talked about sports and other extracurricular activities on college campuses.
Colgate Elementary School <<back>>
Career days at each grade level help students begin making the connection between education and employment. A fifth-grade research project challenges students to identify colleges based on their areas of interest, analyze the costs involved in attending various colleges, write a report about the college they want to attend, and send a letter to that college. In response, many of the colleges send the students banners, brochures, and other paraphernalia which students use to decorate their school lockers.
Principal Connelly hopes to take his fifth graders to the college fair at Dundalk High School so they can see that students in their neighborhood have high levels of responsibility and high aspirations.
Dundalk Elementary School <<back>>
Through a multi-school oral history research project, Dundalk Elementary fifth graders work closely with instructors at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Students have already presented oral histories from their communities at the Dundalk Historical Society and Maryland Historical Society. This year, they will have the opportunity to present their work on the campus of UMBC and to receive instruction from university staff on additional research techniques.
Dundalk, Oliver Beach, and Seneca Elementary Schools <<back>>
Students from all three schools visited the Towson campus on January 17 to attend a gymnastics event and then used the opportunity to take a campus tour. Students ate in the dining hall and visited lecture halls, the library, the Towson Center, and the student union.
As they toured the campus, students asked dozens of questions about big issues, like picking a major area of study, and smaller issues, like what the dining hall serves and if students can bring pets to college.
“Because a number of teachers on the field trip were Towson graduates, the trip also presented a special opportunity for students and teachers to make connections,” says Oliver Beach school counselor McHale. “Teachers could show the students where they lived and which buildings they had taken classes in, and they could talk about how the campus has changed since they graduated. It was an opportunity for students to see the college experience through their teachers’ eyes.”
Throughout the experience, students heard messages about the importance of education. Seneca school counselor Jennifer Goodman notes that “even the guy who emceed the gymnastics show emphasized that the student athletes were also scholars.”
Hawthorne Elementary School <<back>>
On March 8, Dr. Terry Berkeley, a Towson University early childhood education professor, spoke to the Hawthorne PTA about preparing students for college. “We also extended an invitation to parents from Stemmers Run Middle and Kenwood High – our feeder schools – in an effort to further support our community,” says Hawthorne Principal Gerry DePetris. “We also invite parents to join teachers and students on a trip to Towson University's campus each year. This opportunity makes the idea of attending college less intimidating and helps parents and students to see it as a real possibility in their lives.” This year’s trip, in April, will accommodate second, fourth, and fifth graders. The current third graders visited Towson University last year.
In addition, Principal DePetris teaches at Towson University, and Hawthorne is a Professional Development School affiliated with Towson University. Many Towson students intern at Hawthorne. “When our students realize that I teach these interns at the university, and their classroom teachers are supervising and guiding them in their field experiences,” says Principal DePetris, “a real life connection is made, giving value and purpose to working toward a college degree.”
Norwood Elementary School <<back>>
In November 2006, during American Education Week, three Towson University students who intern at Norwood Elementary organized a college pep rally for students. At this event, the Dundalk High Step Squad performed, and members shared their college plans. Next, the Dance Team from Towson University took the stage to perform and to talk about their majors. The interns presented a slideshow about the college experience, addressing topics such as choosing a major and living on campus. Pep rally door prizes included caps and other college merchandise. As a giveaway, all students received an intern-created brochure listing all the colleges in Maryland and how to contact the schools.
“A survey before and after the event showed that the pep rally encouraged a lot of students to think more positively about going to college,” says Norwood Principal Patrice Goldys.
On the same day, the interns presented a parent information meeting, featuring a bank representative to talk about saving for college.
Oliver Beach Elementary School <<back>>
“Our school counselor, Melanie McHale, has made exciting arrangements for Dr. Diana LaPasha, one of our parents and a physiology and anatomy professor on sabbatical from Towson University to serve as ‘College Professor/Scientist in Residence’ for a semester,” announces Oliver Beach Principal Mary Ann Rigopoulos. Dr. LaPasha is the mother of students Alexander C. and Matthew C.
Dr. LaPasha is speaking to Oliver Beach classes about college teaching and college life. She will co-teach lessons with physical education, science, and music teachers. She will assist students to assess that their STEM Fair projects contain all necessary parts of a scientific investigations. She will also present information related to colleges and science careers at the school’s career fair later in the year.
“Dr. LaPasha is a gifted teacher,” says Principal Rigopoulos, “whose love of teaching and love of science is conveyed to our elementary school students whom she inspires. We feel fortunate to be able to benefit from her generous donation of time and knowledge to our students at Oliver Beach Elementary this year.”
Sandalwood Elementary School <<back>>
On April 4, 2007, Sandalwood Elementary School held its first College Awareness Day. College students from Salisbury State University, Howard University, Towson University, University of Baltimore, and the Community College of Baltimore County shared their experiences with Sandalwood’s fifth graders. Sandalwood students had the opportunity to hear about a variety of different majors, dorm life, the application process, and even the quality of the dining hall food!
Sandalwood staff and students displayed their college spirit by sporting their favorite college attire. A map entitled “Where In The World Did My Teacher Go To College?” was created and displayed to show students the different colleges and universities that were attended by their teachers. The students ended the day brimming with excitement and declared that they, too, are college bound! The fifth graders will get a chance to better understand the college experience when they visit the Community College of Baltimore County in Dundalk later in April.
Story by Diana L. Spencer, communications officer.