News

FCC and FCPS Faculty Collaborate to Promote College Readiness

05/19/2014

A grant-funded partnership between Frederick Community College and Frederick County Public Schools is bringing together faculty from both organizations who share a common interest in reading and writing courses that serve one of Frederick County’s most vulnerable student populations – those identified as “not college ready” on high school exit tests.

The partnership, funded by a Frederick Community College Foundation, Inc., BB&T Innovation Grant, unites FCC and FCPS English faculty who are working as a committee to identify literacy needs of students deemed “not college ready.” They are also identifying ways to increase higher educational opportunities for students who are least likely to be successful in reading/writing at the high school and college level.

“Our job is to brainstorm ways we can broaden college success for all,” said Natalie Rebetsky, committee co-chair and English Department chairperson at Linganore High School.

The FCC/FCPS committee includes Joe Healey, committee co-chair and associate professor of English/program manager for developmental reading and writing at FCC; Rebetsky; Anne Hofmann Regules, assistant professor of English Composition at FCC; Shemica Johnson, assistant professor of reading at FCC; and Darlene Kerr, special education teacher at Oakdale Elementary School. Members are studying course content of a current twelfth grade course titled “Studies in Composition,” which is designed to mirror content of AP Studies and English 101 but with greater instructional scaffolding and slower pacing of content delivery.

Eleventh grade students who are not ready for the AP level take “Studies in Composition,” a twelfth grade course intended to help them transition more effectively to college-level reading and writing courses.

The partnership relates directly to Section 8 of the College Readiness and Completion Act of 2013, which requires Maryland’s public colleges and universities to develop pathways to a degree. First-time, degree seeking students must “include credit-bearing mathematics and English courses in the first 24 credit hours,” according to the new legislation.

“Our focus is discipline specific, and we are ahead of the curve,” said Healey. “We are collaborating now in order to make informed decisions, while also identifying and sharing best practices for student success in writing and reading before the state mandate takes effect in 2016.” 

The ultimate goal of the FCC/FCPS committee’s work is to reduce the number of students who enter FCC in need of developmental reading and writing courses, which could both decrease students’ costs and their progress toward degrees.

FCC developmental reading and writing courses are not credit bearing and students required to enroll in them can lengthen their progress toward a degree, particularly when students are taking multiple developmental courses or are required to repeat courses.
 “Ultimately, students successful in transition courses will come out of high school ready to enroll in college-level courses,” Healey said. 

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For more information contact Joe Healey at jhealey@frederick.edu and Natalie Rebetsky at nrebetsky@frederick.edu.