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Escuela Avancemos, Wayne State partnership advances college readiness for young students
Approximately 100 kindergarteners, their teachers and parents visited Wayne State University earlier this month in an effort to promote college readiness and a college-going culture among the families enrolled in Escuela Avancemos, a new bilingual charter school in Southwest Detroit.
The kid-sized campus tour, a collaboration between Escuela Avancemos, the WSU Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies and the WSU College of Education’s Bilingual/Bicultural Education program, featured a visit to the university’s Planetarium and Natural History Museum.
“Walking across campus with the children and witnessing their excitement was truly energizing,” says Tamara Serrano Chandler, coordinator of the College to Career (C2C) Program at the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. “Sharing some of our campus treasures with these little ones shows how fun learning can be and how their hard work in school can pay off when they are older.”
Assistant Professor of Bilingual/Bicultural Education Sandra Gonzales agrees. “It’s never too young to start preparing for college,” she says. “We want young children and families to have repeated, positive contact with the university so that they know the people, places and spaces that are here to support them. Likewise, it is important for the university to reach out to families earlier in their children’s lives, so we can provide consistent support and establish the kind of reciprocal relationships that build strong and healthy communities for all.”
While on campus, the children were also treated to an original bilingual one-act play, entitled “Dora, Diego and Boots go to College,” which was written and performed by numerous students from the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. While the kindergarteners were enjoying the skit and an afternoon snack, their parents were given a presentation on college preparedness led by WSU admissions counselor Vanessa Reynolds.
“Seeing their faces and hearing them say, ‘I love college,’ just makes me feel so excited,” says kindergarten teacher Stephanie Yassine, who also played a major role in the collaboration. “I’m glad that their first introduction to college is to all of the fun things WSU has to offer. College isn’t just studying. It can be a lot fun.”