“College planning should start before high school,” said Fullen, highlighting that I Know I Can now begins working with students and families in the 6th grade. “We were advising students in eleventh and twelfth grades and recognized that we needed more time with them to prepare for college.”
Blueprint: College, launched in 2009, is one way that I Know I Can is making an effort to reach Columbus City Schools students and their families earlier.
Blueprint: College is a series of workshops where I Know I Can and local higher education expects provide key college readiness and financial literacy information for middle school students and their parents. How to prepare for, enroll, finance and thrive in college are key areas that I Know I Can works to address with Columbus City Schools students and their families.
In an effort to remove potential attendance barriers, I Know I Can provides dinner, free transportation, and free child care for all Blueprint: College attendees.
Blueprint: College attendees are becoming more aware of educational options. Recent program evaluations show after attending Blueprint: College, 96 percent of all parents report understanding the academic and financial preparation needed for their students to be college ready. Taking action with their college blueprint as a guide, Blueprint: College families increase the frequency of college conversations in the home as well as their involvement in their student’s education.
To date, Covelli Enterprises has provided dinner to more than 2,500 students and their parents who attend Blueprint:College workshops. The complementary dinner is served one hour before the official Blueprint:College program begins. During that time current college students who are often Columbus City Schools graduates sit with families answering questions about their own personal college journey.
To assist with the capacity of facilitating Blueprint:College, Panera provides staffers to attend workshops and serve dinner.
“The support from Panera and its staff is beyond wonderful,” Fullen said. Panera brings more than just their great food for Blueprint:College families, they bring a smile and enthusiasm for the program that shines through in all they do.”
For more information, visit: www.iknowican.org