Blogs

Leahy Center for Rural Students established at Lyndon State College

first_imgSource: Lyndon State. 5.18.2010 When Lyndon State College was accepted as one of five New England schools to participate in the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s Project Compass initiative three years ago, the focus was on increasing the college retention and graduation rates of first-in-family, modest-income students (FFMI). In the midst of these efforts, project leaders discovered that there is very little information about the specific needs of and best practices in serving rural students—a surprising discovery, given that one fifth of the nation’s public school students are enrolled in rural school districts. The college also realized that there are many more students capable of pursuing a post-secondary education than those who do and that the College could best serve these students by coordinating with local PK-12 education providers to create a regional PK-16 network.Towards these ends, thanks to the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy, Lyndon State College is pleased to announce the creation of the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students. President Carol A. Moore announced the creation of the Leahy Center for Rural Students at the College’s 2010 commencement ceremony May 16.The central question to be answered by The Leahy Center for Rural Students is what are the expectations of FFMI students relating to their education and careers and when do those expectations solidify. Many potential FFMI students never see themselves as college graduates or perhaps assume they cannot afford a college education, even when they have the potential to thrive in the college setting. It is well known that a college degree increases the lifetime earning capabilities of an individual many fold, so it is important for these students to understand the options available to them and to support the students and their families as they navigate the unfamiliar territory of pursuing a college education. President Carol A Moore presents a certificate to Marcelle and Senator Patrick Leahy naming the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students at Lyndon State College commencement Sunday, May 16, at the College.The Center for Rural Students began an in-depth longitudinal panel study this past fall under the direction of former Lyndon Prof. Rod Zwick, which will be carried on now by Center Director Heather Bouchey. The study will expand beyond the College to include students attending seven area schools that have been identified as the pilot schools in the creation of a regional PK-16 network. Ultimately, the findings of this study will inform how teachers, parents, schools administrators, business leaders and community members can work together in supporting students towards their full learning and career potential.The initial study will follow students individually and as a group from fifth grade through four years post-high school, to learn what influences a student’s decisions regarding higher education. “It is critical to understand where the college/no college decision is made,” said Zwick. “We need to help students make that decision in an informed way and encourage them to make their own individual education aspirations fit with their own future plans.”While not all careers require a four-year degree, most now need some sort of continuing education or training. While much is known about how urban students make these choices, little is known about rural, FFMI students. The Center for Rural Students will play an important role in changing that reality.On Friday June 18, The Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students will be hosting a Vermont Education Summit at Lyndon State College for educators and community leaders from across the state to discuss how we can work together at the local and state level to help every Vermont student achieve their full potential along the PK-16 spectrum. This conference is being sponsored by AT&T. For more information, contact Heather Bouchey at 802-626-6444 or heather.bouchey@lyndonstate.edu(link sends e-mail).last_img read more