Bridging the Gap Between High School & College: Part 1

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This series of blogs will summarize and highlight important portions of our recent white paper, The New York City DOE/CUNY Library Collaborative: Bridging the Gap Between High School and College, which you can view here.

The white paper presents the progression and processes of the New York Collaborative Curriculum Revision Project (CCRP), a collaborative of high school teachers, college faculty, and librarians formed to build upon the new Common Core State Standards and better prepare students for postsecondary success. The posts will include sections quoted from the white paper as well as our own editorial.

Part 1: Background and Introducing the Collaborative

Grad-Puzzle-1278x1280High School educators have always faced a difficult task: they must keep students engaged and working hard to graduate, while equipping them with the skills they will need to succeed in college and in their careers. Dropout rates must be improved, and at the same time students must be equipped with the skills they will need to analyze and evaluate information, explore ideas, draw logical conclusions, and much more.

In 2009, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) took a significant step toward ensuring students graduate from high school equipped to take on the challenges of academic and career pathways. The NGA and CCSSO introduced the Common Core State Standards to strengthen foundational literacies that are the key to high school graduation and success beyond high school.


“For years, the academic progress of our nation’s students has been stagnant, and we have lost ground to our international peers. Common Core State Standards were developed to provide clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life. But while the Common Core is informed by the highest, most effective standards from states across the United States and countries around the world, they do not define how the standards should be taught or which materials should be used to support students.” As such, they require translation and application that educators must now define.


At this juncture, communities of educators – high school teachers, college faculty, and librarians – have an imperative to create pathways for students’ achievement of the new Common Core State Standards. The logical question from educators is what types of instruction help students develop the skills needed to close the gap between high school and college? And how does this educational community create pathways to the achievement of those core standards?

The Opportunity

NYC Department of Education (DOE) is the largest public school system in the U.S. With 1.1 million students, every possible opportunity and challenge is represented. The City University of New York (CUNY) sees 75% of its incoming freshmen come from New York’s high schools. The two institutions understand that by working together, they can better help students build the skills they will need to succeed in college.

The New York City high school graduation rate has improved in recent years, but many graduates are not immediately ready for college. In the fall of 2012, 56% of first-time freshman from New York high schools needed remedial coursework, including 79.3% of those students who entered CUNY. The scale of the problem is brought into focus by the fact that the two institutions serve more than 1.3 million students and employ more than 100,000 people.

To take on the challenge and the opportunity, The Department of Education (DOE) and the City University of New York (CUNY) formed the DOE/CUNY Library Collaborative to launch a Collaborative Curriculum Revision Project (CCRP) of high school teachers, college faculty, and librarians invested in bridging the gap between high school and college. The CCRP model works to bring these experts together for community-building conversations that build upon the new Common Core State Standards to revise high school curricular units of study.

To achieve their overarching goals, the DOE/CUNY Library Collaborative launched a series of curriculum revision workshops and created communities of practice among high school librarians, college librarians, high school teachers and college faculty. These workshops evolved into the CCRP, which demonstrated that librarians should play a central role in connecting institutions and developing a library-centered model of educational reform. Learn more about the CCRP next week in Part 2.



About the AuthorGeoff Schwartz

Geoff is a Renaissance man, who can often be found reading about obscure historical topics, working on cars, or debating world affairs. He comes from a family of teachers and has a BA in communications.


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