College Prep starts in elementary school
Last updated 5/15/2008 at Noon
FALLBROOK — How many adults can name two or three local colleges? La Paloma Elementary School students can not only name colleges but can tell what it is like to be on a college campus.
The administration and staff of this Fallbrook elementary school have a vision and a hope for the future of their students: college education and success. They also have a twofold plan of action to give life to this goal: bring college to the kids and take the kids to college.
Seven different institutions, such as the University of Oregon and UCSD, send representatives to La Paloma’s Annual College Day Event, introducing the children to the exciting possibilities of postsecondary education.
Igniting a spark of interest and shining a light of opportunity in the minds of the students, the delegates present information about their programs as well as data on financial aide and scholarships.
Students realize that exciting careers are accessible with a college degree and that attending college can be financially feasible.
Later in the school year, each grade takes a class field trip to visit a local college, experiencing the campus environment firsthand. Parents are invited to accompany their children and teachers: visiting classes, meeting collegians, speaking with administrators and having snacks together on site.
This year, fourth-graders visited Palomar College, fifth-graders went to Cal State San Marcos and sixth-graders toured UCSD. Each grade visits a different campus every year, with students exploring three different locations by the time they graduate from elementary school.
The administration and staff believe this exposure to the collegiate environment will provide students with a vision for life after high school as well as a motivation to perform well in their primary and secondary educational pursuits.
Letters to Principal Lea Curcio revealed that watching the college students was the fourth-graders’ favorite part of their visit, while the sixth-graders were awed by UCSD’s spaceship-like library.
Fifth-graders commented that Cal State San Marcos rightly earned the title of “Stairmaster School.” After their visit, the students seemed tired from all of their walking but bright with hope and possibilities for their futures.