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Honoring a New Approach to Postsecondary Transition

It can be overwhelming for high school students to sort through all the choices to pursue after graduation &mdash and decide on what classes to take to prepare for the next step.

Today, a new transition team approach pioneered by Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, is being recognized as an Outstanding Change Agent by the Maryland State Department of Education. The honor is one of several being given in Baltimore at the 2010 Career and Technology Education Awards of Excellence.

Schools need this kind of extra support that AACC provides, as students face an array of options in postsecondary education. Without adequate advice to make sure classes align with college requirements, students can wind up spending the first year of college taking remedial sources and wasting money.

Of course, there are guidance counselors, &mdash but many are spread thin. So AACC had the idea of adding a new staff person: the transition advisor. In 2004, the college deployed its first transition advisor in a local public high school and now they have four on their Transition Advisor Team. Advisors meet with students, parents, teachers and administrators at the schools. Their focus is on exploring ways to earn college credit while in high school, strategies for reducing remediation and understanding college expectations.

The goal is to transition high school students successfully into next steps &mdash whether it be a four-year school, community college or job training. This is a unique approach created at AACC, says Kathleen Beauman, director of business education partnerships at the college. "This strategy has been as highly effective in demystifying higher education, reaching young people about the variety of options and opportunities, and helping them prepare for higher education," says Beauman.

AACC has also developed a Program Pathways initiative that works with high school students to help choose the best courses to match their career goals and earn college credit.

The Maryland Department of Education outstanding career and technology education awards at the high school and community college levels are judged in program description, learner outcomes, program outcomes and integration with systemic reform.

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