For any student, the passage from high school to college can be challenging. Too often, for first-generation and multilingual learners the adjustment can be even more difficult. A multidisciplinary team from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester wants to ease the transition to higher education for secondary students in our communities.
With generous support from the UNH Office of Community, Equity and Diversity and the UNH Inclusion Council, last summer the UNH Manchester group offered the Educators Partnering for Successful Student Transitions workshop. The free, online professional development opportunity is geared toward high school English Language Arts educators, English learner teachers and school library media specialists. The project was one of four winners chosen from a Dive In and Deliver (D2) funding challenge launched in 2019 by the Inclusion Council. UNH Manchester team members include library and English Department faculty, as well as staff from the Center for Academic Enrichment.
“We were thrilled to be selected,” said project lead and Library Director Carolyn Gamtso. “UNH Manchester’s diverse student population creates a rich and dynamic learning environment at the college. The entire D2 team is excited to work with high school educators around the state to create more opportunities for students to pursue their college dreams.”
One of the project’s goals was to collaborate with high school educators to provide ongoing support for secondary students as they transition to college.
As part of this goal, the D2 team shared resources and facilitated discussions on bridging the gap between high school and college-level writing and information literacy expectations. The workshop also focused on learning and self-advocacy skills to support students as they become more independent learners.
Participants say the communication among educators during the workshop was both engaging and impactful.
“I really appreciated the collaboration piece between teachers in high school and those in higher education. Having their insight was very valuable and making this connection was a new and incredibly helpful experience,” said one enthusiastic workshop participant.
Others echoed this sentiment, and many came away with ideas on how to develop more cooperation in their own schools.
Thanks to additional funding from UNH Manchester Dean Mike Decelle '81, the D2 team will invite participants from the workshop to engage in an ongoing Community of Practice group throughout the academic year. The D2 team also plans to offer this workshop annually, extending it to high school educators in all content areas.
For more information about the workshop and the community of practice, please contact Carolyn Gamtso at Carolyn.Gamtso@unh.edu.