What sets LPS Hayward apart? The culture at LPS Hayward centers on the idea that every student — regardless of race or income — is college material. Dr. Claudia Aguilar leads the college counseling program. Her team creates a college-going culture by systematically removing many of the academic, cultural, and financial barriers that typically hold students back. Her team has identified five keys to success at breaking down those barriers, the fifth is outlined below.
When the vast majority of students at LPS go on to four-year colleges, it is inevitable that students headed to community college often feel a sense of regret. Aguilar emphasizes that schools have to be careful and intentional about how they frame the community college matriculation process.
“We want students to feel celebrated, and not feel disappointed in the community college option,” she says.
Research also shows that these students are far more at risk of dropping out once they start college: for first-time college students of color who enroll in community college, less than 13% end up with a bachelor’s degree within the next six years.
Aguilar addresses these issues by meeting one-on-one with each senior enrolling in community college and asking them three questions: “Do you see yourself transferring to a four-year university? If you had to choose between UCs and CSUs, which would you choose? And what do you want to study?”
Recognizing that the odds are against them, Aguilar believes the more precisely students can answer these questions, the more prepared they’ll be to transition into four-year schools. At the same time these conversations also get students out of a mindset of disappointment around community college, and instead make them focus on looking forward.
In the end, Aguilar believes that schools that are intentional about supporting students to apply to and get into college can create life-changing results for those students. “When you see the schools our students are getting into and the experiences they’re having, that’s not an accident,” she says. “It’s a result of the high expectations and the meticulous case management that we have for all of our students from the time they set foot on our campus as freshmen to the time they walk across the stage at graduation.”