Project U-Turn, Philadelphia's response to the City's dropout crisis, exists as a multi-system, multi-stakeholder campaign organized around four core areas of work: stakeholder organizing; policy barrier removal and funding identification; data and research; and diversification and expansion of quality educational options. The latter focus includes the development of programs and services that strategically and effectively address persistent systemic needs and service gaps. Presently, the need that Project U-Turn is tackling involves enhancing the academic and social readiness of students graduating from the Accelerated High Schools and transitioning to postsecondary education.
During the summer 2015 semester, Community College of Philadelphia's Division of Adult and Community Education will provide an educational opportunity for up to 100 students across the city's portfolio of Accelerated High School programs that will provide access to higher education and the opportunity to earn college credits while completing high school. This early exposure to college(or dual enrollment) approach contains components outlined in Job For the Future's (JFF) 2009 publication entitled Innovations in College Readiness. This model has proven successful at decreasing student dropout rates, increasing student success in enrolling into and completing college, reducing the amount of time and resources spent in developmental/remedial courses, and instituting new approaches to incentivizing students through the early offering of free college courses to high school students.
This intensive five-week summer program will give participants the opportunity to take up to two college courses each, at no expense to them. Program participants will have the opportunity to select from a variety of exciting, 21st century academic and technical skill building courses that will be offered on the Main Campus of Community College of Philadelphia. The courses will be taught by seasoned college faculty, and the students will have a chance to earn college credit, meet other students from diverse backgrounds, and explore their career interests.