Transitioning into high school is one of the most pivotal moments in a student’s education. Studies show success in ninth grade can predict the likelihood of a student graduating from high school.
To support students in Multnomah County, where the on-time graduation rate is just 64.7%, Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) partnered again this summer with Ninth Grade Counts, a collaborative of the All Hands Raised Partnership focused on the crucial summer transition, ninth grade. More than 20 nonprofits and schools districts, including ORCC, come together as a part of this effort.
For the past five years, ORCC’s Summer VISTA program has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service and Ninth Grade Counts to create a sustainable, positive impact. In 2012, a study by the Northwest Evaluation Association found that participants in Ninth Grade Counts stayed on track through ninth grade at higher rates and had better school attendance than non-participants. Partners believe these successes will contribute to increases in Multnomah County’s high school graduation rate.
The program also made an impact on the college students who were selected to serve as Summer VISTAs. Recruited from ORCC’s membership of colleges and universities, students deepened their understanding of pressing needs and gained hands on experience transforming the community. In addition, they discovered their values and passions and earned a living stipend and AmeriCorps education award to help pay for school.
"Working with [Ninth Grade Counts] has really impacted me a lot. It has actually made me rethink what I want to major in, in college,” explained one Summer VISTA. “Working with these kids and seeing the type of impact and change that I can make in their lives is an awesome feeling. It makes me feel as though I am really doing something in the community and in my life."
The Summer VISTA program leverages smart, young people with fresh ideas to serve the community. ORCC is motivated to foster the next generation of thoughtful, educated, committed leaders and to prepare them to solve Multnomah County and Oregon’s most complex problems. ORCC supports this vision by connecting students to their communities and by deepening their understanding of critical issues so they're prepared to lead as future decision makers and mentors.
To learn more about ORCC and how to become an ORCC campus member, contact Josh Todd, ORCC Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.406.3570.
To learn more about Ninth Grade Counts or the All Hands Raised Partnership, contact Jeanie-Marie Price, Vice President of Communication at All Hands Raised, email@example.com or 503.234.5404.
For the fifth summer, ORCC is hosting 34 AmeriCorps Summer VISTAs to serve Multnomah County school districts and community organizations. VISTAs will support educational summer programs that ease ninth graders’ transitions into high school.
The Summer VISTAs were recruited from ORCC member colleges and universities to provide students with meaningful summer work and to engage them with their community. “Serving as an AmeriCorps member is a great opportunity to gain professional experience and to help decrease educational inequality in my community,” said Monica.
ORCC’s Summer VISTA program leverages smart, young people with fresh ideas to serve the community. One benefit to this approach is that we connect college students and recent grads with rising ninth graders to talk about college—what it’s like, why it’s important, and how to access financial resources. Since our Summer VISTAs are often closer in age to ninth graders than teachers and parents, they’re able connect with the students in a unique way to prepare them for high school and beyond.
ORCC is proud to have recruited talented Summer VISTAs from its statewide membership of colleges and universities. We’re motivated to foster the next generation of thoughtful, educated, committed leaders and to prepare them to solve Multnomah County and Oregon’s most complex problems. We support this vision by connecting students and young professionals to their communities and by deepening their understanding of social justice issues so they're prepared to lead as engaged, global citizens.
The Summer VISTA program is a partnership with All Hands Raised (formally the Portland Schools Foundation), the Corporation for National and Community Service and ORCC. Through this program, the partnership addresses low high school completion in Multnomah County, Oregon where just 64.7% of students graduate high school on time.
Recruiting potential Summer VISTA candidates from ORCC member campuses is just one benefit of being an ORCC member. Not a member? Learn more about becoming a member by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Students Find Professional Experience and Confidence Through Summer Positions Impacting Multnomah County
(Portland, Oregon- August 28, 2012) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the summer unemployment rate for those ages 16-24 was 17.1%, more than double the national unemployment rate of 8.3%. To help fight youth unemployment, Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) recruited students from its statewide membership of colleges and universities to serve as AmeriCorps Summer VISTA members. These positions offered college students the opportunity to build their resume, strengthen leadership skills, and impact the community while earning a living stipend and AmeriCorps education award.
For over eight weeks, 38 Summer VISTAs served more than 13,500 hours with Ninth Grade Counts, a collaborative of the All Hands Raised Cradle to Career Partnership. Ninth Grade Counts provides a network of summer enrichment programs to academic priority rising ninth graders throughout Multnomah County. Summer VISTAs supported these programs by preparing students for success in high school and beyond. Throughout the summer, they recruited students, created classroom curriculum, provided direct academic support, and facilitated college and career tours.
"I can't think of any way I would rather have spent my summer. I thoroughly enjoyed our David Douglas Ninth Grade Counts students,” said one Summer VISTA. “I worked with a superbly competent, collegial, totally receptive, and supportive teaching and administrative staff, and best of all, I loved contributing to an effective program to help students in my community enter high school with greater confidence and likelihood to succeed."
Summer VISTAs finished their positions last week, but gained skills and experiences that will benefit them throughout their academic and professional careers. After serving, 95% of the VISTAs surveyed expressed interest in a future position where they impact social or economic inequity and 95% indicated increased ability to solve problems, take initiative, and work with diverse populations. Reflecting on the experience, one Summer VISTA said, “This summer, I worked with a great team, put in more effort, and gained more experience and confidence than I have at any other job in the past.”
This was the fourth year of the Summer VISTA program, a partnership between All Hands Raised (formerly the Portland Schools Foundation), the Corporation for National and Community Service, and ORCC.
Research shows that the program has had a clear, positive effect on high school credit attainment (Student Data Report, 2011). In 2009, rising ninth graders who participated in the program accumulated more high school credits than nonparticipants. Next year, the first cohort of Ninth Grade Counts summer program students will graduate from high school. Partners involved believe it will demonstrate sustained positive impact and will contribute to increases in Multnomah County’s high school graduation rate.
ORCC is proud to have offered this opportunity to students in its statewide membership of colleges and universities. Motivated by the belief that students have the power to change the world, ORCC activates higher education toward student participation in civic life. As the only statewide organization working with private, public, four-year, and two-year institutions, ORCC embraces its unique position to strengthen Oregon’s narrative of service and leadership.
To learn more about ORCC, the Summer VISTA Program, and how to become an ORCC member, contact McKenzie Miller, Communications Coordinator at email@example.com or 503.406.3572.
To learn more about Ninth Grade Counts or the All Hands Raised Cradle to Career partnership, contact Jeanie-Marie Price, Vice President of Communication at All Hands Raised, Jeaniefirstname.lastname@example.org or 503.234.5404.