Teaching and Learning Spotlight Blog

FSSD Partners with Local College to Create Student Awareness

What a privilege to partner with Columbia State Community College (Franklin location) in order to afford the FSSD’s eighth-grade students a preview of the postsecondary opportunities and programs available, quite literally, in our own backyard. On March 6 and 7, all Freedom Middle and Poplar Grove Middle eighth-graders – accompanied by teachers, school administrators, and FSSD Teaching and Learning team members – were immersed in the authentic community college experience for several hours.  All were welcomed by the university president and then traversed the still-expanding and evolving campus, expertly guided by CSCC faculty and staff.

One of four strategies under the college and career readiness goal of the FSSD Strategic Plan (REACH 2024) involves middle school students’ exposure to higher education, with the expected outcomes of “strengthen(ing) student preparation for high school transition, community college, four-year university, and/or career.”  The CSCC field trip addressed all of these plan components.  Students acquired crucial information regarding the requirements and expectations around attendance at a community college, the option to potentially transfer to a four-year university after two years at CSCC, and the numerous direct ties to the workforce (high-demand, well-paying jobs with advancement opportunities) that can be accessed through the programs at Columbia State.

Small groups of students and chaperones progressed through several stations, each of which featured a specific, realistic instructional setting and course of study. It was evident that the possibilities – for both academic and technical certification pathways - are truly astounding, in the very best of ways! Our pupils garnered invaluable hands-on experience with filmmaking camera operation in the film crew technology department.  They intubated an ailing patient (using a specially-designed mannequin) while attending the presentation on the new anesthesia technology courses. The nursing lab director introduced each rotation to the real-world-like environment in which the principles of health care are imparted. Key aspects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, physics, and education degrees were explored as well.

Additionally, CSCC staff shared practical and holistic information, providing our students with a clearer view of the big picture of community college. CSCC students can ride Franklin Transit vehicles to and from campus, if they live on an established route, at no cost. Further, though Columbia State is a commuter college by design, CSCC endeavors to offer a “college feel” and connectedness regardless.  Various clubs and organizations are available for those who wish to participate, and the university is continuously adding to its menu of social and networking events, empowering students to connect on various levels and build relationships with their peers and CSCC educators.

REACH 2024 states, in part, that “by 2024, students will be able to match their strengths and interests to prepare them for college and career.” The CSCC tour is not only an integral part of the strategic plan but also of the FSSD’s vision of “Excellence in Teaching and Learning for All.”