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PrepTalk Newsletter to Provide Students and Parents with College Preparation Advice

March 1, 2001
PrepTalk, an informative and colorful newsletter providing advice on college preparation for students and parents, is being distributed this week to every high school and middle school student in the school system.

The first edition was unveiled by superintendent Jerry D. Weast and Montgomery College president Charlene R. Nunley in a joint press conference on February 28 at Richard Montgomery High School.

The publication includes practical tips on study skills and test preparation, as well as a college planning guidelines and information about financial aid.

Copies of the newsletter will be mailed to families of 10th grade students and will be available to secondary school students and staff through their schools. Additional copies of PrepTalk are available by calling the Department of Communications at 301-279-3391.

PrepTalk is an outreach initiative that is part of the growing academic partnership between Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College to help prepare high school students for success at the college level.

The MC-MCPS Partnership, created in 1996, was forged in response to the needs identified by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Maryland Student Outcomes and Achievement Report (SOAR). The annual SOAR report shows that many graduates of Maryland's public schools are in need of developmental courses in college before being able to move on to full college-level work. The partnership addresses students' need for support and acceleration through a variety of initiatives:

Supports for Student Success

Ongoing identification and monitoring of students' readiness for college-level studies. These efforts include the Criterion Referenced Test (CRT) scores and Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) performance.

Literacy programs implemented by teachers, under the tutelage of literacy specialists at each high school. These services are offered to students whose assessment scores and teacher referrals indicate that, with intervention, these students will make viable candidates for success in college.

Professional development

Jointly developed in-service courses for MCPS secondary teachers on how to infuse strategy instruction into course delivery.

Workshops, mentoring, monitoring, networking and ongoing training of literacy teachers to help them become change agents and effectively lead the institutionalization of strategic and performance-based instruction in all content areas.

Alignment of school and college coursework, and expectations to support a seamless transition for students from high school to post-secondary study.

Parent and Community Involvement

Meetings designed to communicate information to enhance parent understanding and ability to support student success.

Parent help sheets/newsletters developed and disseminated to assist parents in giving direct support to their children's literacy development.

Workshops developed to address parents' specific concerns related to improved student performance.

Technical preparation of students for careers identified as critical needs within the community made available to a wider range of students, through collaboration of Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools and local businesses.

Identification of and support to high school students interested in a career in education.

Joint Program Development, Implementation, Evaluation and Coordination

The college involves instructional faculty, counseling faculty, as well as continuing education from all three MC campuses.

MCPS school-based administrative, teaching and counseling staff directly involved in partnership activities, in addition to central office personnel from diverse departments and divisions.

Outreach programs engage the efforts of parents and community members.

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