Photo (from left to right) Brent Bogy, MHHS principal; Vanessa Roberts, MHHS/ASUMH college and career coach; Tracy Stephens, MHHS/ASUMH college and career coach; Dr. Jake Long, superintendent of Mountain Home Public Schools; Dr. Robin Myers, chancellor of Arkansas State University-Mountain Home.
Mountain Home High School (MHHS) Career Academies has been named the American College Application (ACAC) Campaign School of Excellence award winner for Arkansas. MHHS was also named and one of the nation’s School of Excellence award winners. ACAC is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential.
Leading the ACAC efforts at Mountain Home High School were College and Career Coaches Tracy Stephens and Vanessa Roberts.
ACAC says the winners from every state and the District of Columbia are a group of exemplary schools across the nation helping students pursue postsecondary success.
ACAC, which is part of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, selected the School of Excellence award recipients based on their demonstrated commitment to student success, serving as an exemplary model for their state’s application campaign and timely submission of data.
Presented in 2020, this is the first year for the ACAC School of Excellence awards, and it is intended to become an annual recognition.
One high school in each state was selected to receive the recognition for its efforts to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree and other higher education opportunities by the Arkansas Department of Education’s Career Coach Program, a part of the Division of Career and Technical Education.
The Arkansas College and Career Coach program is designed to motivate and support Arkansas students and adults to achieve their goals as they relate to college and career planning through intensive hands-on, programs and services.
College and career coaches work with students in the seventh through 12th grade. In the middle and high schools, career coaches work in partnership with the career orientation instructors and school counselors to assist with the development and revision of college and career plans for their students.
The Arkansas Career Coach program provides assistance and information for resources in the areas of academic tutoring, career counseling, college preparation and admission, financial aid guidance, mentoring and other supports necessary for postsecondary education/training access, retention and success. It is a partnership between community colleges and local high schools.
Each year, the campaign works with coordinators in every state and the District of Columbia to host college application events and reach students in their schools and communities, encouraging them to apply to college.
“We work hard to encourage college applications because we know it’s the first step on an important journey,” Director of ACAC Melissa Caperton says. “It is our goal that all students at ACAC events have a plan for education after high school be it a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. We thank everyone who played a role in helping the class of 2020 apply to college, especially our School of Excellence recipients who are leading the way in their communities, their states, and our nation. Together, we must stay strong and continue these efforts in the next school year, no matter what hurdles we face.”
Stephens says she and Roberts were honored by this recognition. “We are grateful to receive this award in honor of Mountain Home Public Schools for the American College Application Campaign for the fall of 2019,” she says. “We are so thankful to be a part of a community that puts an emphasis on working together to help our students be successful. Thank you to all who helped us achieve this and continue to help us in positively influencing every student every time.”
The winning schools were key contributors in helping ACAC reach the following national achievements, as reported by state campaigns on the 2019 annual survey:
– Nearly 7,300 high schools (more than one-fourth of high schools in the U.S.) hosted a College Application Campaign event.
– More than 763,400 seniors (30% more students than in 2018) submitted at least one college application during events.
– More than 1.2 million college applications were submitted during 2019 College Application Campaign events.
Additionally, at least 600 elementary schools, 540 middle schools, and 160 community-based organizations also hosted college application events to learn about the college-going process.
The winning schools received a plaque at the end of 2020, delivered via mail since school-based events were canceled this spring.
Nationally, more than 3.36 million students have been served by ACAC, and 5.38 million applications have been submitted since the campaign began in 2005.
Research has shown that most U.S. colleges admit those who apply to them, discounting fears that students can’t get in.
Many students find the college-going process stressful, overwhelming, or confusing and don’t know how to ask for help. ACAC events help students break down the steps for applying to college and guide them along the way.
About the American College Application Campaign
The American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) is a national initiative designed to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families who pursue a postsecondary degree. The purpose is to assist high school seniors as they navigate the college application and admissions process and ensure each participating student submits at least one admissions application.
The campaign is conducted state by state, and each state determines which week or month is officially designated as the College Application Campaign. Events across the country often take place from September-December.
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