CALIFORNIA SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION TO HONOR ROWLAND UNIFIED WITH GOLDEN BELL AWARD FOR COLLEGE CONNECT PROGRAM
ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA – OCTOBER 26, 2022 – Rowland Unified School District (RUSD) Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell announced that the District’s College Connect program is being recognized by the California School Board Association (CSBA) with a Golden Bell. The CSBA Golden Bell Awards promotes excellence in education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs in school districts throughout California. RUSD’s College Connect Program is being honored for its focus on Equity and Access. The District will be honored on December 1 at the 2022 CSBA State Conference in San Diego. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO ABOUT COLLEGE CONNECT.
“This award represents the innovation and dedication by our staff to remove the barriers for students and families from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain access to colleges and universities, including the nation’s most prestigious schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Mitchell. “Our Board of Education wholeheartedly and unanimously supports the work and direction of College Connect and we are thrilled that it has changed the lives for so many of our students.”
College Connect was formed to make access to a four year university a reality for at-risk students. Nearly 75% of Rowland Unified students qualify for free or reduced lunch along with one in four being identified as English Language Learners.
“It was clear there was a need and it was crucial to break the cycles of poverty by providing access and knowledge of how to apply to college for our students,” said Miriam Kim, Director of Outreach and Community Relations and the co-creator of the program along with Ricardo Ramirez, RUSD College Liaison. They believe the power of the program is a dedicated team with the desire to help students navigate the college process. Time is spent helping guide students with individual and group sessions that cover financial aid applications, researching colleges, learning how to write a college essay, and extensive help with the application requirements and deadlines.
“Each student that has participated in College Connect was accepted into several colleges of their choice. In the three years of existence, more than 120 students have been accepted to and are now attending one of their first choice schools, “ said Ramirez. “First generation, minority students who did not have knowledge of how to apply to college now have a resource to turn to to make their dreams come true. Students who are homeless, live in garages and motels have a program that is ready to help them and reassure them they are capable and have a right to attend college should they choose to do so,” said Kim.
The Rowland Unified School District has garnered numerous state and national awards and is proud of its 20 schools that serve the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry, and West Covina. More than 5,000 adults (18+) are also served by the Rowland Adult and Community Education School. For more information about Rowland Unified, the community can call (626) 965-2541 follow Rowland schools on Twitter @RowlandSchools #WeAreRUSD, Facebook.com/RowlandUSD Twitter, or visit www.RowlandSchools.org.
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