Summer programs for high school/programas de verano para escuela secundaria

Now is the time to register high school students for summer programs, including traditional summer camp, academic support programs, prep for college opportunities and much more. Read below for information about specific programs.

To register for high school programs, Victor Montanez at vmontanez@onwardwelearn.org or 401-400-0049.

Ahora es el momento de inscribirse en los programas de verano para estudiantes de preparatoria, que incluyen campamentos de verano tradicionales, programas de apoyo académico, preparación para oportunidades universitarias y mucho más. Lea a continuación para obtener información sobre programas específicos.

Para registrarse para las oportunidades de escuela secundaria (grados 9-12), comuníquese con Victor Montanez enviándole un correo electrónico a vmontanez@onwardwelearn.org o llamando al 401-400-0049.

Grades/grados 9-12

Mystic Aquarium – Marine Bio 101
In this hybrid course students will have the opportunity to explore both the vast variety of species at Mystic Aquarium as well as careers in aquarium science including water quality, life support, exhibit design, marine animal rescue, fish and invertebrate care, and research. Students will interact with aquarium professionals, investigate the animals in their care and engage in work behind the scenes to gain a unique perspective on the careers essential to the success of a world class aquarium. This one-of-a-kind program is the perfect opportunity to test the waters of a career in marine biology. During the weeklong program, students will travel by bus to Mystic Aquarium on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesdays and Thursdays will include shorter virtual experiences with Mystic staff from students’ homes.

Dates:
July 12-16
July 19-23
July 26-30

Mystic Aquarium – Marine Bio 101 (Acuario místico-biología marina)
En este curso híbrido, los estudiantes tendrán la oportunidad de explorar tanto la gran variedad de especies en Mystic Aquarium como carreras en ciencia oceánicas que incluyen calidad del agua, soporte vital, diseño de exhibiciones, rescate de animales marinos, cuidado e investigación de peces e invertebrados. Los estudiantes interactuarán con profesionales de acuarios, investigarán a los animales en su cuidado y trabajarán entre bastidores para obtener una perspectiva única sobre las carreras esenciales para el éxito de un acuario de clase mundial. Este programa, especial en su tipo, es la oportunidad perfecta para una carrera en biología marina. Durante este programa de una semana, los estudiantes viajarán en autobús al Mystic Aquarium los lunes, miércoles y viernes. Los martes y jueves incluirán experiencias virtuales más breves con el personal de Mystic desde los hogares de los estudiantes.

Fechas:
12 al 16 de julio
19 al 23 de julio
26 al 30 de julio

RISD Project Open Door
In this virtual experience, Crusaders explore connections between science, art and photography through image-based assignments and visual explorations inside and outside of the studio environment at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Dates:
July 5-9
July 12-16

RISD Project Open Door (RISD proyecto puertas abiertas)
En esta experiencia virtual, los Crusaders exploran las conexiones entre la ciencia, el arte y la fotografía a través de asignaciones basadas en imágenes y exploraciones visuales dentro y fuera del ambiente del estudio en la universidad Rhode Island School of Design.

Fechas:
5 al 9 de julio
12 al 16 de julio

Grades/grados 10-12

Crusade Get into College Bootcamp
Join this in-person week-long intensive college prep training designed for students in grades 10, 11 and 12 to learn about the college application process. With assistance from college access mentors, each student will gain an understanding of the college admissions process and timeline; navigate the financial aid process; learn how to research colleges and gauge chances of admission; and brainstorm, write and edit college application essays. Students entering their senior year will have a chance to complete the Common App and get advice on teacher recommendations. Students will end the week with a sense of confidence about how to navigate the milestones associated with the college admissions process.

Dates:
July 26-30
Aug. 2-6

Crusade Get into College Bootcamp (Crusade Entra en el campo de entrenamiento de la universidad)
Únase a este entrenamiento intensivo de una semana de preparación universitaria en persona diseñada para estudiantes en los grados 10, 11 y 12 para aprender sobre el proceso de solicitud de ingreso a la universidad. Con la ayuda de los mentores de acceso a la universidad, cada estudiante comprenderá el proceso y el cronograma de admisión a la universidad; navegar la ayuda financiera; aprender a investigar universidades y evaluar las posibilidades de admisión; e escribir y editar ensayos de solicitud de ingreso a la universidad. Los estudiantes que ingresen a su último año en la secundaria tendrán la oportunidad de completar el Common APP (la aplicación común para la universidad) y recibir consejos para las cartas de recomendaciones que les otorgaran sus maestros. Los estudiantes terminarán la semana con un sentido de confianza sobre cómo navegar las etapas principales asociadas con el proceso de admisión a la universidad.

Fechas:
26 al 30 de julio
2 al 6 de agosto

Grades/grados 8-12

PSAT/SAT Prep
In this in-person three-week course in PSAT/SAT preparation and practice tests, high school students will receive a refresher course ahead of the fall SAT and middle school students will learn how to navigate and maximize the free, interactive Khan Academy PSAT/SAT test preparation website.

Dates: July 6-23

PSAT/SAT Prep (Preparación PSAT/SAT)
En este curso en persona de tres semanas, los Crusaders recibirán preparación y exámenes de práctica de PSAT / SAT. Estos son los exámenes que muchas universidades requieren para admisiones. Los estudiantes de secundaria recibirán un curso de actualización antes del SAT, que será administrado en el otoño y los estudiantes de intermedia aprenderán cómo navegar y maximizar el sitio web interactivo gratuito de preparación para el examen Khan Academy PSAT/SAT.

Fechas: 6 de julio al 23 de julio

Grades/grados 9-10

Passageways/Transition
The Passageways in-person program is designed to prepare Crusaders as they transition from middle to high school. The program will teach you how to survive and thrive in high school. These activities will give students the opportunity to get to know and develop positive relationships with their high school advisor and other ninth-grade incoming Crusaders.

Dates:
Aug. 9-13
Aug. 16-20

Passageways/Transition (Pasillos/Transición)
El programa en persona Passageways (pasillos) está diseñado para preparar a los Crusaders en su transición de la escuela intermedia a la secundaria. El programa le enseñará cómo sobrevivir y prosperar en la escuela secundaria. Estas actividades les darán a los estudiantes la oportunidad de conocer y desarrollar relaciones positivas con su consejero de la escuela secundaria y otros Crusaders que también ingresarán al noveno grado.

Fechas:
9 al 13 de agosto
16 al 20 de agosto

Rising ninth and 12th graders/Estudiantes que están ingresando al grado 9 y 12

RIDE and the College Crusade Academic Readiness Partnership through the All Course Network (ACN)
We are offering three virtual academic readiness courses (in partnership with RIDE and listed on the ACN) that provide rising ninth and 12th graders additional academic support to strengthen foundations of math and ELA. Beyond strengthening academic skills, indicating that the student took such courses in the college application senior year will show admissions counselors the student’s commitment to learning.

Contact Victor Montanez for more details on courses, dates and registration.

Asociación de preparación académica entre RIDE y el College Crusade a través del All Course Network (ACN)
Estamos ofreciendo tres cursos virtuales de preparación académica (en asociación con RIDE y listados en la ACN) que brindan apoyo académico adicional a los estudiantes de noveno (9) y duodécimo (12) grado para fortalecer los fundamentos de las matemáticas y ELA (artes del lenguaje inglés). Más allá de fortalecer habilidades académicas, indicar que el estudiante tomo dichos cursos en su solicitud de ingreso a la universidad, mostrará a los consejeros de admisiones el compromiso que el estudiante tiene con la enseñanza y el aprendizaje.

Comuníquese con Victor Montanez para obtener más detalles sobre los cursos, fechas y registr

Grade/grado 12

Creative College Essay Writing
Colleges and universities see writing as the single most important skill that students need. This virtual program helps Crusaders produce a quality college essay and equips them with writing skills that increase their confidence in their expressive abilities.

Dates: July 19-23

Creative College Essay Writing (Creación de Ensayos Universitarios Creativos)
Las universidades ven la escritura como la habilidad más importante que los estudiantes necesitan para ingresar y ser exitosos en la universidad. Este programa virtual ayuda a los Crusaders a producir un ensayo universitario de calidad y los capacita con habilidades de escritura que aumentan suconfianza en sus aptitudes expresivas.

Fechas: 19 al 23 de julio

Summer programs for middle school/programas de verano para escuela intermedia

Now is the time to register middle school students for summer programs, including traditional summer camp, academic support programs, prep for college opportunities and much more. Read below for information about specific programs.

To register for middle school programs, contact Sarah Lessard at slessard@onwardwelearn.org or 401-519-0306.

Ahora es el momento de inscribirse en los programas de verano para estudiantes de intermedia, que incluyen campamentos de verano tradicionales, programas de apoyo académico, preparación para oportunidades universitarias y mucho más. Lea a continuación para obtener información sobre programas específicos.

Para registrarse para las oportunidades de escuela intermedia (grados 6-8), comuníquese con Sarah Lessard enviándole un correo electrónico a slessard@onwardwelearn.org o llamando al 401-519-0306

Grades/grados 6-8

Crusade Adventure and Academic Program
This popular and long-running in-person program will challenge middle-school aged learners to explore, solve problems, develop critical thinking skills and have FUN. Participants embark on a variety of (occasionally ridiculous) investigations, activities, tasks and stunts that require them to collaborate, set goals and get creative – then, connect what they’re learning to their homes, schools and communities. Participants also work directly with college-student mentors, explore justice-based leadership and build skills with online technology.

Dates:
July 6-16
July 19-30
Aug. 2-13 (no program Aug. 9)

Crusade Adventure and Academic Program (Crusade Aventura y Programa Académico)
Este programa que es en persona, prolongado y muy popular desafiará a los estudiantes de secundaria a explorar, resolver problemas, desarrollar habilidades de pensamiento crítico y divertirse. Los participantes embarcan en una variedad de investigaciones, actividades, tareas y acrobacias (en ocasiones ridículas) que les exigen colaborar, establecer metas y ser creativos; luego, conectan lo que están aprendiendo con sus hogares, escuelas y comunidades. Los participantes también trabajan directamente con los mentores de estudiantes universitarios, exploran el liderazgo basado en la justicia y desarrollan habilidades con la tecnología en línea.

Fechas:
6 al 16 de julio
19 al 30 de julio
2 al 13 de agosto (sin programa el 9 de agosto)

Mystic Aquarium – Marine Bio 101
In this hybrid course students will have the opportunity to explore both the vast variety of species at Mystic Aquarium as well as careers in aquarium science including water quality, life support, exhibit design, marine animal rescue, fish and invertebrate care, and research. Students will interact with aquarium professionals, investigate the animals in their care and engage in work behind the scenes to gain a unique perspective on the careers essential to the success of a world class aquarium. This one-of-a-kind program is the perfect opportunity to test the waters of a career in marine biology.  During the weeklong program, students will travel by bus to Mystic Aquarium on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Tuesdays and Thursdays will include shorter virtual experiences with Mystic staff from students’ homes.

Dates:
July 12-16
July 19-23
July 26-30

Mystic Aquarium Marine Bio 101 – (Acuario místico-biología marina)
En este curso híbrido, los estudiantes tendrán la oportunidad de explorar tanto la gran variedad de especies en Mystic Aquarium como carreras en ciencia oceánicas que incluyen calidad del agua, soporte vital, diseño de exhibiciones, rescate de animales marinos, cuidado e investigación de peces e invertebrados. Los estudiantes interactuarán con profesionales de acuarios, investigarán a los animales en su cuidado y trabajarán entre bastidores para obtener una perspectiva única sobre las carreras esenciales para el éxito de un acuario de clase mundial. Este programa, especial en su tipo, es la oportunidad perfecta para una carrera en biología marina. Durante este programa de una semana, los estudiantes viajarán en autobús al Mystic Aquarium los lunes, miércoles y viernes. Los martes y jueves incluirán experiencias virtuales más breves con el personal de Mystic desde los hogares de los estudiantes.

Fechas:
12 al 16 de julio
9 al 23 de julio
26 al 30 de julio

Wheeler Camp
Wheeler Camp is an in-person, all-hands-on experience where Crusaders will be able to participate in an array of activities and programs such as sports and games, nature exploration, music, performing arts, outdoor adventure, archery, ropes course, and much more! The camp has soccer fields, hiking trails, a track, a pool, and a ropes course. The camp will be held the at the Wheeler Farm (it’s not really a farm but that’s what they call it) located in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

Dates:
June 28-July 9
July 12-23
July 26-Aug. 6

Wheeler Camp – Campamento Wheeler
Wheeler Camp es una experiencia en persona y práctica donde los Crusaders podrán participar en una variedad de actividades y programas como deportes y juegos, exploración de la naturaleza, música, artes escénicas, aventuras al aire libre, tiro con arco, cursos de cuerdas, ¡y mucho más! El campamento cuenta con canchas de fútbol, ​​senderos para caminatas, una pista, alberca y cancha de cuerdas. El campamento se llevará a cabo en Wheeler Farm (no es realmente una granja, pero así es como la llaman) ubicada en Seekonk, Massachusetts.

Fechas:
28 de junio al 9 de julio
12 al 23 de julio
26 de julio al 6 de agosto

Grades/grados 5-6

Launch
This in-person program is designed to welcome all new Crusaders to the College Crusade.

Dates: Aug. 2-13 (no program Aug. 9)

Launch (Lanzamiento)
Este programa en persona está diseñado para dar la bienvenida a todos los nuevos Crusaders al College Crusade.

Fechas: 2-13 de agosto (sin programa 9 de agosto)

Grades/grados 6-7

Write on Sports
Crusaders become sportswriters during this virtual program.

Dates: July 6-16

Write on Sports (Escribir sobre deportes)
Los Crasaders se convierten en periodistas deportivos durante este programa virtual.

Fechas: 6 al 16 de julio

Q&A with Accelerate grad Stephanie Vargas Sosa, who will attend Texas Christian University

The Accelerate Program offers Providence high school students an enhanced senior year experience that allows students to jump-start their postsecondary career while completing their high school requirements. Students who successfully complete the program can earn up to 24 college credits at no cost of enrollment for the student or family.

I’m an Accelerate senior of the Class of 2021. I’m also a first-gen student in a computer science major with a pre-med track. I’m not one for traditional academic paths so I wanted to take a “riskier” path for my ultimate goal of going to medical school. But I’m more than a student! I’m also a very fun and outgoing person willing to do anything that can be fun (it has to be healthy and safe though). And as odd as it may seem, I enjoy learning for fun so I spend a lot of time reading or trying new things!

Why did you decide to join the Accelerate Program? 

I decided to join the Accelerate Program because I found that it would be a great opportunity to experience the workload of a full-time college student and it would allow for me to earn many college credits in high school as well.

Please share a memorable moment you have in the Accelerate Program. 

Everything about the Accelerate Program was memorable! Orientation was certainly memorable, as that is when we learned more about each other as well as the work and expectations for us.

What role did College Success Coach Heckerly Flores play in your success? 

Heckerly played a great role in my success during the Accelerate Program and in preparation for college as well. She helped me fill out the FAFSA and always answered any questions I had on anything! She also gave a very valuable piece of advice to us as a class. She insisted that we ask for help whenever we needed it and made sure that we saw all the resources we could use to find help.

What are you most looking forward to in your first year of college? 

I’m looking forward to the experience as a whole. I’m excited to meet new people and find more people of the same major. I also look forward to my growth as a person and student throughout the next four years of college.

What challenges are you anticipating in the years ahead? 

I know that there will be more challenging classes as time goes on and there will be a lot of pressure. However, this is also something I look forward to because more challenges will only help me grow.

What words of advice do you have for the next group of Accelerate seniors (Class of 2022)? 

I would advise the next group of Accelerate students to stay on top of their work and write everything in a sort of planner so that they do not fall behind. I would also like to pass down the advice that was given to me and tell them to ask for help whenever they need it. Most importantly I would say to have fun with it and really enjoy and take advantage of the opportunity! 

Q&A with Accelerate graduate Jason Rodriguez Taveras, who heads to PC this fall

The Accelerate Program offers Providence high school students an enhanced senior year experience that allows students to jump-start their postsecondary career while completing their high school requirements. Students who successfully complete the program can earn up to 24 college credits at no cost of enrollment for the student or family. 

I am a first-generation immigrant who came to the United States when I was 2 years old with my mother and two siblings. My father was unable to come to the U.S. until I was 11 years old. I faced many challenges growing up, which included having to learn both Spanish and English simultaneously and trying to fit in with my family as well as with the people I met at school. In my younger years I was never really comfortable in either space; this was reflected in my behavior as well as my grades throughout elementary and middle school. This changed when I found a second home and family on the eighth-grade wrestling team. It was a place where I was supported as well as held accountable by my coaches, Kevin Hernandez and Bill Fullaway, as well as my teammates. I learned the importance of discipline and how my actions now will inevitably affect my future. My wrestling career was short lived because of a knee condition that effectively took me out of the sport for good. All of a sudden I didn’t have this home anymore, but what I did have was those lessons I learned. So I decided to make the most out of what I had left, and with a knee that prevented me from participating in most organized sports, that was my mind. To do this, I hit the books hard for four years throughout high school and will now graduate with a 92.89 GPA, as well as nearly 30 college credits thanks to the Accelerate Program. This fall, I will be the first person in my family to attend college, and in a few years I plan to be the first to graduate college as well. 

Why did you decide to join the Accelerate Program? 

I heard about the Accelerate Program from a friend of mine, and I thought it sounded too good to be true. But it was true! I saw the opportunity to get a head start in college while also being able to graduate high school normally. It was a very easy decision for me, because it was one I could not let pass me by. 

Please share a memorable moment you have in the Accelerate Program. 

The best moment for me was finishing the second semester and realizing that I have completed nearly a year’s worth of college classes before I had even graduated from high school. Being able to share that with my family and seeing how proud they are has been great. 

What role did College Success Coach Heckerly Flores play in your success? 

Heckerly was by far the most helpful counselor I have had in all of my years of schooling. Heckerly was always there to help me when I needed recommendations, scholarship opportunities, help finding tutors, as well as filling out things like FAFSA, my CSS profile, helping me put together my college essay as well as a financial aid appeal to Providence College, which got me a very well-needed few more thousand dollars in financial aid. Overall, Heckerly has been an overachieving, high-spirited counselor who has been of great help to me; I am sure that without her help I would have not been able to excel in my classes the way I did. 

What are you most looking forward to in your first year of college? 

I am looking forward to being a part of a new community of people that really want to learn. High school was different because there were always a few students who were there because they had to be and they would make the class unpleasant to those of us that did want to be there and learn. 

What challenges are you anticipating in the years ahead? 

I am worried about adjusting to the new environment. I’ve never lived without my parents and so being in a dorm with two people that I don’t know will be a new experience for me and it is something I will have to overcome. 

What words of advice do you have for the next group of Accelerate seniors (Class of 2022)? 

The Accelerate Program will be incredibly difficult if school is not your main focus. Having to apply to colleges, write your college essays, and apply for scholarships and fill out the FAFSA while also having outside responsibilities like family or a job will be extremely difficult. I had many late nights because of this and there were times where I was not as prepared as I should have been for tests and assignments because of my heavy schedule. It is a significant commitment and should not be taken lightly. Other than that, it is a great opportunity if you are able to make the commitment. 

Q&A with Accelerate grad Ashley Asencio, who will attend URI

The Accelerate Program offers Providence high school students an enhanced senior year experience that allows students to jump-start their postsecondary career while completing their high school requirements. Students who successfully complete the program can earn up to 24 college credits at no cost of enrollment for the student or family. 

Hello, my name is Ashley Asencio. Growing up as a first-generation student hasn’t been easy; I have always needed to seek for my own help and wondered if I was making good decisions academic-wise. When an advisor came to my elementary school and spoke to us [about the College Crusade], my fifth-grade self knew I had to sign up. I was aware that my parents weren’t going to be able to help me with much of the college process due to the language barrier and them not experiencing college. This was the perfect opportunity for me because not only was I already thinking of the future but I was earning money for going to programs. Looking back, I thank my fifth-grade self for being so aware and getting those papers signed because each and every advisor had played a part in the student I am today. They have guided me in the right path and provided me with so many good information and I know that’s their job, but they make you feel special and one of a kind. They make sure they remind you how amazing you are and that you can reach for the moon if you keep pushing and I thank each and every one one of them for that! 

Why did you decide to join the Accelerate Program? 

I decided to join this program because at the time we were all doing online school and I really loved the feeling of doing school online and having my own schedule. I decided this might be a good decision for me although I was also scared because I wasn’t going to have teachers on me 24/7, which meant I was going to be more independent. I decided why not start my college process early and get a feeling of what fall 2021 could look for me and if I was ready to take that step. 

Please share a memorable moment you have in the Accelerate Program. 

During the college process, I felt myself become so overwhelmed I wanted to give up. I remember being on Zoom with [College Admissions Coach Ana Almeida] and explaining to her my fears of not being good enough for some of the colleges I was applying to and remember myself crying from frustration. She told me everything was going to be fine and that I was a smart young girl with a lot of potential. She was right; I kept bringing myself down and thinking I didn’t deserve what I had accomplished, which made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Ana was always there for me when I needed wise words, as were many other advisors. 

What role did College Success Coach Heckerly Flores play in your success? 

She helped me choose what college was best for me and why it was the best choice to make. 

What are you most looking forward to in your first year of college? 

I’m excited to experience a new environment and living on my own for the first time and really get a feeling of what adulthood can look like for me as well as become more independent. 

What challenges are you anticipating in the years ahead? 

Now that I got the feeling of what college could feel like, I’m not really scared, I’m just scared if I’m going to keep the same habits or become better. I left things for last minute yet finished all my assignments on time. But I want to change that. I don’t wat nto keep that habit because it gives me less time to perfect my work. 

What words of advice do you have for the next group of Accelerate seniors (Class of 2022)? 

At first it might seem like a lot to handle and you might think to yourself, “Why did I join this?!” But trust me, it has been the best decision of my life. Not only was I doing school from home, but I had extra free time for myself. I was able to manage my life the way I wanted to and didn’t have to follow strict rules from teachers. Hearing my classmates complain about how stressful school was made me feel like my classes were easy. But make sure that if you decide to join the Accelerate Program you are willing to communicate with your advisors and seek help when needed or else you’re letting yourself down. 

Q&A with Accelerate graduate Jolade Oshinkalu, who will attend Providence College

The Accelerate Program offers Providence high school students an enhanced senior year experience that allows students to jump-start their postsecondary career while completing their high school requirements. Students who successfully complete the program can earn up to 24 college credits at no cost of enrollment for the student or family. 

My name is Jolade Oshinkanlu. I am an immigrant who came into the U.S. for a better life, good education, and opportunities for my future. My journey has been very hard, but it challenged me into becoming a strong woman of color who strives hard to do her best at everything. I remember several times that I was at the point of giving up, but being able to get up every morning to do my best and make my family proud every time I achieved something great kept me going. I am proud of who I am and where I came from because without the challenges I faced, I wouldn’t have become capable of doing many things, discovering my passions, and be where I am today. 

Why did you decide to join the Accelerate Program? 

I decided to join the Accelerate Program to challenge myself into doing something I have not experienced before. At first, I was scared that I would fail because of the way the program was described to me but then I remembered my mom said, “You never know what you can do unless you give it a try.” This is why I joined the program. 

Please share a memorable moment you have in the Accelerate Program. 

One memorable moment I have in the Accelerate Program is that one of my professors made everyone join different group of people to work together on a project. It was through that project I made friends with amazing people. We decided to hang out in person and had a wonderful experience together. 

What role did College Success Coach Heckerly Flores play in your success? 

Miss Heckerly played a big role in my success. She connected me to different opportunities, never failed to check up on me, and gave me advice that helped me to be here today. 

What are you most looking forward to in your first year of college? 

I am looking forward to discovering new things about myself. I want to try different activities I wasn’t given the opportunity to do because of Covid such as dancing, running, and creating programs for people etc. I also want to meet people coming from different places so that we can share our ideas together and create many wonderful things. 

What challenges are you anticipating in the years ahead? 

Some challenges I am anticipating in the years ahead are being in a new environment without people that I am used to being around with, doing many things by myself as an adult, and making sure that I have good time management. 

What words of advice do you have for the next group of Accelerate seniors (Class of 2022)? 

You can do this! It might feel like you should give up and just stop but I promise you that at the end, it will be worth it and not just for your family, but for yourself. Keep on going for your future dreams and never think that you are alone because there are people who will be there for you and great resources that can help a lot. 

The Launch: A Conversation with the Accelerate Support Team

The Accelerate program offers Providence high school students an enhanced senior year experience that allows students to jump-start their postsecondary career while completing their high school requirements. Students who successfully complete the program can earn up to 24 college credits at no cost of enrollment for the student or family. The College Crusade Postsecondary Team sat down with the prominent staff members of the Accelerate Program in a passionate discussion about the launch of the program in fall 2020 and the impact it has made on the students, themselves and the future of the program. Their answers have been edited and condensed for clarity. The key support team members are: 

  • Patrice Mettauer, Director of Academic Initiatives, Rhode Island College 
  • Madeleine Burke, Interim Director of Special Projects, CCRI 
  • Jetzabel Mills, Counselor, Student Development, CCRI 
  • Heckerly Flores, Accelerate Coach, College Crusade 

To start off, what did you think when you first heard of the Accelerate Program when it started last summer? 

Patrice Mettauer: We were really excited … because it felt like it would be a door opening — if the program really went well and we saw success with our students, then we would be able to continue the program going forward. So, the initial reaction was: “OK, let’s figure out how to ramp this up, because this is an opportunity that probably won’t come along [again] and it would be a terrific way for us to connect with students in Providence high schools.” 

Madeleine Burke: I was really excited because it’s an opportunity to serve a demographic of student that I think we underserve in our traditional dual enrollment programs like Running Start and High School Enrichment. The opportunity to develop a program that was really robust, that was really centered on equity and giving these students in the Providence district the opportunity to accelerate their college experience was really exciting. 

Jetzabel Mills: I was really excited about the opportunity to work with high school students. I come from a background where I work with people from a lot of different populations, and coming to CCRI, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. So when I had the opportunity to work with these students, I was like: Wow, this is awesome, these kids are getting a step up.  

The Accelerate Program started (and finished) its first year. Can you talk about how it was for you going through the Accelerate process, from beginning, middle, and end? 

MB: The beginning was a lot of hard work on the part of all the different parties involved: the [Providence School] District, RIC, CCRI, RIDE — just coming together and putting all our muscle behind getting something like this running in such a short time. And then once we settled into the semester, for me, that middle part was the most rewarding: getting to know the students, getting to hear their stories. It was a challenging year for all of us, living through a pandemic, so to hear from the students about the different hardships they were facing and the different exciting things that were happening for them — applying to college, getting accepted to college, taking their SATs. Going through that journey with them was so exciting. It made me more invested in why we need to be doing this work and why we need to be partnering more closely with the Providence district. 

PM: It was a whirlwind, with lots of working 12-hour days, seven days a week, right in the beginning. But it was so gratifying to see it all come together. I think that in the back of our minds, the thinking always was: How do we best serve students in this really bizarre environment right now? I loved getting to know the students and learning about their concerns and their world, seeing their development from the beginning of the year to the end of the year; they’re delightful students! I just loved getting to know them. At the end I was celebrating how many of them were incredibly successful!  

JM: Definitely whirlwind, definitely challenging, but 100 percent rewarding. I think maybe as an advisor, I had a little more of the benefit and the privilege of creating those relationships and meeting with the students. When I think about this year, there was a lot of growth and development, for the college, for the program, for myself, for the students. Figuring out all those little nooks and crannies that definitely challenged us but being able to overcome them — growth and development though what was already set up to be a very difficult year was very successful. 

Can you describe a positive experience you’ve had working with your students or a group of students in the program? And how do you see your role contributing to that experience? 

JM: I think the best thing was that we started to create nicknames for each other. My name’s not very easy but [the students] got to the point where they were like: “Ms. M!” I have a student that calls me “Mills.” I got into the habit of calling them “friends,” so: “Hey friend, what’s going on? How’s it going? Do you need this? Do you need that?” One time I didn’t call a student a friend, and they were like: “Wait, are you OK? What’s wrong?” Being able to create those positive relationships was really exciting for me. 

MB: I really enjoyed helping them problem-solve. We had a couple of students throughout the year who had some really tough situations and so being able to pick up the phone and call them and walk them through where they are, what they need, what resources we can provide, and ways they can take back control of their situation. Seeing the growth and maturity in them, in the way they were managing those financial and academic challenges, was really great.  

PM: One of the goals I had made for myself and for the program was that we would give students the opportunity to explore a course that would head them in the direction they thought they would want to major in college. It was really wonderful hearing their stories and then connecting them into a class or two that would really move them in the direction they wanted to go so they could see whether it was a good fit.  

JM: It was also really satisfying to see them get so close to their goals and their dreams. We have a few students who are graduating in December with their associate degrees. We have a student who is applying to the nursing program in August because she’s met the requirements. To see those success stories and to be a part of that is really rewarding. 

How was the experience working with us, the College Crusade, as an organization, and how has it been working with Heckerly? 

JM: I call us the dream team. We work so well together. I honestly would not have been able to do half of anything — being able to bounce off of somebody, being able to have that additional support, being able to have that contact person, being able to have somebody who understands what I’m going through. Honestly, if it wasn’t for us working together and having that great partnership, I don’t think these students would have been able to succeed, and I don’t think that this program would have succeeded. Without this dream team, it wouldn’t have happened. 

MB: I agree. Having the College Crusade and the connection to the district and the way that Heckerly was able to develop relationships with the counselors in the school and get information flowing back and forth on a consistent basis — it really was a game-changer, because it gave the students full wrap-around support and the fact that we were able to get all of the students who completed the program through to 100 percent graduation is a pretty big deal. I think it’s a credit to the deep connections the College Crusade has in the district and the great work that Hecklerly was doing. 

PM: I suppose in some ways, as Jetzabel and Maddie said, it was the teamwork, really, that pushed us to success with all of the students. Having worked with Heckerly at RIC prior to being part of the Crusade, I knew how much I could count on her to do good work with students. That dedication and support is invaluable to the students more than anything, and hopefully they recognize how much she was part of their success at the institutions. 

Heckerly Maria-Flores: Thank you all for the kind words! I’d say it would go both ways. I appreciated the determination we all had to push these students forward, because we all know it was a tough year. Sometimes I think back and wonder: What would we have done if this wasn’t virtual? If it was in person, it would have been even better. The fact that we were able to work so well virtually is incredible. 

Naglaa Gafaar:. One thing that made this partnership work so well is that we’re aligned at heart with the student at the center. So every single person on the team had every single student as the most important person in the room every single time. For that, a very, very big thanks. 

Thinking of year two, and reflecting on finishing the first year of the Accelerate Program, how do you feel about the overall outcome of the program? 

MB: I feel really good about it! When you look at the success rate of the [Accelerate] students, the average credits they earned in comparison to the rest of the students at our college, and even their peers, that this was a virtual program, that we lifted in four weeks during a pandemic, it’s actually extraordinary. The more important part [is] that students are going on the do what they really want to do, whether it’s continuing at CCRI, RIC or URI, there are so many success stories of students who were able to use this program as a stepping stone to that next step. So I think Accelerate was a huge success. 

PM: I have competing thoughts here: being excited about the success of the students and a little sad about the students who really struggled right at the end. The ones I’ve just registered for classes for the fall at RIC — just hearing about their experience and how excited they are about actually being in person and having a real college experience and knowing that we were able to get them this far along the road is great.  

JM: I am really excited about year two. We’ve learned a lot, and I am excited to implement what we’ve learned, to get even more success. I’m excited to see what’s coming! 

MB: [The students] are going to be on campus, so I’m so excited to be actually able to see them and meet with them and see them interacting with other college students and taking advantage of our resources on campus. I think it will be a real game-changer. 

NG: I think you all got really up close and personal to every single one of them, in a way that I haven’t really seen on a college campus or even with our day-to-day work with students at the Crusade. It was really, really close and I think it will give a lot of deep insight into making the program a lot stronger. 

JM: And I think strengthening that relationship that we had with PPSD through Heckerly is another reason why she’s an important asset of this team. Having those weekly check-ins, reach-outs, and direct communication with each of the public schools. It’s nice to know that’s going to continue. 

Heckerly, I want to hear from you, too! How do you feel about the outcome of the program after year one? 

HM: It was a whirlwind, so everyone was always on their toes. We were fighting for these students and making sure we got them the proper accommodations. It’s really bittersweet to have it all come to an end, but I’m really excited. It’s all learning lessons. It’s always going to be difficult, especially when you’re working with two different kinds of entities — higher ed and public high schools. That on top of the fact that we’re virtual and the fact that all of us were able to form connections on Zoom and not being able to see our students — it’s almost unbelievable! It’s all really bittersweet but I’m also excited to take everything we learned and try to do better. 

The program is going into its second year, and you’ve seen the students go through a lot of different things — different obstacles, different things you can expect on their journey in the program. Speaking to the new cohort of Accelerate students: what is some advice you’d give? 

JM: I would say stick to a schedule, stick to a plan, and schedule out your courses and make sure that you keep that mentality that you’re still in school. Even though it is college, and your schedule is going to be a little more flexible, that does not mean it does not involve more work. I would definitely encourage them not to be overwhelmed, in the sense that if you need help, reach out. It’s better to ask for help before you start to drown.  

NG: Know the difference between being a high school student and a college student and the different expectations and the different schedule and what that would mean for your success. Be very clear on your goal, why you’re in the program. Keep your eye on the target and reach out. You have to prioritize, and sometimes we have to look at the long-term effects rather than the short-term gains and plan accordingly. Also, take advantage of all the resources that would allow you to broaden your horizon, because that’s a big aspect of the program that is different from dual enrollment. You have access to so many people that are invested in showing you what lies beyond high school.  

PM: People’s circumstances changed a lot over the course of the year, and sometimes they didn’t reach out to let us know that they needed something else to be successful. When we can, we will move obstacles and work the system to help them be successful. 

HM: If you’re having a hard time and you know that you’re not going to be turning in your best work, or that you’re not going to make it to a class, send an email! Go to an office hour! Virtual office hours are a thing. They’re there and they’re not lying. Sometimes they sit in their office hours by themselves, and no one comes! I tell my students sometimes: You just need to reach out. Ask for help, because most of the time, you will get the help that you need. 

Does anybody have anything they’d like to add you want to highlight about Accelerate? 

NG: I want to really celebrate the two people who were on the ground this past year, Jetzabel and Heckerly. The number of hours, energy, and screen time that you had with the students, the amount of heart that went out to these students, the concern, the quick reaction and response to every single issue that they had — I just can’t say thank you enough. And Patrice, being the one-woman-show at Rhode Island College to troubleshoot everything, has been amazing. I don’t want anybody to ever underestimate the amount of energy and time and work that made this year work. Even though the number of students was not so large, the amount of energy that went into serving the students was pretty much equal to serving a thousand students at a time — with just a few people on the team. I really want to celebrate that. 

PM: Well, we couldn’t have done it without you! There’s no way I would have been successful if it wasn’t for Heckerly and Naglaa, I’ll tell you that much! It was a team effort, and thank you, Naglaa, it’s true that the work Heckerly did was really amazing, and I’m very grateful. 

JM: Thank you, Naglaa, for those kind words. I want to say that this program has been successful because we all have put a lot of heart, body, and soul into it. Working together has been great. Just as much as we have provided support to these students, we have been able to provide support for each other. Because of that, I feel like we were able to be even better for our students. Through all the work, through all the frustrations, through all the challenges, through all the ups and downs, and all the joys, we’ve been able to do it together, and I think that’s what’s really made it successful, has really made it worthwhile, and I’m just really excited to see what happens next. Forty students this year — let’s double it, triple it, quadruple it, let’s see what we can do.