The Southern California Science and Engineering Career Access
Center is generally referred to as the ACCESS CENTER, as
this title succinctly represents the mission and role the Center
plays in the Los Angeles educational community. Located on the
campus of Cal State L.A. (CSLA) and funded by the National Science
Foundation (NSF) since 1989, our mission is to increase the number
of well trained middle and high school minority students prepared
to enter careers in math, science or engineering. The ACCESS
Center has adopted the motto "To Make Learning Come Alive"
and has structured all of its programs to be active and experiential.
Over the past six years we have refined our approach to focus
upon a three-pronged strategy: 1) Teacher Development,
2) Direct Student Intervention, and 3) Evaluation and
Analysis of programs. Understanding the crucial role parents
play in the success of their children's education, a parental
involvement component is included in each of our programs. ACCESS
has provided financial support, expertise, leadership and curriculum
guidance to impact over 13,000 pre-college minority students and
102 math and science teachers during this past school year alone.
The goals of our teacher development programs are: to promote
quality middle school math and science curricula; to facilitate
implementation of the state frameworks and national standards
for math and science; and to facilitate systemic change within
schools. Programs include the following.
The first two academies held in the summer of 1993 and 1994 were
held as a joint venture between biology faculty at CSLA and Caltech.
Currently, TSSA is conducted primarily by faculty at CSLA. In
this 3 week program, 15 middle school science teachers learn integrated
and interdisciplinary approaches to life science curricula. The
California Science Framework is used as a guide for the hands-on
activities featuring Bottle Biology. Sheltered English
and other approaches sensitive to a bilingual student population
are also addressed. There are two follow-up support meetings
during the year, and classroom visits are made to supply teachers
with materials and implementation support as needed.
Access to Algebra
This is a reform program which targets 7th and 8th grade teachers.
The Access to Algebra model provides efficient systemic reform
as all teachers in a given math department are trained in reform-minded
curricula simultaneously. The teachers participate, as a group,
in a series of training sessions staggered throughout the school
year. Teachers from various grade levels are exposed to a variety
of curricula and pedagogy approaches that embraces the reforms
of the California Mathematics Framework. Among the curricula
used in this model are the Michigan Middle School and Math A programs.
Teachers at each site involved with the program meet on a regular
basis to discuss the impact of this training on the math program
at their schools.
This program, developed by Robert Moses, is gaining national attention
as a cutting edge reform movement specifically aimed at minority,
middle school math teachers and their students. The goal of the
program is to have as many students as possible prepared for algebra
by the 8th grade. To do this, as an Algebra Project site, ACCESS
actively trains teachers in the use of a five-step curricular
process for delivering instruction, while integrating the program
with other reform- minded curricula. Follow-up classroom implementation
support takes place throughout the year and parents are engaged
in program-related events. This project is especially powerful
with bilingual and other disenfranchised students as the experiences
of the students themselves drive the curriculum.
DIRECT STUDENT INTERVENTION
The goals of our direct student intervention programs are: to
build a stimulating and supportive classroom environment that
promotes student centered learning; to provide enrichment opportunities
for middle and high school students; and to facilitate systemic
revisions within the school. Programs include the following.
This is our most successful direct student intervention program.
The College Prep Program has been part of ACCESS for over six
years and serves as a successful model that is now being replicated
at three other high schools. The model consists of five essential
components that include: a thorough academic program; strong tutoring
support; parent involvement; a steering committee; and a partnership
with a local university. Average (B/C) students are recruited
as they enter their high school freshman year. Lincoln High
School is the original site upon which the model is based. The
program at Lincoln is called the University Preparatory Program
(UPP). Ninety-five percent of the students who participate in
Lincolns UPP graduate from high school. Furthermore, approximately
60% of UPP students complete the program and all of those students
continue their education at a four year institution, with over
90% electing to attend CSLA.
This program is funded by the Jacobs Family Foundation and provides
three, 10-week sessions of math, science, and computer activities
for 85 middle school students at Hamilton Middle School in Long
Beach. Lessons are delivered in an exciting hands-on approach
which enables students to increase their comfort level and develop
their abilities in these disciplines. The goal of this program
is to supplement regular classroom experiences with support that
will adaquately prepare these students for placement and retention
in higher level math and science courses.
This program funded by NSF began in March of 1995. RIMSA serves
50 inner-city, 7th and 8th grade students from a variety of schools
on the CSLA campus. It is a four-week, residential program
for students in year round schools on vacation during
the traditional calendar year rather than the summer. The program
enhances the students classroom experiences in math, science,
computers and creative writing. RIMSA is designed to raise the
level of students' confidence and performance in these areas.
The goal is to prepare these middle school students for college
by providing a strong foundation for entering high school on a
college prep track. Following the residential portion, students
attend eight Saturday sessions continuing their participation
in the academy after returning to school. RIMSA provides a much-needed
opportunity for these students to get away from the problems of
the inner city and exposes them to a controlled environment of
instruction, discipline, and cultural diversity.
EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS
The goals for evaluation and analysis are: to use evaluation as
a tool for planning and refining programs; to measure the effectiveness
of our programs; and to establish models that can be replicated
and disseminated. The ACCESS Center uses the Minimum Obligatory
Set (MOS) database, developed by NSF, to gather the needed data.
Qualitative evaluation is also done to examine our programs.
Among the instruments used are the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics
Attitudes Scale and the science counterpart. Students, teachers
and parents are also interviewed concerning the results and quality
of our programs.
Jewel Plummer Cobb, Ph.D. Principal Investigator
Judith A. Day Executive Director
Jacques P. Bordeaux Technical Director
Eunice Kim Evaluation Analyst