I Know I Can expands into SWCS


By Andrea Cordle
Westside Editor

“What are your goals and how do you get there?”

South-Western City Schools District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Brad Faust said a new program, funded through the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, may help students answer those questions.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a $872,000 contract with I Know I Can for expansion of its program into the South-Western City Schools District. I Know I Can has worked with Columbus City Schools since 1988 but will now expand into South-Western.

I Know I Can uses college advisors and coaches to work with students on an individual basis to help them explore college or career options.

“This is for the students who dream about going to college, but obstacles may prevent that from happening,” said Faust.

Faust said some of those obstacles may include living in poverty or being the first in the family to think about attending college, therefore not knowing how to navigate the process.

According to county leaders, the students in South-Western could greatly benefit from the additional academic assistance to help them complete high school and go on to college.

“With nearly a quarter of our youth in Franklin County living in poverty, they benefit from programs like these to provide additional help,” said Marilyn Brown, county commissioner. “Research has shown time and again how investing in our youth today will allow us all – students and county residents alike – to reap benefits later.”

The goal of the program is to increase the number of students who enroll in college by 20 percent.

According to Faust, the contract will pay for two full-time college advisors, or mentors, at both Westland High School and Franklin Heights High School.

“It is intense mentoring,” said Faust.

Guidance counselors and teachers will help guide students to participate in the program. Then students would become involved with a college/career plan and be assessed for their college readiness. The students would also participate in workshops and training to build skills.

“It’s programming that is greatly needed,” said commissioner John O’Grady. “High school counselors are already overwhelmed. It is estimated that in these school districts, each student only receives about 20 minutes with a counselor during their entire high school career to help with career or college advising. Our youth need and deserve more.”

According to the county, I Know I Can is the only college access and success organization in Columbus and one of the largest and most successful in the nation. It is in its third year of a college and career advising expansion model, placing full-time college experts in every Columbus City high school. The goal is to ensure that every Columbus student is prepared for and has the choice of enrolling in college and entering a career after high school.

The program was expanded into South-Western and Whitehall City Schools.

Faust said advisors will start off at Westland and Franklin Heights, but he would like to see it expand into Central Crossing and Grove City High School as well.

“We need to see how it works,” he said.

The funding starts this year, but Faust said the kick-off date is yet to be determined.

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