The typical question every child is asked at one point in their life is: what do you want to be when you grow up? But at Atlanta Heights Charter School (AHCS), in the Adamsville neighborhood, the question is phrased differently. Teachers are asking their students, “Where do you want to go to college?”
This important question has no age limit as kindergartners are welcomed to school with a t-shirt printed with the words college bound across the front. AHCS hosts college t-shirt days for students and college pendants adorn the middle school hallway.
Lower Elementary Dean Kimberly Johnson knows the importance of teaching students about college readiness from a very early age.
“At Atlanta Heights Charter School we believe that college prep begins in kindergarten. As part of our career awareness initiative, our kindergarten scholars learn about various community professions, such as nurses, teachers, doctors, and lawyers,” said Johnson. “The kindergarteners also learn that the road to college begins during their first year of elementary school.”
The college bound message continues in various ways throughout each grade level and begins to intensify as students reach middle school. Inspire holds high school nights inviting area high school representatives to share information on their school’s academics and culture. Allowing students and their parents to start planning for the next step.
AHCS college bound program also includes college and career readiness lessons, guest speakers from various professions at Moral Focus assemblies, and college campus tours. While touring campuses, students see what a college campus looks like, talk to current students, and learn about the requirements for admission.
Introducing the college message from the start of a child’s educational journey sets the stage for higher academic achievement, better performance in high school, and discovering a career path.
“Our conversations about college stretches beyond kindergarten,” said Johnson. “We talk about going to college with all scholars in the building, kindergarten through eighth grade. We encourage students to talk about what they might want to study in college and teachers share their college experiences as well.”
Atlanta Heights Charter Academy, operated by National Heritage Academies, is a tuition-free public charter school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the Adamsville area.