On November 28th, the University of Minnesota's Coffman Memorial Union buzzed with energy as more than 200 high school students from Get Ready's affiliate high schools gathered for the inaugural Future Postsecondary Pathways Conference.
The event commenced with an inspiring opening speech delivered by Madyson Sklar, recent Drake University graduate and recipient of the Oreon E. Scott Outstanding Senior of the Year Award. Sklar's words resonated with attendees as she urged them, "Remember, don’t miss out on the gems that are being given to you." This set the tone for a day filled with exploration, enlightenment, and empowerment.
The students embarked on a personalized journey through a variety of informational sessions, panels, and workshops. Topics ranged from a variety of postsecondary and career paths to scholarships, skillsets, and the art of navigating life after high school. A pivotal highlight was the college and career fair, where students engaged with representatives from over 25 diverse colleges and organizations, broadening their horizons. As the day unfolded, it became evident that the Future Postsecondary Pathways Conference not only ignited passion but also provided tangible resources for students to carve out their academic and professional trajectories.
Get Ready anticipates hosting an additional Future Postsecondary Pathways Conference specifically tailored for high school juniors this coming March. These conferences stand as a testament to Get Ready's unwavering commitment to achieving a 100% graduation rate and enrollment in postsecondary programs. By continuously supporting students across Minnesota, Get Ready is fostering a brighter, more empowered future for all.
Although school ended on June 14, 2023 for Como Park Senior High School students, the work continued on for a highly dedicated group of Como teachers and counselors this summer, as they supported the Get Ready Summer Melt Advising initiative. According to the U.S. Department of Education “about 10 to 20 percent of college eligible students [nationally] melt away, most of which are low-income minority students planning to enroll in community college,” (Summer Melt | U.S. Department of Education). To help combat this, the Get Ready program partnered up with capacity school staff and counselors to provide ongoing summer support to help students navigate through the unfinished challenges of financial aid, enrollment verifications, course registration, move-in logistics, and more. Here are staff testimonials from these education champions and their experiences as Summer Melt Advisers.
Testimony from Erik Erickson, Como History/Social Studies Teacher:
“My work with the Get Ready program this summer revealed the numerous barriers many students face when attempting to start ... Read more
Testimony from Jeff Caulum, Como English & ESL Teacher:
Before working with the Summer Melt initiative this past summer, it had never even occurred to me that students who had ... Read more
Testimony from Annie Strupeck, English & ESL Teacher:
The Summer Melt Initiative is a great way to connect students with support and resources, to help them achieve their life goals and move ... Read more
Inspiration ran high in Brooklyn Center on July 31st as the Heritage Center was flooded with students, faculty, staff, and proud family members for the first annual Get Ready Student Success Scholarship Ceremony. The ceremony celebrated 226 students from thirteen Get Ready outreach and partner schools throughout the state who received a scholarship.
Festivities began with a social hour, where screens flashed with student quotations on the changes they wanted to make in the world. Get Ready's Program Innovation and Research Manager, Veronica Deenanath, and Director Patrick Milton delivered welcoming remarks, followed by an inspirational keynote speech by Commissioner Dennis Olson, who concluded with a reminder to students: "Be proud of yourself, because your family and community are proud of you."
Each school was represented with a celebratory opening from their Get Ready Pathways Coordinator or faculty member before scholars were applauded for their achievements. Students were also supplied with professional headshots to support their future career paths.
Each scholar received awards (ranging from $2,000 to $4,000) to attend a postsecondary education program within the state of Minnesota, as well as wrap-around services such as advising and access to support during their first year. In total, $800,000 was awarded to the 2023 class of Get Ready Student Success Scholars. The impact of this scholarship will boost our students' abilities to pursue their postsecondary pathways and persist.
"We are so proud of each and every one of you," Deenanath expressed in her speech. "By receiving this scholarship, scholars will have access to a success coach and resources to navigate the first year of their program. We recognize how stressful the first year can be and we want to do our best to fully support you. We will be one phone call, email, and text away on this journey with you. All of you are trailblazer, and I am looking forward to see the legacy that you will leave for the next generation."
This year, 91% of the Get Ready Scholars are students of color, 65% are first-generation college students, and 100% have demonstrated financial need.
The Student Success Scholarship is just one way that Get Ready strives to reach our goal of 100% graduation rate and enrollment in a postsecondary program, all while continuously supporting the students and families of Minnesota.