Meredith’s Romo Steps Beyond The Classroom To Increase College Awareness for Middle Schoolers

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Though they can never be thanked enough, Monday, May 4 starts “Teacher Appreciation Week” (#ThankATeacher for those on Twitter), a week dedicated to celebrating the impact that teachers have on everyone in the community. Teachers often have a reach that extends beyond the classroom, making a real difference in the lives of both the students they see everyday and the world that student touches.

Each day this week, we’ll join in the celebration and #ThankATeacher for the work they are doing to transcend their normal teaching duties. Carrie Romo, a Spanish teacher at Meredith Middle School in Des Moines, has worked to increase college awareness in 7th and 8th graders, and giving students a goal for their hard work before reaching high school. Romo tells about the creation of “College A-Wear-ness Wednesdays” at Meredith and how the program impacts students:

Meredith Middle School's Carrie Romo

In January, Meredith began a new tradition called “College A-Wear-ness Wednesdays,”  the last Wednesday of every month. This idea was birthed by our principal David Johns.  He approached me with the idea and asked if it was something I would help to lead and facilitate due to my involvement with our “Dream 2 Teach” program (a program that mentors 7th and 8th graders who may want to become teachers through college prep and career exploration).

It didn’t take me long to think. I quickly accepted and began working with students to begin spreading the word.  On College A-wear-ness Wednesday, all staff and students are invited to participate by wearing college apparel.  Our staff definitely enjoys sporting their alma mater and they also take time out of each class period to discuss different aspects of their college journey and experiences with students.  This has spiked a lot of excitement and interest amongst Meredith students!

I have had several teachers approach me after a Wednesday and tell me that their students asked tons of questions and were excited about their future opportunities.  In addition, it has allowed some staff to reconnect with their alma mater and request donations which we giveaway to students through participation in trivia questions, whole school assemblies and general involvement on that day.

We often hear that “college is not for everyone.” But at Meredith we believe every student should and will have the opportunity to go to college regardless of their ethnic background, country of origin, socioeconomic status or other perceivable barriers.  We know that college preparation truly begins in middle school and College A-wear-ness Wednesday is helping us to foster college awareness at Meredith Middle School.

Thanks to Carrie Romo and the great teaching staff at Meredith Middle School for their hard work and passion to engage a college-going culture in their school!

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