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MCPS, Montgomery College Partner to Support College Readiness

A new program will work with black, Hispanic, low-income and first-generation college students at eight high schools in Montgomery County, including Montgomery Blair.

Hundreds of Montgomery County students from groups that are underrepresented in higher education—including African-American, Hispanic, low-income and students whose parents didn’t go to college—will receive extra attention next year to encourage college readiness.

Montgomery County Public Schools partnered with Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove to create Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a program that will launch at Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, Gaithersburg, John F. Kennedy, Northwood, Rockville, Watkins Mill and Wheaton High Schools the 2013-2014 school year.

Participating students will be identified by the school district in ninth grade and will receive “comprehensive interventions and support to help keep them on track for college enrollment,” a release from the school district explained.

Beginning in 11th grade, academic coaches from Montgomery College will collaborate with students and parents on a “college-going success” plan.

Once students reach Montgomery College and ultimately the Universities at Shady Grove, they’ll continue to benefit from coaching and academic support.

MCPS estimates that 60 students at each grade level, at each of the eight schools, will participate in ACES. 

Students in the program aren’t guaranteed scholarships to attend the local colleges, the release stated, but the school district and the colleges will work to find private and corporate donors to fund scholarships for partipants. A $10,000 anonymous donation to The Community Foundation for Montgomery County is helping to kick off the program’s scholarship fund, said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College.

“ACES provides a unique opportunity for our organizations to come together to help reclaim the American Dream for those students at greatest risk of failing to achieve college degrees,” Pollard said. “ACES will change the lives of our students, our families, and our Montgomery County community.”

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