New Partnership Sparks Bright Future for AU and D.C. Students

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In fall 2018, American University president Sylvia Burwell and Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, dean of the School of Education, welcomed the first cohort of D.C. high school students enrolled in the dual enrollment program at AU.

American University must be "a part of, not apart from" Washington, D.C.'s people and neighborhoods, said AU President Sylvia Burwell during her inaugural speech in April 2018. Faculty and students are taking part in a variety of exciting projects that connect AU with every corner of the District.

One high-impact project is a new partnership between AU's School of Education (SOE) and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In fall 2018, SOE officially welcomed its first cohort of D.C. high school students to a new dual enrollment program, which offers students a pathway to take college-level education courses at AU during their senior year in high school. At the same time, it promises to produce future teachers for the D.C. school system.

Students in the dual enrollment program are introduced to teaching as a career option and accrue early college credit for education degrees. They are also provided hands-on support and guidance in applying to American University as part of SOE's Teacher Pipeline Program, where they will receive scholarship support to earn a bachelor's degree in education and progress along a professional development track that culminates with a five-year commitment to serve as an educator in a D.C. public school.

"We are thrilled to welcome our first cohort of eight extraordinarily talented DCPS 12th-graders," says Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, dean of SOE. "I am impressed by their passion for education, and I'm excited about the prospect of training them to be teachers. With looming teacher shortages and sharp declines in the number of teachers of color, this program has the potential to supply D.C. with a pipeline of new, diverse teachers."

The enrolled students are also enthusiastic and ready for the challenge of college classes. "When I heard about this program from my counselor, I was very interested because it's such a good opportunity to learn about college and what it's really like," says Karla Ascenio, a senior at D.C.'s Cardozo High School who is interested in becoming a mathematics teacher.

AU's partnership with DCPS represents meaningful engagement with the university's local city, as it provides homegrown talent the rigorous education, career training, and field experience needed to become exceptional teachers who serve the community. "We will help the city fill a significant need—teachers—and participants would give back to their own communities while securing a great career in education," Holcomb-McCoy says.

Extend Your Impact

Contact Seth D. Speyer today at speyer@american.edu or 202-885-3411 to learn more about how you can invest in American University's promising new partnerships such as the dual enrollment program. By contributing to AU, you support not only our exceptional students and faculty, but also the communities they positively impact, in D.C. and beyond.

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