The College and Career Office of the Renaissance Charter School, in keeping with the mission of our school, is dedicated to developing leaders with an abiding respect for peace, human rights, the environment, and sustainable development. We strive to foster educated, responsible, and humanistic young leaders who have a thorough understanding of New York City’s unique heritage and who will spark a "renaissance" in our city. We seek to prepare students to become independent learners with unconditional regard for others and themselves, able to achieve academic success and acquire the skills they need to participate productively as global citizens.
The components of the College and Career Program include classes to support students’ success in high school and orient them to the college application process, individual conferences with students, and evening meetings with parents based on grade-level needs. In addition, the College and Career Office also coordinates our high school’s Leadership Program, which pairs students with community opportunities to develop leadership skills and lifetime capacity for active citizenship and civic engagement. The College and Career Office (CCO) staff work with all high school students during each grade to provide nuanced attention to individual students’ needs and our unique school culture to create a support structure that has resulted in a 4-6 year graduation rate between 93-98% over the last 10 years.
The College Bound Team is composed of the following staff members: College Advisor/Coordinator for College Bound, Senior Seminar/Literacy Skills teacher, Leadership Coordinator/College Bound Associate, and High School Registrar. The program is under the direction of Stacey Gauthier, TRCS Principal. The Team collaborates with faculty and staff to build a curriculum and provide enrichment opportunities for the academic and social growth of our students. Additionally, the College Bound staff work closely with the Instructional Support Team to provide services to students with special needs.
College Bound Curricula
The curricula for College Bound classes are tailored to support student success both in high school and after graduation.
Beginning in the ninth grade, students learn about post-secondary options, such as colleges and trade schools, during college bound classes and through school-wide events. Freshmen work with Program staff to become acquainted with the requirements of high school and work toward acquiring time-management, study, and test-taking skills. They begin preparation for the PSAT, SAT/ACT and other tests required by colleges. Students become familiar with test formats, engage in writing and math activities, and take practice tests. Students are encouraged to attend college open houses and informational sessions.
Sophomores work with Program staff to track their progress towards graduation. All sophomores take the PSAT. The test results allow high school staff to address the needs of individual students and of the class as a whole. Tenth graders spend a portion of the school year strengthening skills targeted by test results, both through class activities and homework. Students also begin to research careers and college majors that correspond with their interest. Tenth graders also complete resumes and cover letters.
Juniors thoroughly research colleges that meet their needs. They are required to prepare extensive profiles that detail the entrance requirements, academic and sport programs, and student life for each college. Students take the PSAT in October and the SAT and ACT in the spring of junior year. Coursework includes test preparation activities, resume and cover letter writing, as well as an introduction to college application essays.
In keeping with our school’s mission to develop leaders, the junior class is charged with the responsibility of organizing a “Social Justice Day” under the guidance of the College Advisor, an event attended by the entire high school student body. Juniors research, prepare, and facilitate workshops on issues such as sexism, racism, and class-ism. In addition to the workshops, eleventh graders plan the schedule and assign students in other grades to workshops based on an interest questionnaire juniors design, distribute, and analyze. TRCS students often cite their involvement in Social Justice Day as one of the highlights of their high school experience. The junior class also organizes a Career Day for all high school students, under the supervision of the College Advisor. Juniors invite speakers from professions in which they are interested, recruiting from staff and parent networks as well as professional associations.
Seniors complete their college, scholarship, and financial aid applications. They finalize their portfolios and use them to prepare applications and present themselves during interviews. In addition to discussing the mechanics of applications, college bound classes address the stresses of transitioning to college and the challenges of freshmen year. The topics range from choosing a roommate to creating a successful study environment in a dorm or at home. Moreover, students work on their writing, research and critical reading skills. They are required to submit a research paper that meets college-level standards. Once all colleges have responded, seniors meet with members of the College Bound team to discuss their options, which include financial considerations.
The Leadership Program
Through the Leadership Program, College and Career Office staff motivate students to find their own answers to two essential questions directly related to TRCS’s mission: “How can I make the world a better place?” and “How do I want to contribute to the world when I am older?”
All students in grades 9-12 are required to participate in a leadership, volunteer, or internship program each semester of high school, with 9th grade students engaging in Leadership Program activities on-site at TRCS, 10th grade students participating in Leadership Program activities either on-site at TRCS or at an outside organization, and 11th and 12th grade students participating in Leadership Program activities at an outside organization. The College and Career Office leverages TRCS’s many partnerships and relationships with nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, and other organizations across NYC to create a wide variety of internship, service learning, and related opportunities.A major component of the College Bound Program is parent outreach and involvement. Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college; many parents do not speak English. We have been very successful in engaging parents in discussions and workshops about the college bound process and the responsibilities of all stakeholders (parents, students, and teachers). We encourage parents to meet with teachers to discuss academic and social expectations and to make sure that students are on track for graduation and college. Parent volunteers enhance the program by acting as chaperons on trips and by speaking during career day.
Parent Outreach and Involvement
Parent Outreach and Involvement
We serve our students by availing ourselves of the resources offered by organizations such as New Visions and the College Access Consortium of New York (CACNY). Moreover, we have built solid relationships with programs and institutions which offer academic, volunteer and internship opportunities to our students beginning in the ninth grade. Our students have participated in programs at the American Museum of Natural History, Global Kids/Council on Foreign Relations, The New York Historical Society, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Weill-Cornell Youth Scholars, the Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation (READ), Noguchi Museum, Make the Road New York, to name a few.
City University of New York (CUNY) College Now
TRCS students take college-level courses through the CUNY College Now programs at Queens, Hunter, Baruch and other senior colleges, as well as community colleges such as La Guardia and Queensborough. Our goal is not only to have our students enroll in college; it is also to support them once they are accepted. We maintain contact with our alumni. Staff provide academic and social support to our graduates. If an alumnus has difficulty with math, she will seek out one of our math teachers. If she requires assistance in formulating the thesis for a paper, she contacts one of our humanities teachers. Alumni regularly speak to our current students about college life and about the steps they must take to ensure academic success.