Comprehensive College Partnerships Provide Opportunity at Neumann-Goretti

By Rory Sweeney, Ss. Nuemann-Goretti Director of Community Partnerships

At some schools, when a teacher tells a student “college starts in high school” the teacher is referring to the fact that the skills students learn, and the grades student achieve in high school influence college and career options. At Saints Neumann Goretti, the idea that college starts in high school has a more literal meaning as partnerships with La Salle University, Manor College, and Neumann University allow students to earn college credits while they are still in high school.

Through partnerships with Neumann University and Manor College, Neumann-Goretti students have the opportunity to be instructed by college professors and conveniently earn college credits in the Neumann-Goretti building. Through these ‘dual enrollment courses’ students earn college credits in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Public Speaking.

Neumann-Goretti student Sarah Oduwole.

Sarah Oduwole, a Senior enrolled in Neumann University’s Sociology course, had the following to say about her class, “The class size is ideal, we are able to relate to one another and share ideas. Our professor helps to prepare us for college life by treating us like adults, but also by being available to us for support and conversation.” Ms. Oduwole offered some words of wisdom for future students in dual enrollment courses, “The college courses offered at Neumann-Goretti will challenge you to become even more organized and independent. It’s great to learn these skills now instead of during your first year of college.”

La Salle University’s generosity and commitment to the local community manifests itself in several partnerships that benefit Neumann-Goretti students. Through tuition free programs including Diocesan Scholars, Transformation Scholars, and Summer Scholars, a select number of Neumann-Goretti students have the opportunity to earn college credits on campus at La Salle. In addition to earning college credits, these partnerships promote college access by giving students the opportunity to become familiar with the college environment and ease anxiety regarding the transition to college.

Travis Short, a junior at Ss. John Neumann and Maria Goretti, had the opportunity to travel to La Salle University’s campus and earn credits in Computer Science. When asked to comment on his experience at La Salle, Mr. Short explained, “I was a bit scared going into a class of college students, but the classroom environment for my course was welcoming. I also appreciated the ‘real world applications’ that were integrated into the curriculum.”

In addition to credit bearing partnerships, Neumann-Goretti participates in collaborations with institutions of higher learning to expand the school’s staff. Through a partnership with The Pennsylvania College Advising Corps (PCAC), Neumann-Goretti is staffed with an adviser that focuses exclusively on assisting students in the college process. PCAC places well-trained, recent college graduates in high schools across Pennsylvania to serve as full-time College Advisers.

Sponsored by Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, and Millersville University, PCAC College Advisers engage high school students and their families throughout the career exploration and postsecondary planning processes. Advisers provide broad information about opportunities after high school, and assist students in submitting financial aid applications, finding scholarships, figuring out college match and fit, revising essays, exploring careers, and preparing for the transition to college.

Additionally, through a partnership with the Alliance for Catholic Education at Saint Joseph’s University (ACESJU) Neumann-Goretti brings talented young professionals into the building to serve as teachers and staff members. ACESJU is an innovative two-year graduate fellowship program that provides recent college graduates the opportunity to serve in Catholic schools while pursuing a fully funded master’s degree. As a result of the partnership with ACESJU, Neumann-Goretti has expanded course offerings in mathematics, science, and English. The work of ACESJU fellows also led to the development of a team of administration and staff that works to align supports for students who are struggling academically and/or socially.