On Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, the Greenfield Team took another significant step in providing our 8th graders Pivotal Moments. In a span of 36 hours, our team toured five college campuses over three Southern California counties. Prior to the trip, we involved parents and guardians in a meeting with students in our theater to reinforce the significance of these trips and the importance of a college-going mindset for both students and parents.
On Friday, 160 8th graders visited SDSU, Point Loma, & UCSD. Students toured campuses, interacted with current students, and cheered on the Tritons to a quadruple-overtime victory over the Aztecs in water polo.
On Saturday, 125 students began their day at UCLA. They witnessed another quadruple-overtime collegiate water polo event as the #2 Bruins defeated #3 Stanford. Students toured the historic Westwood campus and left inspired (and exhausted). The two-day event wrapped up at UC Irvine for a brief visit.
What made this experience even more significant for students is that Greenfield team members shared their passion for their own universities with students. History Teacher Will Stuchell served as the students’ tour guide at SDSU, his alma mater, and SECA Stephanie Christian (current Aztec) also supported the experience for students. English Teacher Aimi Ah Sing helped coordinate the visit to her alma mater at Pt. Loma. Current student tour guides took smaller groups of our students through the campus and answered quality questions from Greenfield students about the college experience and what it takes to gain admission and be successful. While at UCLA, Principal Greg Calvert led students on a walking tour of the dorms, Bruin Walk, the Hall of Champions, the quad, and north campus, including the sculpture garden with jacarandas in spring bloom.
These ongoing efforts are focused on creating Pivotal Moments for students to help them improve their college-going mindset and build skills to help them succeed in the field of education. This experience was made available to all 8th grade GMS students with transportation costs provided by site allocations. Our team made individual efforts to encourage every student to attend. As a result, over 70% of our class of 2016 will promote to high school with concrete experiences on university campuses and an improved mindset that they will attend college.
It is critical to acknowledge the entire team effort that it took from site and district staff to create this opportunity for our students:
- Office staff for the organization and support prior to, days of, and post.
- Cafeteria and custodial staff for organizing food and ensuring an illuminated pick-up area upon our return to school.
- Special Education instructional staff who advocated strongly that we get one student on the trip who mistakenly remained on campus. Our staff coordinated the rendezvous effort, and he attended both days.
- Health Office staff for providing detailed, organized health info and training.
- Counseling and administrative staff for helping with the parent meeting.
- District Transportation staff and Bus Drivers for their coordination and teamwork.
- Staff on site who provided instruction for students who did not attend the trip.
- The entire G-House team for supporting the trip.
The most rewarding feedback from students included simple comments like, “I’m going to Point Loma.” Another student responded to a question about why he liked UCSD more than the other schools, he said, “It just fit me more.” With more experiences and conversations like these, we will continue to create Pivotal Moments that will inspire students to success beyond their education in Cajon Valley schools.
Gregory Calvert, Principal
Greenfield Middle School