The Armory College Prep (ACP) program exemplifies our long-term commitment to “keeping kids on track” by adding to our sports venue an after-school educational program to increase college opportunity for underserved New York public high school and middle school students. Educational attainment is more important to our economic success than ever before, and maximizing our students’ potential has been part of the Armory Foundation’s renewed academic achievement initiative, providing academic resources and support to high school and middle-school students that practice on the Armory track all winter. Going the extra mile to increase college opportunities for our student athletes is a clear reflection of our values.
There are twice-weekly individual or small-group college counseling sessions each semester, where students will be guided through the challenging process of identifying the right colleges to explore. With over 4,000 colleges in the country to choose from, it can be daunting at first. Our counselors are here to make suggestions, and to learn about the goals, needs, and strengths of each applicant so that we can create a solid list of colleges that are good “fits” for each student.
Our ultimate goal is to have each ACP student apply to at least 2-3 colleges on or before November 30th of their senior year, and at least 6 colleges altogether by December 31st of senior year. History tells us that following that schedule gives students the best chance to not only be accepted, but also to position our students in the best light to receive significant financial aid packages that make the schools affordable.
Writing Coaching for College and Scholarship Essays
There are several opportunities per semester for instruction and support for the series of essays that students need to write in order to apply to college, and to apply for scholarships (some of which must be applied for prior to senior year). These essays are highly competitive, and crucial to the process. They can be the difference between being accepted into a school or not getting in, and between receiving a scholarship, and not receiving it. Our track record of success on both counts speaks for itself; in the 2015 - 2016 academic year, ACP students have achieved the following honors: New York Times Scholarship Winner, Gates Millennium Scholarship Finalist, Bonner Scholarship Winner, Questbridge College Prep Scholar. As of February 2017, we have two students who have made the finals in the New York Times Scholarship Contest and for a second year in a row, a Questbridge College Prep Scholar.
In our continuous effort to maximize our students’ potential with measurable outcomes, the ACP academic program for high school students was revamped in 2014. The new program has adopted a rigorous academic achievement model that includes Math and English classes twice a week, and continuous remote support throughout the week. The program uses Khan Academy’s platform to assist our students with 24/7 curated videos and exercises, access to timed SAT practice tests with real-time results, as well as in-class and remote coaching resources to assist students in achieving proficiency in Math and English. The approach allows our academic coaching staff to create individualized Math and English study plans for the development of strong foundation skills. The program tracks students’ progress, applies early intervention for those in need, and allows high achievers to progress faster towards proficiency. By focusing on foundation skills, the program is enabling our students to significantly improve their academic performance at school, while also maximizing their performance on standardized tests (SAT/ACT and Regents). More than 58% of ACP students scored above the national SAT average in 2015, a 43% increase in two years, and this figure is expected to be surpassed in 2016.
ACP is not only about math, reading and writing. ACP helps students gain the confidence they need to overcome both academic and socio-economic challenges ahead. As part of an increased effort to enhance social skills while driving academic curiosity, ACP high school students engage with graduate students and research fellows in local universities where they learn first-hand how cultural diversity plays a significant role in driving innovation, not to mention the early exposure into many different academic fields and professional disciplines. We want students to discover not only who they are and what they can do, but also what they would love to do. Students should be willing to learn new things, engage productively, work hard, take risks, and prepare to fail and get back up and ‘strive’ harder than ever. If students can develop resilience and passion for learning, and can combine that with the ability to think and write critically while also expressing themselves clearly, there is no doubt that they can create their own path to success.
There will also be a “Great Books” course that helps students prepare for the reading and writing demands of college by examining many of the classic works of literature. There will also be a “Road to College” course that lays out a successful path to college. This course emphasizes the requirements, deadlines, events, and guidelines for a high school student (of all ages/grades) on the road to college. We offer acting and public speaking classes that culminate in an end-of-session showcase.
Armory College Prep is open to students who train at The Armory. Those interested in the program are encouraged to contact Karen Gutierrez, by stopping by the Classroom 2 Everywhere on the first floor of The Armory, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone [212.923.1803 x7081].