High Schools

How High Schools can partner with Colleges to reach and motivate non-traditional students

Why Might Your High School Want to Partner With a Liberal Arts College in Your Region to Help Non-Traditional Learners?

What Does it Mean to Become a NAB Partner High School?

Partner High Schools work with a local liberal arts college to help prepare more of its high school students for a full-time liberal arts college experience—if this is what those students really want. Such a partnership involves frequent interaction of staff and students who volunteer to be part of the NAB with college students and teachers. The aim is to help non-traditional learners take more responsibility for their own learning, improve their communication skills, and get more out of what your high school as to offer.

Who Are These “Non-Traditional” Students and Why Should They Be Interested?

They are likely to be young people who do not come from college-educated families and who are not enrolled in Honors or AP courses but who are intelligent and potentially capable of challenging themselves with the help of mentors. They may be the kinds of students who work hard in certain courses and “blow off” those that don’t seem meaningful. They are often described as “kids who are a lot smarter than they show us.”

Why Can’t They Get What They Need From Our Regular Academic Program?

Some can, and will. But without strong family and peer support, they often look at high school as “something to get over with,” and fail to take full advantage of what your high school offers. Many lack role models. Some protect themselves from the shame of failure by just not trying very hard to succeed. Or they just don’t see how our “education system” relates to people like them. Once they’ve failed a course or two they are pretty sure that “college” is beyond their reach—even if a big part of them wishes otherwise.

Who Are the People in Our School Who Might Lead This Partnership?

In every high school there are adults: teachers, guidance personnel, administrators, and office staff who have a place in their hearts for these “outlier” kids—they recognize the potential that lies under that defiant or unmotivated façade; they realize that without strong parental support, many “honors” kids would share the same fate. These are the educators who might welcome a partnership with college faculty and student mentors.

How Might a NAB Partnership Help All Students in Our School?

Many of us lament a lack of “self-motivation for learning” among too many students (even those who are busy working for straight-A averages). By focusing heavily on “taking charge of your learning,” NAB mentors can instill a greater level of “ownership” for all students.

What Other Advantages Might There Be to Joining as a NAB Partner?

Among the benefits:

  • Raising rates of graduation and college acceptance among non-traditional students
  • Enhancing expectations for such learners among school staff
  • Having college student mentors as part of the high school community
  • Being part of a national network of “NAB Partner High Schools” and attending regional and national conferences.