My Son’s After School University Journey

Slowly, I drove through the parking lot of Eagleview Middle School, trying to spot my youngest son, Joseph, waiting for me.  He looked so sad and withdrawn.  It was his first year in middle school.  He is usually a happy and compassionate person, with the strongest desire to learn.  His years at Foothills Elementary were blessed by an incredible talented and gifted (TAG) program. The TAG program was run by an amazing teacher.  But, now in middle school, his motivation for learning was slowly dissolving it seemed. He was so depressed every day; I felt desperate, almost frantic, to do something.  My oldest son had the same issues at Eagleview, and he never recovered the motivation for learning.  They are completely different people, with Joseph being more introverted than my oldest son. This made me feel even more helpless. 

Then one day Joseph brought home a flyer about a science day at the University of Colorado Springs (UCCS) and it was associated with the After School University. We both excited to see what this was about. We both attended and the Physics Professor asked Joseph’s lots of questions. We also met Maria Feekes, who gave us some more information about the individualized tutoring program at After School University. 

Over the next four years, Joseph attended at After School University Calculus, Physics, and several programming classes. He learned LabView, C++ and Java. Although the actual middle school classes did not keep him challenged, the courses at After School University did. It allowed him then to go into high school while being in 8th grade, and accelerate to the level of his abilities from there. Joseph recently graduated from Air Academy with a 4.7 GPA, 19 hours of Math from UCCS and 37 AP credits. He is attending the Colorado School of Mines, with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Physics. And most of all, Joseph’s thirst of learning lives on, which actually is a tremendous source of happiness for Joseph.  After School University played a vital and critical role in supporting his learning journey.  Looking back, we both agree that we would do the same thing again.

Joseph at his graduation from Air Academy High School

Does an A in school become an A in life?

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Very often we get a comment like this: "My kid is getting strait As in school. He or she is doing all the work that is required of them. We are not sure what else to give. We really think that our kid is prepared for college and life."

Our question back is: "If our kids are getting everything they need in school, why do we have the statistics like that?"

Today we are just raising a question...

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Attrition Rates

According to the Education Policy Institute, just 43 of 1,669 U.S. universities and colleges have attrition rates of 10% or less. Among them are Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton, and name-brand schools like Stanford and MIT.

A total of 266 of 1,669 U.S. universities and colleges have attrition rates between 11% and 30%.

At the majority of U.S. colleges, the attrition rate tops 50%. In other words, most of their students fail to graduate.

College Readiness

According to the College Board,  58% of SAT test takers do not meet SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. This is a measurement of readiness to take college entry, credit bearing courses without remediation.

Score Against International Peers

In its most recent study, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that among 15-year-olds in 34 developed countries, American students ranked 26th in math and 21st in science. Meanwhile, Asian Pacific and European countries made up the entire Top 10.

 

 

A note from the founder

I grew up in an education system quite different from that of the U.S. And when my oldest daughter first went to school in America, I found that what she studied paled in comparison to what I had learned at her age, and to what children of my friends internationally were learning. 

I love America, and believe it is the world’s most innovative nation. But we can’t be blinded by past successes. Kids in other countries are routinely learning more and working harder. They are getting better at critical thinking and problem-solving. Over and over, statistics reveal that as compared to their peers in Asia and Europe, our kids are underperforming — especially in math and science. Labor experts continue to warn that our children are falling behind in the global economy.

Change happens slowly in our education system. And yet, our children can’t wait. I don’t want my kids, or yours, to earn a 4.0 within a C-level curriculum and believe that’s good enough. I don’t want them to find out the hard way that even with AP and IB experience, they will lag behind college classmates from Asia and Europe. I don’t want them to leave the major of their choice, as up to 50% of American college students do, because they can’t keep up.

I want our children to be the best they can be. And I believe that together, we can help them get there.

Maria Feekes