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Nov 08, 2016 09:24 AM EST

Student College Readiness Is What ACORN Community High School Aims For

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Schools aim to produce the best graduates, and for ACORN Community High School principal Andrea Piper, it's more than just seeing students graduate from high school - she wants them ready for college.

ACORN Community High School, located at 561 Grand Ave. in Crown Heights, isn't just focused on meeting the various needs of its mostly black and Caribbean male students, reports DNAInfo. It's focused on their "college readiness."

Piper, who has been the school principal since 2009, said the they are focused on helping the students believe that they can achieve higher education.

"Some of them are in a place where they're like, 'I don't know if I can do this.' And it's always about getting them to a place where they say 'I can' instead of 'I can't,'" she said.

With that goal in mind, ACORN offers its students the chance to earn college credits even before leaving high school: through its own offering of AP and dual-degree classes, as well as college classes made available to ACORN's students through a partnership with Medgar Evers College and Long Island University.

Not only that, ACORN also celebrates a "College and Career Readiness" day where alumni are invited to talk to current students about what college life is like. The school also cheers students on as they submit their college applications The school also cheers students on as they submit their college applications.

"At the end of that [College Readiness day], we do a big parade down to the post office to mail their applications. We try to hype it up because it's a big deal," Piper said.

College readiness, according to the Center for College Readiness, means that a student can enter college without the need for remediation, and succeed in completing entry-level college requirements.

ACORN Community High School gives extra effort to meeting the needs of its students. A Learning Environment Survey, conducted by the New York City Department of Education in 2012, has found that according to students, their teachers greatly inspire them to learn in school, and apply what they learned in their lives outside the school.

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