State grant funds prep program for Indiana University Kokomo freshmen

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SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. – A $24,500 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) will provide a free boot camp program for all incoming Indiana University Kokomo freshmen. 

Christina Downey, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success, said the goal is to help the students successfully transition to college, after completing high school at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know this class is particularly vulnerable to not making a successful transition to college, because of events of the last few months,” she said. “This grant allows us to bring all of them to campus, for two days of core preparation for being  here this fall. They will get to explore campus, ask questions, find their classes, make some friends, and feel what it’s going to be like on campus with the COVID-19 protocols.”

Most students will participate in four-hour sessions, over two days, taught by faculty who will lead the first-year seminar classes. Downey noted most students will be placed with the seminar class they will be in during the academic year, allowing them to meet their classmates and instructors before the fall semester starts on August 24.

The campus has traditionally hosted a summer bridge program for a smaller number of students, and the grant allows it to include the entire class — approximately 650 students.

Downey said the program is particularly important to this incoming class, because of the challenges they faced at the end of last school year. Many of them ended their school year at home with distance learning, and completed college visits and orientation virtually.

“They didn’t get to finish all of the rituals and celebrations of the end of high school,” she said. “They didn’t get to celebrate the end of something a few months ago, but now they can celebrate the start of something new.”

She added that some are skeptical of remote learning, but will see examples of the engaging, high-quality virtual learning that will be part of the experience this year at IU Kokomo. Classes begin on campus, and continue through November 20, with the last three weeks of the fall semester taught remotely.

The second semester will begin remotely January 20, with students returning to campus February 8.

Downey said incoming students will receive information about the free summer program in their IU emails. For more information, contact her at downeyca@iuk.edu or 765-455-9385.

For more information about the 2020 to 2021 academic year schedule, go to fall2020.iuk.edu.

IU Kokomo was one of 11 college, university, and community partners sharing in $135,190 awarded by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE), in partnership with Indiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).

The Summer 2020 COVID-19 Learning Support Grants aim to help students who may experience learning loss due to school closures and the transition to online learning, and will support collaborative efforts that fit within summer tutoring and pre-college boot camps. Programs will be focused on students who are most vulnerable to learning loss.

Summer learning loss – known as “summer melt” or “summer slide” – is a common issue for students, particularly in the areas of reading and mathematics. Summer learning loss is expected to be even greater heading into the fall, following the impact of COVID-19 and extended school closures. One study projects students will return to school in the fall having retained up to about 70 percent of their learning gains from a typical year in reading, while only retaining up to 50 percent of their learning gains in math.

“Hoosier students need support to move forward and navigate the higher education system during such unprecedented times,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education “Low-income and underrepresented populations in particular are facing greater challenges related to technology access and other disruptions to their traditional learning environments. It’s critical we help all Hoosiers prepare for the already-challenging transition from high school to postsecondary education.”

Experience is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.