As I come to the end of my second VISTA term I can think of no better way to wrap things up than attending the Points of Light Conference in Detroit. It was energizing and motivating to spend three days with so many people working so hard to make our world a better place. I joined AmeriCorps State in 2012 and MNA VISTA in 2014 because I wanted to do meaningful work. I had no idea what an incredibly fulfilling experience it would be. The last four years laid the groundwork for a career in the nonprofit sector.
Within the first hour at the Cobo Center at the beginning of the conference I experienced a “This is your Life in AmeriCorps” moment. I saw so many of the incredible people from around the state that I have had the opportunity to work with during my service. Jeanine Yard and Megan Foresman from the Michigan Community Service Commission, several of my LeaderCorps colleagues, current and former fellow MNA VISTAs, and members of my Leadership With Purpose cohort. My VISTA terms have given me a purpose and direction for my career and a confidence in my abilities and instincts that I honestly don’t think I could have achieved anywhere else.
I left Detroit with a sense of pride and contentment in my accomplishments at the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College. I am grateful for the training and support from the VISTA Leaders, Program Managers, and my fellow VISTAs. I am excited to see where life leads me next.
Hello again from Marquette, Michigan. It is hard to believe that I am almost nine months into my VISTA year. That is, until I look back on everything that we have accomplished.
In my role as Transitions Coordinator for the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College (MATMC), I have had the opportunity to assist in the establishment of a new and innovative educational institution. The mission of MATMC is to make a college degree a possibility to students who otherwise would not have pursued a postsecondary education. It targets students who have traditionally been underserved, especially those who are unengaged and at-risk of dropping out of high school, economically disadvantaged, and first generation college students. A key component of the program is the gradual transition from high school to college and a support curriculum that addresses college readiness, employability and social maturity skills.
In January Governor Snyder recognized the MATMC in his State of the State speech and introduced one of our students, Cody Revord. Sadly, our excitement was tempered less than a month later when Cody passed away from injuries suffered in a snowboarding accident. This was a difficult time, as I had to deal with my own grief and coordinate counseling services for the students who were close to Cody.
One of my main responsibilities is to establish and strengthen relationships with our partner high schools and Northern Michigan University. I work closely with all parties to develop systems and procedures and ensure a smooth transition for our students. I coordinate class scheduling, tutoring and study groups, and track student progress. I plan and facilitate monthly student Success Seminars covering academic and employability skills.
The first cohort has collectively raised their GPA and successfully completed their first college course (as high school juniors). The success of our pilot year has led to the planned expansion of the program for the 2015-16 school year. We hope to serve students from nine high schools and our capacity will grow from 11 to 50 additional students. In preparation for the expansion, I participated in presentations to local school boards and informational sessions for prospective students and their parents. I also spoke to several middle school classes about their future opportunities at MATMC. We are also expanding our programs. The Industrial Maintenance Academy is now Technology, Engineering and Occupational Sciences Academy with the addition of five new areas of study-Automotive Service Technology, Aviation Maintenance, Building Technology, Electrical Technology and HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration).
Looking to the future, I have updated and expanded our application packet for the 2015-16 year. We are currently reviewing applications and interviewing candidates. I am excited to celebrate the successes of our first year and spend the summer preparing for the class of 2018.
Hi, I’m Diane Jarvi and I am serving in Marquette, Michigan through a partnership between the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development (GLCYD), Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) and Marquette-Alger College Access Network (MACAN). I am thrilled to be working as the Transition Coordinator for the newly formed Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College (MATMC). Students who enroll in a middle college defer their high school diplomas for a year in exchange for a significant number of free college credits. MATMC is partnering with Northern Michigan University (NMU) to offer courses in the Health Sciences and Industrial Maintenance fields.
The mission of MATMC is to make a college degree a possibility to those students who otherwise would not have pursued a post-secondary education. It targets students who have traditionally been underserved, especially those who are unengaged and at-risk of dropping out of high school, economically disadvantaged, and first generation college students. A key component of the program is the gradual transition from high school to college and a support curriculum that addresses college readiness, employability and social maturity skills.
In my role as Transition Coordinator, I am developing and testing the “Success Seminar” curriculum and assisting in the development of the college readiness curriculum and early warning system to meet the requirements of the Michigan Early College Association rubric. I am also working to facilitate partnerships between the high school counselors and NMU Academic Advising and Student Services staff.
My first few months have been busy. I had the privilege of participating in the interview and selection process for the first cohort. I developed Study Skills and Employability Skills Self-Assessments and a student journal as well as units on goal setting, time management, and public speaking. I’ve also been working on promotional materials for the project. The students worked in small groups to generate ideas for the MATMC logo that refined into a design that they voted to accept. I have also completed the first phase of an informational web site (www.matechmc.org) and produced a one-page promotional flyer.
I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to shape this innovative and important program. I am looking forward playing a part in the success and expansion of the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!