March 09, 2009

ASU campus visit inspires Mitchell Elementary fifth-graders

Posted: March 09, 2009
Mari Koerner and Mitchell School students
Mari Koerner, dean of ASU's College of Teacher Education and Leadership, welcomed Mitchell Elementary School students to ASU's West campus.

It’s a relatively short trip from Mitchell Elementary School to Arizona State University’s West campus, but that distance can seem insurmountable to some children. The 77 fifth-graders who participated in a Feb. 17 field trip from their school in the Isaac School District to the ASU campus in northwest Phoenix learned that college is an achievable goal for any student willing to work hard.

The invitation to visit ASU was extended by Mari Koerner, dean of the university’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL). In November Koerner visited Mitchell Elementary School as part of the city of Phoenix’s 17th Annual Principal for a Day program sponsored by Merrill Lynch.

“It was such a pleasure to spend time at Mitchell School,” Koerner says. “It served as a reminder of how a great public school can work for each child.”

Because many Mitchell School students are potentially the first in their family to go to college, Koerner and Linda Crawford, Mitchell’s principal, decided a campus visit would make the goal of attending a university more tangible for young students.

During their time on the West campus, the students experienced videoconference technology, as they had the chance to “be on TV” with the signal transmitted to a remote location. They toured Fletcher Library, learning about its multiple high-tech means of gathering information, and participated in a scavenger hunt that familiarized them with campus offices and services. The students also sat in on a class and had a conversation with Koerner about the importance of starting early in their school careers to plan for college.

“Mitchell students learned that a college campus is a really big place compared to our school campus,” Crawford says. “They were especially impressed with the size of the library. They loved the scavenger hunt and enjoyed meeting the ASU staff members who worked with them. Many of the students came away from the visit believing that college can be a reality for them if they work hard during their middle and high school years.”

“When I visited Mitchell Elementary I was impressed by the level of involvement in the school by families and community members,” Koerner says. “We hope the fifth-graders who paid a visit to the West campus will spread the word among their parents, siblings and community supporters that ASU is a welcoming place that will help them achieve their dream of a college degree.”

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