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Principal Investigators: Dr. Sam Intrator, Smith College and Founder of Project Coach; Denys Candy, Jo Glading-DiLorenzo, Erin DeCou, Nancy Zigler, Smith College

Community Partners: Yesenia Valentin, Project Coach, Joesiah Gonzalez, New North Citizens' Council

Title: Transfer and Transition – The Challenge of Sustaining Impact beyond Community-Based Youth Programs

While schools and out-of-school programs have demonstrated the ability to improve high school completion rates and develop life skills, significant disparities persist in patterns of educational attainment – particularly in college enrollment and completion rates for students from economically disadvantaged communities. Smith College faculty and staff, in collaboration with Project Coach, a college-community youth program, are investigating these challenges, as well as potential solutions economically disadvantaged youths face as they transition from high school to young adult life.

Researchers will engage youth participants and young adult graduates of Smith College's Project Coach as a part of the participatory action research youth-adult partnership model. They will ask participants questions related to how emerging adults in Springfield experience the transition to adulthood after high school. Smith College hopes to understand their initial aspirations, how those aspirations played out or changed after leaving high school, and how they navigated the barriers and obstacles they encountered.

  1. How do emerging adults in Springfield envision their futures after high school, and how does this change over time? What factors determine what they will do after high school?
  2. What, if any, supports and resources do emerging adults have as they navigate the transition to young adulthood and what resources would be helpful to better support the transition?
  3. How are high schools and out of school programs in Springfield preparing young people to transition out of high school?
  4. How do financial, community, and family resources impact the aspirations of these emerging adults and their ability to reach them?

Research will advance current scholarship and inform educational practices for schools, out-of-school programs, and higher education institutions; support students intensively through K-12 schools; and seek to develop programming to support transition planning.

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