My experience with student persistence and wraparound services began in 1984 when I was about to graduate from South Bend Lasalle High School. Similar to many young African American men I had a bigoted high school counselor tell my Mother and I that I wasn’t college material. Well through assistance from a wraparound service program called Groups (recommended by an African American male school counselor) not only did I attend college, I obtained a four year degree, Masters and Doctorate. That experience led me to work in the area of student persistence/wraparound services and led me to writing my Doctoral Dissertation on Student Persistence/wraparound services with a focus on non-traditional students. Over the years I’ve helped many non-traditional students graduate from community college, Universities and Graduate School. Our non-traditional students are more than capable of educational excellence when provided the proper educational environment and support services.
The use of wraparound services to improve student persistence is not a new concept. In fact, at the community college where I teach, we have been providing wraparound services to help students persist to graduation for the past 6 years. Wraparound services are needed to provide food banks for food insecurity,free tutoring, life assistance, coaching & mentoring, career counseling & job placement services, mental health counseling, criminal record expungement services, transportation needs, childcare referral services, short term financial emergency assistance and assistance with obtaining affordable healthcare.These resources/services should be provided in all K-12 and higher education institutions to help students persist to graduation.
My research on student persistence and wraparound services identified strategies for how we can help our higher education students succeed and is adaptable to K-12 students:
• tutoring is essential,
• motivation is not inherent and must be fostered,
• coaching can promote persistence,
• overcoming social and academic barriers promotes the motivation to stay on track,
• life assistance helps grow financial stability,
• resources and services help students achieve stability,
• professor support encourages participation in social and academic activities and maintains confidence, and
• use of wraparound services is need driven and helps student persistence.
If you have students in K-12 or higher education this community research guide provides the research based strategies regarding how your students can persist towards graduation.