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Taking Steps Beyond Rose: Program exposes students to college

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Jimbo Perry, right, discusses proper dining etiquette rules with J.H. Rose freshman Anthony Elder during a luncheon at the Hilton on Tuesday. J.H. Rose teacher Tracey Moore and her husband, businessman HB Moore, have started a college preparedness program for teens.

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Holly West

Friday, March 25, 2016

Getting students excited about and prepared for success in college requires a combination of hard work and all-you-can-eat buffets, according to J.H. Rose High School teacher Tracey Moore.

Moore, a math teacher, started Taking Steps Beyond Rose that encourages students to go to college with campus tours and uses a points system and life skills seminars to equip them with what they need to get there. 

The students have visited Pitt Community College in Winterville and Barton College in Wilson and have plans to tour East Carolina University in April.

Moore said some of the students, several of whom are repeating their freshman year, probably never would have been on a college visit without this program. 

“They have no idea what being on a college campus is like,” she said. “It’s hard to aspire to do something if you’ve never been there and haven’t seen it for yourself.”

An important part of the visits is showing students how much freedom college students have on campus, Moore said.

“They think college is just an extension of high school, and why would you want to do that?” she asked. “One of the biggest things, I want them to go in the cafeteria, all-you-can-eat. I’ve got to get them there to see it, that this is worth doing. (At ECU) I’m going to take them to the rec center, and we’re going to Minges (Coliseum).” 

Unlike many college exposure programs, Taking Steps Beyond Rose requires students to earn their spots for campus tours and other events through a points system.  Points are earned by displaying college student behavior: completing homework, being prepared for class, joining a club or sports team, perfect attendance and good behavior.

Students also get points for attending seminars on various topics. They can lose points for being tardy or being given disciplinary actions for poor behavior. 

Moore said the points system teaches students they have to work hard to get what they want — a skill that will be necessary for them to succeed in college and in life. 

“You begin with the end in mind, ‘That’s where I want to go,’ but I’ve got to teach them how to get there,” she said. “That’s what I hope we’re doing, and I’m seeing huge success.”

It appears to be paying off. Terence Streeter, one of Moore’s students, said he lost out on the PCC trip because he got suspended. After hearing how much fun his friends had, he changed his behavior so he could go on the Barton trip. 

“She got good rewards, so it makes you want to do good,” he said. “It makes you want to stay out of trouble and get your work done so you can get to do things other students don’t do.”

Moore said she was proud of Streeter’s improvement.

“He’s my story; he’s my shining light,” she said. 

Streeter is just one of many students who have turned around after being part of the program, Moore said. 

Streeter and more than 50 other students earned the chance to attend a luncheon this week that allowed them to talk about college and careers with people from industries ranging from education to health care to sales. All were friends of Moore and her husband, Piedmont Service Group Regional Vice President H.B. Moore, who has helped with the program.

The students used the luncheon as an opportunity to show off the table manners and conversation skills they have been taught in the program.

Rose Assistant Principal Darryl Thomas, who attended the luncheon, said the program’s focus on both behavior and academics makes it special.

“A lot of them have joined clubs they wouldn’t have joined, they dress for success, they’re talking at this dinner,” he said. “It’s opened their eyes up to certain things in life. It all goes back to education, but Mrs. Moore’s putting a spin on it so it has this outside purpose too.” 

Moore’s insistence on giving students such a rich experience comes at a cost.

The luncheon alone cost about $1,300. Taking students to PCC and feeding them lunch cost $200-$300. The trip to Barton was approximately $1,000, and the ECU trip likely will cost the same. It was all paid for with the money Moore received for being named Rose’s Teacher of the Year for 2015-16, which has now run out.

Moore said she is applying for grants so she can take the students to a fourth college, North Carolina State University, and continue to run the program next year with even more students.

Thomas praised Moore and the other teachers involved for their dedication to their students and said the program will have long-lasting effects on the students’ lives.

“The students will always remember this dinner, they’ll always remember those trips,” he said. “They’re planting this seed now and we’ll see it grow throughout their years here.”

 

Contact Holly West at hwest@reflector.com or 252-329-9585.

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