Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
OSU Open Campus is a community-based education partnership convened by Oregon State University. It provides local access to learning in order to address the unique educational needs of Oregon’s communities. (Source: OSU Open Campus website)
What does that mean?
Programming depends on the area, community needs, and partner involvement. Open Campus builds on the foundation of the OSU Extension Service, providing an expanded way to access the university’s resources. Typically, Open Campus programs are designed around three goals:
- College & Career Readiness
- Degree Completion
- Economic & Community Development
Juntos, is one program coordinated by Open Campus. It involves middle schools, high schools and Latino kids and their families, to help make education part of family goals, encourage high school graduation and continuing on to college. It’s gotten a lot of press lately, including being recognized in September 2015 by the White House as part of its Bright Spot in Hispanic Education awards.
But there’s more to Open Campus than Juntos, and there are a lot of really good initiatives happening—and really good people involved—in the eight counties currently being served by Open Campus.
Take Crook County for example. They are giving students the tools for college readiness, which includes helping them succeed in high school. And that means helping students understand the benefits of higher education, developing good habits, and planning ahead and looking toward the future.
Why the focus on college readiness in Crook County? Only about 14 percent of the county’s population holds a bachelor’s degree. Most students will be the first in the family to pursue a college education. Getting into college can be a complicated process, and if a family hasn’t had experience figuring out the process, it likely is intimidating. Open Campus is there to help. Partially funded by the counties, community leaders also are committed to improving educational outreach, which often leads to economic and community development.
AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college readiness program, is one such initiative in Crook County and throughout Oregon. In Crook County, it is a collaboration with leadership teachers at Crook County Middle School, career class instructors, and Central Oregon Community College.