Oregon, GtCNN’s home state, stands 48th in the nation in on-time high school graduation. Students who make it to college in Oregon complete school at one of the lowest rates in the nation. For youth in state care - young people who are homeless, in foster care, or the juvenile system - high school completion and college-going rates are dismal. In the Portland Metro area, more than 12,000 youth are in state care. These young people have the same aspirations as their peers, but often lack the resources to achieve them.
This fall, GtCNN will launch PDX Bridge, a collaborative project that will provide these young people a comprehensive bridge from high school to first-year college completion. PDX Bridge will help address the critical state issue of educational equity by working with students who are in state care, many of whom also come from traditionally underserved populations.
Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN), a Portland-based nonprofit, announces the launch of PDX Bridge, a partnership to provide a bridge from high school to college completion for some of Oregon’s most vulnerable youth.
Through PDX Bridge, GtCNN will convene state agencies, school districts and nonprofit partners to provide Portland-area foster, juvenile justice, and homeless youth a bridge from high school to and through college. By focusing efforts on our community’s most vulnerable youth, PDX Bridge will simultaneously help address the state’s low college-going rates and a gap in educational equity.
Desi is a junior at Helensview High School and part of the first cohort of students in the PDX Bridge program. She is 17-years-old and on track to graduate this spring – one year early. Although she is doing quite well in school these days, Desi’s educational goals and expectations have changed dramatically over the last few years. Throughout middle school and her first year of high school, Desi was uninterested in her education. In a large school, it was very easy for her to skip class without anyone noticing, and she often did just that. As a result of judgement that she felt from others, Desi became discouraged and lost confidence in her abilities. In her words, she didn’t allow herself to shine.
In her sophomore year of high school, this outlook changed when she began attending a smaller school where she felt seen and supported. Teachers and people around her were very supportive and Desi started to believe in herself again. From there she skyrocketed and began wanting more; once she realized that she could do well in school, she found that she wanted to try harder. She asked family members and people in her school to hold her to her newfound expectations and to keeping pushing her in the best way that they could.