DeShawn Preston

5 Strategies for College Readiness in Diverse Schools – Podcast Episode 175 | Classnotes Podcast 175

Classnotes Podcast (September 29, 2017) Some students face hurdles that end up steering them away from college. Some face barriers that block their access altogether. But today’s school leaders can change that by creating a college-going culture for a student population that is becoming increasingly diverse. In this episode, Dr. DeShawn Preston, higher education research fellow at the Southern Education Foundation, outlines five successful strategies for schools to create college readiness for students of color and students from immigrant families. DeShawn is interviewed by David Hinojosa, J.D., director of the federally-funded IDRA EAC-South.

Show length: 13:35

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5 Strategies for Creating College Readiness for Students of Color and Immigrant Students,
by DeShawn Preston, Ph.D., & Amanda E. Assalone, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

Racial Equity Leadership Network
Southern Education Foundation initiative to advance the capacity of district leaders committed to enduring equity-centered systems change as a solution to addressing racial, economic and academic disparities in districts across the South

Three Critical Areas of Professional Development for Teaching in 21st Century Classrooms
by Paula Johnson, IDRA Newsletter

Positive School Climates and Diverse Populations
by Kristin Grayson, IDRA Newsletter

Fostering Culturally Diverse Learning Environments
by Paula Johnson, IDRA Newsletter

Embracing the Culture of Possibility for Student Success – Culture-of-Poverty Thinking Shortchanges Students and Families
by Aurelio Montemayor IDRA Newsletter

Project Implicit
Find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation and other topics

Teaching Tolerance
Tools for educators about diversity, equity and justice

Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning

How Leaders Can Improve Their Schools’ Cultural Competence
by Chris Lehmann, Edutopia

The IDRA EAC-South provides technical assistance and training to build capacity of local educators to serve their diverse student populations. The IDRA EAC-South is one of four regional equity assistance centers and serves Region II, which covers Washington, D.C., and 11 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. IDRA is working with staff at the Southern Education Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium to develop local capacity in the region among the 2,341 school districts and 29,632 schools with over 1 million educators and 16 million students.
More information is available at

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Show Notes

  • Dr. Preston identifies 5 barriers to college readiness facing immigrant students and students of color:
    1. Underfunding of schools, especially those serving predominantly minority and low-income populations
    2. The “school-to-prison pipeline,” or the overuse of exclusionary discipline against students of color
    3. The lack of exposure to rigorous courses
    4. The lack of culturally responsive pedagogy
    5. School policies and testing that don’t properly measure students’ potential, and can ultimately limit or block their access to college

  • Dr. Preston discusses 5 asset-based strategies schools can use to overcome barriers to college readiness:
    1. Provide college information and financing options to students and their families parents often, and as early as the middle school years.
    2. Start planning and preparing students for college using a comprehensive approach that includes the entire community.
    3. Give students early exposure to the college experience and present it as a realistic and attainable option. Assist the students with identifying institutions of higher education that have proven to be successful in educating and supporting low-income students and students of color.
    4. Hire qualified faculty and staff who are committed to seeing diverse students succeed and go on to college.
    5. Eliminate exclusionary practices that hinder college preparation and improve the school climate so that all students feel welcome.

  • Dr. Preston talks about the 2017 Fellows of the South Education Foundation Racial Equity Leadership Network.