With CU Succeed, Everybody Wins by Mr. Richard Elkind

My name is Richard Elkind and I am the Chair of the Social Studies Department at Collegiate Prep Academy in far northeast Denver.

Collegiate Prep Academy algebra teacher Christopher Bakke, right, visits with a student Wednesday, the first day of school. (Karl Gehring, The Denver Post )

Collegiate Prep Academy algebra teacher Christopher Bakke, right, visits with a student Wednesday, the first day of school. (Karl Gehring, The Denver Post )

For the past year and a half I have taught both American Political Systems and Intro to Political Science through CU Succeed. The school I teach at is a Title I high school. Statistically, only eight percent of students from Title I high schools have earned a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s.

I view this as unacceptable. Indeed, I entered teaching largely to combat this trend and fight what I believe to be the civil rights issue of my lifetime, access to a quality education. Prior to teaching I worked as an attorney doing both civil and criminal defense. Specifically on the criminal defense front I was animated by what I struck me as an unfair system creating unfair results.

Working with the students I work with, I believe I am working on the exact same battlefield but at the front end, attempting to even the playing field prior to some terrible potential consequences.

“Working with the students I work with, I believe I am working on the exact same battlefield but at the front end, attempting to even the playing field prior to some terrible potential consequences.”

Working with CU Succeed over the past year and a half, I have been able to add an effective tool to my arsenal. Allowing my students exposure to real college courses and real college credit gives them a head start in terms of understanding what it means to be a college student, what it take to succeed, and has the potential to help cut down on costs for their education.

“Working with CU Succeed… [gives] my students exposure to real college courses and real college credit. It gives them a head start… and [helps] cut down on costs for their education.”

My students have enjoyed the CU Succeed classes tremendously, and particularly enjoyed viewing their sister class at CU-Denver in person. This helped them to realize the work they were doing was indeed college work, and helped to foster a true attitude of academic achievement.

CU Succeed has been a huge success at CPA and my high school has firmly gotten behind the program after seeing my student’s success. We’ve since added three other CU Succeed classes to our course offerings.

About the Author: IMG_20141002_131716_246

Mr. Richard Elkind is a CU Succeed Political Science teacher and the Social Studies Department Chair at Collegiate Prep Academy in northeast Denver. He received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and his law degree from Cornell University where he served as Executive Editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Prior to transitioning to a career in teaching, Richard worked as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice, The Cornell Death Penalty Project, and the law firms of Winston and Strawn and Senter, Goldfarb, and Rice. 

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