Advancing Equity Through College, Career, and Civic Readiness

P20 CONNECTS is a collective impact initiative to strengthen college, career, and civic readiness throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

P20” represents the linking of all levels of education, from Pre-Kindergarten through graduate school (20), in collaborative service and civic activities to develop the skills, attitudes and understandings necessary for college, career, and civic readiness.

CONNECTS” is an acronym that stands for Communities Organizing Networks Now to Engage Citizens Through Service.

P20 CONNECTS seeks to unite individuals and groups in higher education, K12, the corporate sector, nonprofits, and other community organizations, for positive actions to achieve common goals. These goals focus on improving educational, career, and civic engagement opportunities and equity in the region, reviewing and revising existing policies, and enhancing existing programs to better engage all students.

P20 CONNECTS Program Partnerships 2019 – 2020

Community College of Baltimore County & Baltimore County Public Schools

The Community College of Baltimore County’s (CCBC) Pathways to College, Civic, and Career Readiness (P3CR) project engages CCBC students in service to improve literacy skills of Baltimore youth in under-served communities. P3CR reflects the institution’s commitment to educational equity and to addressing the adverse impact of poverty by providing learning resources and civic engagement opportunities to community college students and low-income youth through partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools. The P3CR P20 CONNECTS AmeriCorps VISTA project expands institutional capacity to enhance and scale up educational equity through program coordination, assessment, and evaluation. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member engages CCBC students in service opportunities with BCPS students to improve literacy skills of Baltimore youth in under-served communities, resulting in the enhancement of the pipeline for college, career and civic readiness. Project activities are also supporting retention, deepening learning and engagement, and closing opportunity gaps.

College of Southern Maryland & St. Mary's County Public Schools

College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) are partnering to target low-income youth in St. Mary’s County to encourage college enrollment. This P20 CONNECTS partnership will focus specifically on providing access to education for low income students. While SMCPS has College Access Programs (CAP) in all high schools, and while CSM has outreach to the high schools, there is little crossover between the two educational entities for college going/preparedness for low income students. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member works with CAP personnel to develop workshops on financial aid, college knowledge for families (particularly first generation) in the community, and paperwork processes. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member also works with CSM personnel to expand dual enrollment and CTE pathway opportunities, provide career and employment exploration, and make basic referrals to service agencies available to low-income college students (e.g., food, housing, and childcare assistance). The goal is to create a sustainable partnership that provides opportunities for these students and families to be college ready through community workshops and other programming.

Notre Dame of Maryland University & Baltimore City Public Schools

Notre Dame of Maryland University’s (NDMU) York Road Education and Service (YES) program provides academic and other critical support in the forms of tutoring, college awareness activities, and health and wellness opportunities to low-income students from two high-needs Baltimore City schools (Govans Elementary School and Tunbridge Public Charter School). This P20 CONNECTS partnership is centered in building a deep connection between these schools, NDMU, and the York Road Community. YES is committed to increasing academic achievement and college preparedness, expanding community informed partnerships, and increasing the involvement of NDMU students, faculty, and staff with Baltimore City’s youth through on-site engagement in these schools. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member serves as a key member of the YES Program implementation team, charged with maintaining and expanding an existing academic tutoring and student teacher internship program, planning and initiating a mentoring program for partner school students, and exploring and researching health and wellness needs and opportunities for future implementation in partner schools, with special focus on student and family health concerns identified by project partners.

Towson University, Baltimore City Public Schools & America Counts and Reads

The CCMA P20 CONNECTS AmeriCorps VISTA project at Towson University (TU) addresses the needs of Baltimore City elementary and middle school students to achieve grade level learning in mathematics and language arts. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS program partnership at Towson University restructures TU’s America Counts program and the “TUTORS” (America Reads) program into an integrated and larger America Counts/America Reads program. This project focuses on providing college, career, and civic engagement opportunities to children from low-income families in Baltimore City. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member serving at Towson University plays an active role in capacity building for the project, which includes transitioning the existing programs, strengthening the relevant networks, and expanding partnerships to new schools. This project fosters a positive collaboration between partner sites and TU, fulfilling the need for student mentorships in Baltimore City, and creating job and volunteer opportunities for TU students.

University of Maryland Baltimore & Baltimore City Public Schools

Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA) at University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Community Engagement Center (CEC) will prepare young people (ages 12-16) from low income, largely African American households in Southwest Baltimore in college, career, and civic readiness. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member researches, designs, implements, revises, and assesses a curriculum that emphasizes service-learning, community organizing, and racial equity. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member recruits and supports an initial cohort of preteens and teens who advise on program development, after which the teens will be trained in relevant subject areas. This cohort of teens will then move into leadership positions facilitating subsequent ELA cohorts. Partners may be recruited from a vast number of community partners, including but not limited to, UMB’s Human Resources, Positive School Center, STAR Track, Workforce Wednesdays and Writing Center, Baltimore 360, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, Community Mediation Center, Enoch Pratt Library, and the Greater Baltimore Urban League. These partnerships will help to develop the meaningful opportunities being provided to the students in Southwest Baltimore, and to create a sustainable P20 CONNECTS program.

The Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery County Public Schools, & Montgomery College

Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) is a CCMA P20 CONNECTS partnership between the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and Montgomery College (MC) to address multi-generational poverty by increasing baccalaureate degree attainment among underrepresented students, especially African American and Hispanic youth. The ACES P20 CONNECTS partnership program is adding career readiness programming for all ACES students (an expansion of the current work with approximately 100 students to over 2,000 students at full capacity) beginning in high school and continuing through university graduation. This programming provides students with workforce skills and professional experiences that will help to ensure that they can attain and succeed in high demand careers. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member assists in developing programming that connects students at USG to industry opportunities, creates civic engagement opportunities, and ensures long-term sustainability of the ACES career readiness expansion. The goal of this program is to help the student participants to stay in school and build directly-related workforce skills and experiences that reinforce their motivation to continue their education and ensure that they are competitive for jobs upon graduation.

Wesley Theological Seminary, District of Columbia Public Schools, & Raising a Village Foundation

The Let’s Make A Difference project is a CCMA P20 CONNECTS youth development program for 9th-12th graders in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), in partnership with the Community Engagement Institute at Wesley Theological Seminary Downtown, and the Raising A Village Foundation. The CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member works with engaged staff members and Community Engagement Fellows from Wesley Theological Seminary to build capacity and recruit volunteers to provide educational support for DCPS students in the areas of social-emotional learning, social impact, and college and career readiness. This includes developing a curriculum, creating training seminars and resources for volunteers, as well as implementing best practices for volunteer recruitment and management of college volunteers. As coordinator of the project, the CCMA P20 CONNECTS VISTA member will also work with program assistants from the Let’s Make A Difference Project – Student Worker program to develop implementation, assessment measures, and long-term student outcome measures. This P20 CONNECTS partnership is set to build a sustainable community network that creates lasting support for DCPS students.

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P20 CONNECTS Program Partnerships 2018 - 2019

Frederick Community College & Frederick County Public School

Frederick Community College (FCC), in partnership with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), launched their P20 CONNECTS partnership with a Civic Engagement Summit that focused on systemic connections. The twenty FCC and FCPS administrators and educators in attendance supported three goals that connect college, career, and civic readiness through civic engagement and service learning across the P20 pipeline. These goals include: 1) Create a shared language of and about student civic engagement; 2) Communicate current practices and programs; and 3) Identify overlaps and opportunities for mutual enhancement.
Moving forward, key stakeholders will map P20 CONNECTS civic engagement and service-learning programming, identify programs with collaborative potential, and determine existing and needed resources. In the year to come, the initiative will focus on enhancing targeted FCC/FCPS partnership programs such as Future Link and Cyber Day, college and career readiness programming for middle school students, and Rising Entrepreneurs, an entrepreneurial workshop program for high school students.

Frostburg State University & Allegany County Public Schools

The After-School Connections program is a collaborative effort between Frostburg State University and Allegany County Public Schools to enhance the after-school program for 6th to 8th grade students that are economically disadvantaged and eligible for free and reduced meals. Operating at four middle schools throughout the county (Braddock, Mount Savage, Washington, and Westmar), the current after-school program focuses on academic enrichment in the areas of math, science, and language arts. However, with the support of the CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA Member, the After-School Connections program will also expand upon social skills and character development to strengthen children’s leadership, communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, coping, and other skills highly desired by future employers. The After-School Connections program will have college student volunteers serving as youth mentors as well as facilitators of experiential learning activities that further promote college, career, and civic readiness.

The P20 CONNECTS After-School Connections program has three main goals: 1) Collaborate on the development and implementation of learning modules focusing on college, career, and civic readiness; 2) Assist in identifying and pursuing additional funding and other resource opportunities to support enrichment activities, further development of P20 CONNECTS inititaives, and evaluations; 3) Strengthen P20 partnerships and projects in Allegany County.

Towson University & Baltimore County Public Schools

Towson University and Baltimore County Public Schools have been mutual partners since 2002, when Mr. Hugh Kearney approached Dr. Alison McCartney about an affordable Model UN program. This partnership established the innovative TU-BCPS Model United Nations program, providing a deeper education of international relations and politics for high school students alongside valuable college/university experiences.

The program also established two civic engagement courses for Towson University students to learn about politics and international relations while also participating in service-learning and volunteering. The goals are to provide and facilitate a global learning experience, prepare students for college and their careers, increase equitable access, and increase the civic readiness and opportunities available to high school and college students. This initiative is currently assessing what the high school students have learned over the course of the entire program from the school coaching through the conference. TU and BCPS envision a more sustainable and scalable program that retains institutional memory in the high schools and focuses the mission and strategy.

University of Maryland Eastern Shores & Somerset County Public Schools

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) P20 CONNECTS Initiative has been an effective catalyst and tool to develop innovative programs and initiative to provide access to higher education for local youth, engaging UMES students in community service/outreach, and fostering relationships with local business in order to provide access and opportunity for residents in the surrounding community.

UMES students have participated in several projects that have had a direct physical impact on the surrounding community such as building wheel chair ramps for the economically challenged elderly and their families. Additionally, multiple food distributions and health lifestyle programs have been designed via a garden built by UMES students, the Community Foundation of the Easter Shore, the Rotary Club of Salisbury, the MANRRS Chapter at UMES, and the CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA member have assisted in combating food insecurity and obesity, which have plagues youth and their families in the surrounding community.

One specific outreach initiative that UMES students also volunteer through the CCMA Vet Connect AmeriCorps VISTA project. The intent of this project is to connect military veterans and their families in the area to resources that combat poverty and improve their quality of life.

University of the District of Columbia & Maya Angelou Public Charter School

Thanks to the generous funding from the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), Maya Angelou School and he College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) have partnered on a project that will train the urban agriculture and urban sustainability workforce of the future.

AEDC and UDC share a common commitment to build the capacity for economic development and improve the quality of life in the District of Columbia by creating jobs, launching businesses, and improving food access and sustainability through a thriving local food economy, which is integral to the green economy of the future.

The Maya Way of Maya Angelou Schools and its See Forever Foundation is entirely consistent with the capacity building mission of AEDC and UDC. The Maya Way is a comprehensive approach to help students in lower income communities realize their limitless potential through education that focuses on academic achievement, social and emotional support, and career and college preparation. This partnership will simultaneously prepare students for the future in green economics and sustainable development.

Maryland State Department of Education

Since 1992, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has worked to promote the implementation of high quality service-learning experiences for students by providing a variety of training opportunities, resources, and technical assistance to local education agencies (LEAs).

Over the past several years, the MSDE and Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic have partnered to enhance college, career, and civic readiness by featuring P20 CONNECTS at its regular meetings with LEA service-learning contacts, including a professional development session. At that meeting, Youth in Service to America (YSA) offered a $100 mini-grant to any interested LEA to assist with the facilitation of a meeting between the LEA and local higher education contracts.

A quarter of the school systems in the state requested the YSA funding and have held, or are planning, meetings. At these meetings, LEAs and higher education contacts are exploring and planning how best to work together to create meaningful service-learning experiences. These projects will unite higher education and K12 students on focused initiatives designed to improve their communities.

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P20 CONNECTS Assessment Leadership Team 2019-2020

Dr. Sandy Dunnington
Former Vice President, Formerly Prince George’s Community College

Dr. Heather Kelly
Director of Institutional Research, University of Delaware

Ms. Anne Weiss
Director of Assessment, Indiana Campus Compact

Ms. Michelle Wolff
Director of Shriver Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

P20 CONNECTS Leadership Team 2019 - 2020

The P20 CONNECTS Leadership Team is comprised of individuals from diverse education and engagement organizations, who are committed to increasing college, career, and civic readiness in the Mid-Atlantic region. Meeting monthly, the P20 CONNECTS Leadership Team seeks to guide, implement, spearhead, and amplify the P20 CONNECTS initiative’s collective impact. 

julie ayers

Ms. Julie Ayers

Service-Learning Specialist, Youth Development Branch, Maryland State Department of Education 

Julie Ayers is the current Service-Learning Specialist for the Maryland Department of Education. She previously worked as a Humanities Instructor & Staff in the Independent Learning Center for the Florida Institute of Technology, an adjunct instructor at Loyola University, and a communications coordinator for the Maryland Food Committee. Ayers earned both a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

shella cherry

Ms. Shella Cherry

Coordinator, Student Leadership and Volunteers, Montgomery County Public Schools 

Shella Cherry serves as the Coordinator for Student Leadership and Volunteers for Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland (MCPS) where she is responsible for the student leadership, students service learning and volunteer programs for the school district, to include the Student Member of the Board of Education, two county-wide Student Government Associations, and the Superintendent’s Leadership Academy. Shella has served MCPS for 21 years as a former social studies teacher, coach and assistant principal and has been in this role for one year. She is a graduate of James Madison University (BS, Geography, 1996), Old Dominion University (MS, Secondary Education, 2002), and Hood College (Certification for Administration and Supervision, 2006). Shella is a proud member of Alpha Phi Omega, a National Service Co-ed Fraternity, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, a National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority steeped in education and service. 

elizabeth duffy

Ms. Elizabeth Duffy

Executive Director of Open Campus and Dual Enrollment, Frederick Community College 

Beth Duffy is the current Director of Open Campus and Dual Enrollment at Frederick Community College. Prior to this she as an English teacher for Frederick County Public Schools from 1993 to 2003, and then served as an assistant principle for FCPS from 2003 to 2013. Duffy earned her B.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and later went on to earn her M.A. from Frostburg State University. She currently lives in Maryland. 

mary gable

Ms. Mary Gable

Assistant State Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education 

Mary L. Gable serves as the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Student, Family, and School Support/Academic Policy for the Maryland State Department of Education. Her major responsibilities include the development of Maryland’s Consolidated Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act and leadership for the Division. In addition, Mrs. Gable serves as Maryland’s Commissioner for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. 

scott ganske

Mr. Scott Ganske

Vice President of Partnerships, Youth Service America (YSA) 

Scott Ganske leads YSA’s collaboration with local and national partners in the K-12 education, out-of-school time, youth development, national and community service, and community-based organization fields. He oversees resource development, and developed YSA’s innovative education framework, designed to create a culture of sustainable service in schools and communities. Prior to his arrival at YSA, Scott was an Education Consultant at Service Learning Texas (SLT), where he managed a portfolio of Learn and Serve America programs, and provided support, coaching, and mentoring to school districts, education centers, and organizations. Scott has eight years of teaching experience in Arizona and Texas and also co-founded a non-profit organization that matched community volunteers with students in Title I schools. He holds an M.A. in Public Administration and a B.A. in Education, both from Arizona State University. 

jaleesa hall

Ms. Jaleesa Hall

Manager, Institute for Community Engagement 

Jaleesa Hall works to provide visionary, programmatic, and logistical support to the programs of Wesley downtown, and seeks to find ways to better connect Wesley students to community engagement opportunities in the DC area. Sarah graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts, and a Master of Public Administration from American University. At Wesley, Jaleesa is also a Urban Fellow and her Fellowship project is the Raising A Village Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides high-quality intervention programs and community resources for under-served children and families. Jaleesa is deeply passionate about issues of social justice and enjoys spending time traveling, being active, dancing, and spending time with those she loves. 

chris jensen

Dr. Chris Jensen

Director, Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility, Towson University

Christopher Jensen is the Director for the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility. He came to Maryland from Michigan where he was working at Oakland University. Chris has worked in higher education for over 17 years, in the areas of leadership development, community service/service-learning, campus safety, housing, Greek life, orientation, and enrollment management. In addition, he has provided leadership training nationally, through his affiliations with LeaderShape, Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. 

blake kohn

Ms. Blake Kohn

Executive Director, National Network of Schools in Partnership

Blake Kohn is the Executive Director of the National Network of Schools in Partnership. Prior to this appointment, she spent two years as the Program Manager for NNSP cultivating the membership, establishing its brand and advocating for collaboration and partnership amongst all schools. Blake Kohn started her career as a high-school Spanish teacher. Blake continued teaching as she took on administrative leadership roles in the schools she served. At Ravenscroft, she was the Assistant Director of Financial Aid and Admissions and was Director of Student Activities at Oldfields School. Blake holds a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


lisa j. littlefield

Dr. Lisa J. Littlefield

Director, Center for Career Development and Experiential Education, Hood College 

Lisa J. Littlefield is the Director of the Center for Career Development and Experiential Education at Hood College. Littlefield has been a career counseling professional for the past 20 years. Littlefield holds a B.A. in mass communications from Southern Illinois University, a M.A. in communication and a M.S. in professional counseling from Georgia State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from The University of Georgia and is a licensed professional counselor in Georgia. 

bill mandicott

Mr. Bill Mandicott

Assistant Vice President, Student and Community Involvement, Frostburg State University 

Bill Mandicott is a service and community development specialist with over thirty-eight years of experience. Mandicott received his B.A. in Economics from SUNY, College of Arts and Sciences at Geneseo, and later went on to earn an M.A. in Counselor Education/Student Personnel Services from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Mandicott has also participated in post-master’s work for the Educational Leadership doctoral program at West Virginia University. Mandicott has previously worked at Clemson University and SUNY Cortland. Since 2001, Mandicott has served as the Assistant Vice President, Student and Community Involvement at Frostburg State University. 


sabine o'hara

Dr. Sabine O’Hara

Dean and Director, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability & Environmental Sciences, University of the District of Columbia 

Dr. Sabine O’Hara is Dean and Director of Land-grant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). As Dean of CAUSES, she is responsible for academic, research and community outreach programs in the tradition of land-grant universities, and is leading the University’s efforts to build a cutting-edge model for Urban Agriculture and Urban Sustainability that improves the quality of life and economic opportunity for urban populations.

Kristine Pearl

Dr. Kristine Pearl

Supervisor of Career and Technology Education, Frederick County Public Schools 

Dr. Kristine Pearl holds the position of supervisor for Career and Technology Education for Frederick County Public Schools. In that role she provides oversite for the 32 Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs at the Career and Technology Center as well as agriculture, business education, computer science, engineering, family and consumer science, technology education and work based learning at all of the middle and high schools. Dr. Pearl is a graduate of Walkersville High School and Towson State. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Frostburg State, a Master’s equivalency in Administrative Leadership from Hood College and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Frostburg State. 


debbie ricker

Dr. Debbie Ricker

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Hood College 

Debbie Ricker began her administrative experience at York College of Pennsylvania in 1996 as a coordinator of the secondary education program in biology. She has served in that capacity until 2002 when she became chair of the department of biological sciences, leading more than 300 students, 15 faculty members and two staff members. Ricker earned Ph.D. in Reproductive Biology from The Johns Hopkins University. She earned her M.A. in biological science from East Tennessee State University and her B.A. in biological science from Mars Hill University in North Carolina. She also completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management program. 

Becky slogeris

Ms. Becky Slogeris

Associate Director, Center for Social Design, Maryland Institute College of Art 

Becky Slogeris is the Associate Director at the Center for Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she is responsible for program coordination, operations and communications for various initiatives engaging MICA students and faculty in social change through human-centered design. Becky also runs the Center’s Practice-based studios, which bring together students at MICA from various disciplines to collaborate with outside partners on pressing social problems. Past partners include Baltimore City Health Department, Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Center for Child and Community Health Research, Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, and the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Becky is a graduate of MICA with a BFA in graphic design and an MA in Social Design, where her thesis work focused on designing curriculum and tools for teachers and empowering students to create change in their communities. 

ashley valis

Ms. Ashley Valis

Executive Director of  Community Initiatives and Engagement, University of Maryland, Baltimore 

Ashley Valis is Executive Director of Community Initiatives and Engagement for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). In this newly created position, Ms. Valis leads UMB’s Community Promise Initiative, coordinating and focusing the University’s many community engagement programs to provide an even greater service to the UMB’s neighboring communities in West Baltimore and Downtown. Ashley Valis is a graduate of University of Delaware where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services. Additionally, Ms. Valis holds a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. 

History of P20 Connects Initiative

2009 – Member presidents of higher education institutions in the Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic (CCMA) network discuss joining in a collective impact initiative to improve quality of life in the region.

2010 – CCMA member presidents decide to focus the collective impact initiative on education.

2011 – CCMA member presidents decide to focus the education-centered collective impact initiative on strengthening partnerships with K-12.

2012 – CCMA member presidents discuss what they could do together to address education and the needs of the region, and ultimately agreed on the critical urgency of college readiness.

2013 – K12 superintendents and leaders from Maryland and the District of Columbia ask that the initiative broaden to include both college and career readiness.

2014 – CCMA convenes a region-wide cross-sectoral taskforce to issue the College, Career, and Civic Readiness White Paper.

2015 – Further stakeholder focus-groups give input on how to best address college and career readiness in the region.

2016 – The P20 CONNECTS Implementation Taskforce issue the P20 CONNECTS Action Plan which outlines pertinent goals for the initiative from 2016 – 2021.