Latest News

  1. A New NPEA Member Spotlight on… Elon Academy!

    John Pickett, M. Ed, Assistant Director of Scholar Support

    What’s on your desk at the moment?
    I always seem to have a bottle of water and a diet coke on standby!  Additionally, I have a few plants and group photos of many of the cohorts of students I have worked with. Our program is in the beginning of “recruitment season” for our next cohort of high school students and I just received our first four applications in the mail yesterday. They are sitting on my desk and I am excited to read them and begin to get to know these students!

    What are your goals for this year?
    Each year the Elon Academy seems to hit a new record of success with our high school students (all low-income and/or first generation) in terms of academic success, admission success, and scholarship success. My hope is that we continue this. Our scholars raise the bar each year!

    What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to address by joining NPEA?
    We are always looking for the best practices and most innovative ways to support our most marginalized students.

    What have you found most helpful since you joined?
    The NPEA conference is fantastic! I have found it incredibly useful in terms of everything from networking, to resources, to new ideas, to motivation!

    What’s one thing about your background that you’d like to share with the membership?
    At this point in my career I have worked with every level of student, from K-5 to middle school to high school and college.  Each time I circle back to work with a group of students from one of these demographics, my time spent with each helps to better inform my approach. I think, for example, it’s valuable for organizations to realize how powerful it can be to bring in someone to work with kindergarten students who has worked with older students, and vice versa. It’s been surprising and so useful.

    Describe your program or your work in one sentence.
    Elon Academy is a comprehensive college access non-profit helping low-income/first generation students access and succeed in college by providing support, resources, and information.

    What’s a hobby you use to relax outside of work?
    I’m an avid reader. Ever since I read my first full book on my own as a kid I’ve always had a book to read. Recently I read “Educated” by Tara Westover and “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. I highly recommend both for anyone in NPEA.

    What’s your favorite way to stay on top of news about educational access? (Podcasts, Books, the NPEA Twitter account, etc.)
    I think I stay most on top of this by making a point to engage with colleagues about current issues. This may be in person at the “water cooler” or on social media or at professional meetings.

    If you could be known as an expert in one topic related to educational access, what would it be?
    I’d like to be known as an expert in providing the most developmentally appropriate resources to support underrepresented students to college all the way from birth to college graduation. I’m very proud of the professional toolbox I have cultivated on this subject.

  2. Workshop and Spark Session Proposals Deadline Extended: 10/10

    Reaching Out and Rising Up: Forging Ahead for Student Success

    Apply to Present at the 12th Annual NPEA Conference, April 15-17, 2020, in Boston, MA!

    We invite you to submit a Workshop or Spark Session proposal for NPEA’s 12th annual conference, taking place on April 15-17, 2020 in Boston, MA. Over 100 professionals support the work of NPEA each year by presenting at the national conference, and more than 400 conference attendees gather from across the nation to share best practices and learn from each other.

    Presenting at the NPEA conference is a great way to:

    • Support and engage in active learning with attendees
    • Share your ideas and expertise with a diverse audience on a national platform
    • Enrich your own professional growth
    • Stand together with a group of like-minded educators committed to improving outcomes for underserved students and dismantling systems of inequity
    • Reach out and rise up in support of students

    Submission Instructions

    1. Review a PDF of the Workshop and Spark Session Proposal Application
    2. Review the Workshops Cheat Sheet for suggested topics, presenter FAQs, and presenter expectations prior to submitting your application
    3. Review the NEW Spark Session Cheat Sheet for an overview of this year’s new session type, as well as suggested topics and presenter FAQs.
    4. Apply Now through the online application form

    Deadline for Submissions: Thursday, October 10, 2019

    Additional Information

    The NPEA conference offers sessions on a range of topics addressing the needs and interests of our diverse audience. We encourage proposals that focus on best practices, lessons learned, and current research on supporting underserved students, while remaining relevant to the conference theme of reaching out — to our students, to each other, and to our communities — and rising up together in pursuit of progress.

    This year, we are accepting proposals for Workshop Sessions (75 minutes each) and Spark Sessions (7-10 minute presentations, part of a 60 minute block) to take place on Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17.

    We invite you to view our 2019 Conference Program for examples of past workshop sessions.

    Reduced Conference Registration Rates
    Learn more about NPEA and how to become a member. NPEA members and presenters receive reduced registration rates for the NPEA conference.

    Please contact Karin Elliott, Executive Director of NPEA.

  3. A New NPEA Member Spotlight on… The University of Arkansas College Access Initiative!

    College Access Initiative Pipeline Program Coordinator:

    What’s on your desk at the moment?
    ACT vouchers and admission tickets, a half-drunk cup of coffee, notes from a recent NPEA/MEFA webinar: “After the College Acceptance.”

    What are your goals for this year?
    The class of 2020 will be this pilot program’s first graduating class, and I’m very eager to start the participants’ college, FAFSA and scholarship applications so they can go to college next fall. The goal is 100% enrollment!

    What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to address by joining NPEA?
    NPEA membership is helping me to look at approaches that are different from the TRiO model that are also wonderful and effective.

    What have you found most helpful since you joined?
    The NPEA conference in Chicago put me in a room with very devoted, passionate people who inspired me to keep doing my best every day.

    What’s one thing about your background that you’d like to share with the membership?
    The assistant vice chancellor, my director and I all worked for TRiO programs in the past, so our programs are largely modeled after the Upward Bound and Talent Search approaches.

    Describe your program or your work in one sentence.
    The UA College Access Initiative Pipeline is a grant-funded college readiness program for three cohorts of 10-12th grade underrepresented college-hopefuls in the Northwest Arkansas region.

    What’s a hobby you use to relax outside of work?
    Yin yoga

    What’s your favorite way to stay on top of news about educational access? (Podcasts, Books, the NPEA Twitter account, etc.)
    The NPEA newsletter and webinars are great! You make it so easy.

    Is there anything you’d like to share with the rest of the membership that you don’t feel was captured in this form? If so, include it below.
    The College Access Initiative Pipeline is housed within the University of Arkansas’ Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education.

  4. Announcing the 2020 Annual Conference Keynotes: Marcia Chatelain, Angel Pérez, and Howard Stevenson!

    We are thrilled to share our keynotes for Reaching Out and Rising Up: Forging Ahead for Student Success, the 12th Annual NPEA Conference in Boston, MA (April 15-17, 2020)!

    Pictured left to right:

    Marcia Chatelain, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor, Georgetown Universityand Author, South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (2015) and Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (coming 2020)

    Angel PérezVice President for Enrollment and Student Success, Trinity College

    Howard C. StevensonProfessor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania; Executive Director, Racial Empowerment Collaborative; and Director, Forward Promise

    Learn more about the 2020 NPEA Keynotes.

  5. Introducing a new NPEA Conference offering: Spark Sessions!

    This year, in addition to our traditional workshop sessions, we are seeking individuals interested in presenting an innovative idea, a unique challenge, or an inspiring story that speaks to this year’s theme of reaching out, rising up, and forging ahead for student success.

    Every Spark Session will feature 3 presenters, with each session centered around a related theme. Individual presenters will speak for 7-10 minutes in turn, followed by 15-20 minutes of group discussion facilitated by a session monitor.

    Presenters are encouraged to share an innovative idea, challenge, or question with the group that will inspire discussion. Interested presenters should submit a proposal for a 7-10 minute slot within a Spark Session (deadline: Friday, September 27).

    An Innovative Idea: Some of the obstacles in the field of educational access have remained unchanged, and in many cases have heightened in the current climate. Spark Sessions are the perfect stage for showcasing solutions that you have found that break new ground or remove some of these obstacles.

    A Unique Challenge: Not all problems have solutions – yet. What questions or ideas are you grappling with where you could use the perspective of others navigating this space? Spark Sessions allow conference attendees a platform to share some of the struggles they have encountered in their work and solicit ideas from others in the field.

    An Inspiring Story: Sometimes, all it can take to start a great discussion is a great story. Is there a time where you or your organization were inspired by a student or a colleague? A Spark Session is a great place to share one of these stories, either to motivate others or prompt discussions about the field of educational access.

    Spark Session presentations will be scripted, rehearsed 7-10 minute remarks that may or may not use accompanying visuals. With limited time, this presentation style is an opportunity to dive immediately into your remarks, foregoing context and background to get right to the heart of your idea, challenge, or story.


    There is no need to seek partners for your Spark Session – NPEA will group presenters thematically based on the proposals received, at which point you will be assigned to the first, second, or third slot in your session. Presentations will be timed and cut off at 10 minutes, with a facilitated “sit and think” minute between each, and moderated discussion with guided questions will follow after all three presentations have taken place.

  6. Read About the 2019 NPEA Conference!

    Missed the 2019 NPEA Conference? Don’t worry – NPEA was fortunate to have Luke Chitwood (Twitter, website) in attendance, who provided a wonderful write-up. See his article here, or read it below!

    Engineered for Inequality: Calls from an Access Conference for Reimagining Higher Education in America

  7. Congratulations to the 2019 Award for Excellence Winner: Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA)

    Congratulations to the 2019 Winner:
    Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA)

    Photo of Award winner


    The Award recognizes an NPEA member who has demonstrated excellence in supporting underserved students on the path to and through college through effective practices, a commitment to data for program improvement, support for students’ personal growth and success, strong program sustainability, leadership in the community, and creative problem-solving and innovation.


    Pictured (left to right): Alan Royal (Jack Kent Cooke Foundation), Jahnelle McMillan (LEDA), and Nada Abdelaziz (LEDA). Photo credit: Heather Hackney Photography


    “LEDA is so honored to be the recipient of NPEA’s Award for Excellence. Being recognized among this network of exemplary organizations is a testimony to the tremendous accomplishments of our LEDA Scholars, and the vital importance of building an inclusive and equitable America where leadership reflects, celebrates, and supports diverse perspectives.”
    Beth Breger, Executive Director


    Congratulations from NPEA and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation!

    Interested in learning more? View the press release for more information, or visit our conference page.

  8. See Dr. Donnell Butler’s Keynote Presentation!

    Change The Game: Dismantling Systems of Inequity and Reimagining College Student Success

    Donnell J. Butler
    Senior Associate Dean for Planning and Analysis of Student Outcomes


    Dr. Donnell Butler (Franklin & Marshall) delivered a great keynote performance last Thursday, discussing systems of inequity and looking hard at how we define student success in college. Dr. Butler graciously allowed us to post his handout from the keynote so that attendees can go back and have a look at his slides – a goldmine of information, research, and analysis. Access his presentation here. Thank you, Dr. Butler!


    Other workshops that have been added:

    Did you present at the NPEA Conference and want your presentation added? Email Alex and ask him to help you out!

  9. NPEA Member Discounts on Professional Education Programs from Harvard Graduate School of Education

    NEW: NPEA Member Discounts on Professional Education Programs from Harvard Graduate School of Education

    NPEA is pleased to announce a new learning alliance with Professional Education (PE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education! NPEA members have the opportunity to attend PPE summer programs at 20% off the regular tuition. Below, please find information about each of the programs which take place in May, June, and July 2019. To receive the 20% discount in tuition, NPEA members should:

    1) Apply for the interested program through the program webpage first. No payment will be required at this stage;

    2) Upon acceptance, you will receive a confirmation email and be asked to complete an enrollment form (different from the application form). On the enrollment form, you can input a discount code and a discount of 20% will automatically apply to your invoice. For the discount code, check the latest NPEA Member Newsletter (Winter 2018-19), or email Alex.

    Race, Equity, and Leadership in Schools
    5/13/19 – 5/16/19 (Apply by 4/1/19)

    Develop the skills and historical understanding to lead courageous conversations about race, power, and equity in your school community.

    Post-Secondary Success: In Schools, Communities, and Families 
    6/23/19 – 6/26/19 (Apply by 5/10/19)

    Gain tools and frameworks for advancing students on a path to post-secondary success.

    Closing the Achievement Gap: Strategies for Excellence with Equity 
    6/29/19 – 7/3/19 (Apply by 5/24/19)

    Learn how to raise achievement levels for all students—while narrowing gaps between groups—by increasing teacher, student, and family engagement.

    Family Engagement in Education: Creating Effective Home and School Partnerships for Student Success 
    7/22/19 – 7/25/19 (Apply by 6/10/19)

    Design family engagement practices that are directly connected to student learning. Increase your capacity to engage staff, families, and your community to improve student outcomes.