Spotlights

  1. A New NPEA Member Spotlight On… the Fair Opportunity Project!

    Carole Trone, Director of Strategic Initiatives

    https://www.fairopportunityproject.org/

    What’s on your desk at the moment?
    Building and launching a new pilot, the Checklist Program. This is a virtual, scaleable coaching model for motivated students that will walk them through the key steps of the college application and aid process. We hope to reach underserved students across the U.S. and especially in rural areas.

    What are your goals for this year?
    My main goal is to successfully launch the Checklist Program. This academic year, we will be testing its scalability and its effectiveness in increasing informed college and financial aid application completions for underserved students. The Checklist Program is free for students and so a related goal is to identify sustaining support through corporate sponsorships, grants, CBO or school support.

    What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to address by joining NPEA?
    Our team is virtual and spread across the country. I’m looking forward to building out our network of knowledgeable and passionate college access professionals.

    What have you found most helpful since you joined?
    Alex Newell, the NPEA Member Services Associate, has been tremendously helpful!

    What’s one thing about your background that you’d like to share with the membership?
    I’ve benefited from every advantage that my family background has brought to me and it pains me to see how increasingly inequitable the college trajectory has become. I loved college and the college experience and want to bring that opportunity to as many others as I can.

    Describe your program or your work in one sentence.
    Fair Opportunity Project is a fairly new, nationally-focused nonprofit organization with a mission to empower students to access and afford college through freely available digital tools and resources. 

    What’s a hobby you use to relax outside of work?
    I like to bike and have done a few multi-day trips. Hoping to do more!

    What’s your favorite way to stay on top of news about educational access? (Podcasts, Books, the NPEA Twitter account, etc.)
    I’m a growing fan of podcasts: The Crush, EdSurge on Air, This Week in California Education, NASFAA’s Off the Cuff, Future U. I’m curious about the regular conversations around education, so awaiting the new Off Campus podcast and Gangster Capitalism. Twitter is an astonishingly useful news resource for educational access and policy research. I follow too many handles to list here! @JonBoeckenstedt is crusty and informative and entertaining.

    If you could be known as an expert in one topic related to educational access, what would it be?
    I have a PhD in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But what we most strive to do at FOP is look for the great, student-first resources out there and spread the news. I guess you could call that expertise in curating the most current and best resources.

    Is there anything you’d like to share with the rest of the membership?
    Our resources are freely available on our website and you can use and repurpose them for your programs and mentoring however you’d like!

  2. 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.

  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. An NPEA Member Spotlight On… Delaware College Scholars!

    Every month, we will feature an NPEA member who recently joined. We hope you enjoy getting the chance to learn more about some of the people and organizations within our network! Interested in being included in an NPEA spotlight? Fill out this form

    Get to know Tony Alleyne, Executive Director of Delaware College Scholars:

    Describe your program or your work in one sentence.

    College access support for first-generation, marginalized Delawareans through an intense residential program (for 3 consecutive summers) followed by 4+ years of college persistence support.

    What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to
    address by joining NPEA?

    Finding new revenue streams to support our work and also finding strong new team members as we expand and grow as an organization.

    What’s on your desk at the moment?

    Pictures of my daughter competing in a recent Tough Mudder and HR paperwork for my summer staff

    What are your goals for this year?

    Successfully expand our program to a new host site (Delaware State University) and continue to spread the word about the great work our program is doing.

    What have you found most helpful since you joined?

    Networking at conferences

    What’s one thing about your background that you’d like to share with the
    membership?

    I am a proud black heterosexual cis male birthed from Panamanian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. I had a low-income upbringing and was the first in my family to attend and then graduate college. I consider myself ‘privileged poor’ due to the fact that I was given the opportunity to leave Brooklyn and attend a boarding school, which subsequently catapulted my educational opportunities for college and beyond. Lastly, I am a true hip-hop enthusiast with a sprinkle of The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Judah and the Lion.

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

    Love working out – gym rat! Also, tend to binge watch good (and not so good) tv shows (recent loves are Game of Thrones, The Act, and slowly catching up on How To Get Away With Murder… can always do any Spike Lee Joint as well)

    What’s your favorite way to stay on top of news about educational access?

    Podcasts – my new guilty pleasure.

    Is there anything you’d like to share with the rest of NPEA’s membership?

    Education – in particular CBO support for marginalized groups – is not about reinventing the wheel. We all win and the populations we serve are ultimately helped more when we collaborate and share best practices. I do this work for my scholars and their families – and I can’t wait to learn from others to better support my scholars!

  5. An NPEA Member Spotlight On… Gateway Public Schools!

    Every month, we will feature an NPEA member who recently joined. We hope you enjoy getting the chance to learn more about some of the people and organizations within our network! Interested in being included in an NPEA spotlight? Fill out this form

    Get to know Sharon Olken, Executive Director of Gateway Public Schools:

    Describe your program or your work in one sentence.

    Gateway Public Schools is a non-profit charter school organization dedicated to changing historic patterns of achievement by ensuring our diverse student body has the habits, skills and resources necessary for success in college and beyond.

    What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to address by joining NPEA?

    We are eager to improve our understanding of our alumni’s experiences and success after they graduate from Gateway – in college and beyond.  We are also interested in developing stronger relationships and partnerships with colleges and universities who are committed to supporting first generation students and students of color and helping them thrive at the post-secondary level.

    What’s on your desk at the moment?

    We Dare Say Love: Supporting Achievement in the Educational Life of Black Boys by Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Jarvis R. Givens, and Christopher P. Chatmon; Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond; my To-Do list and notebook; a huge water bottle; flowers from Gateway High School’s garden; and San Francisco Giants’ bobbleheads (Willie Mays and Buster Posey).

    What are your goals for this year?

    Going into next school year, we are excited to focus on ways to foster collaboration across organizations on behalf of students.  We hope to continue to share our student agency work through Gateway Impact and engage schools and districts in conversations about how teachers are compensated and supported in their professional growth. Over the past several years, Gateway has engaged in an ambitious teacher salary project to ensure our educators make a livable wage and launched Gateway Impact, a collaborative professional development platform sharing Gateway’s best practices and resources with educators at no cost to its users.

    What have you found most helpful since you joined our network?

    Specific resources related to increasing access and success in college for traditionally underrepresented students, models of successful programs and aspirational approaches, inspirational leaders and educators.

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

    Cooking, reading, trying to learn Pilates. And, rooting for Bay Area sports teams!

    Is there anything you’d like to share with the rest of the membership?

    I have been a teacher and educational leader for more than 20 years, and in that time I have attended many education gatherings and conferences – some memorable and some not-so-much. I was totally blown away and inspired by the NPEA conference and the people I met there. What a fantastically talented and powerful group of people.

  6. Member Spotlight: City Year Boston

    May 2017 Member Spotlight: City Year Boston

    SNAPSHOT:

    Elevator Speech: City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. In Boston, City Year recruits, trains, and deploys AmeriCorps members into service in 21 schools across the Boston Public Schools (BPS), where they reach more than 10,000 students every day and collectively serve more than 450,000 hours over the academic year. Diverse teams of City Year Boston AmeriCorps members serve full-time in schools, providing school-wide and individualized support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. City Year Boston focuses its interventions in three key areas, helping students improve their performance in attendance, positive behavior, and coursework in math and English Language Arts. City Year Boston is part of a national network working in 27 urban communities across the U.S. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year Boston’s service is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

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  7. Member Spotlight: Give Something Back

    February 2017 Member Spotlight: Give Something Back

    Updated Give Back

    SNAPSHOT:

    Elevator Speech: Give Something Back (“Give Back”) is an educational focused public charity that provides mentors and scholarships to help Pell Grant-eligible students go to college and graduate in four years, debt free. The program selects lower-income, academically driven students in 9th grade through an application and interview process. Once enrolled, Give Back pairs them with mentors, offers them academic and social enrichment programming, and requires them to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA while taking a college preparatory course load. Scholars then attend a Give Back partner college or university, debt free, and graduate in four years. Founded in 2003, Give Back currently serves over 200 students annually, and has expanded to locations in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The organization has seen strong results, as Give Back’s scholar alumni have a 90% on-time graduation rate at 4-year colleges and 100% employment rate among alumni with college degrees. (more…)

  8. Williams College

    November/December 2016 Member Spotlight: Williams College

     

    SNAPSHOT:

    Elevator Speech: Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, MA (about 135 miles northwest of Boston). Founded in 1793, Williams was one of the trailblazing schools that launched American higher education and has path-breaking originality in its DNA. Most notably, Williams offers more than 60 Tutorials each year, which are academic experiences that pair two students with a faculty member in deep inquiry of a single topic over an entire semester. The college also boasts a longstanding commitment to enrolling and supporting underrepresented students. Williams is one of about four-dozen colleges in the U.S. that practices need-blind admission for domestic applicants (including undocumented students and those with DACA status) and meets 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted student, every year. The college enrolls 2,200 students who hail from nearly every state and more than 85 countries. Nearly 40% of Williams’ students are American students of color, and 15% are the first in their families to attend college. Half of all Williams’ students receive financial aid from the college. (more…)

  9. The Achieve Program at Noble and Greenough School

    October 2016 Member Spotlight: The Achieve Program at Noble and Greenough School

    achieve-logo

    SNAPSHOT:

    Elevator Speech: The Achieve Program (“Achieve”) at Noble and Greenough School (“Nobles”) is a school-based, non-profit organization that provides academic and social enrichment through summer and academic year (Saturday) programming to selected, motivated students in grades 6-12 from Boston Public Schools (BPS) who qualify for federal free or reduced lunch. Achieve is housed at Nobles in Dedham, MA, and represents a unique private and public school partnership between Nobles and BPS to best serve the greater Boston community. The program was founded in 2007, and currently serves over 160 students from 30 BPS schools located in communities such as Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Roslindale, Charlestown, and East Boston. Achieve scholars are motivated, resilient, and thoughtful. Currently 98% are students of color, 89% will be first generation college students, and 70% speak a second language at home.

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  10. Future Leaders Program

    September 2016 Member Spotlight: Brewer Foundation Future Leaders Program (FLP)

    SNAPSHOT:

    Elevator Speech: The Brewer Foundation Future Leaders Program (FLP) is an educational access nonprofit that provides academic resources and leadership training to deserving students from the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in Dallas, Texas. FLP is one initiative of the Brewer Foundation (formerly, the Bickel & Brewer Foundation), which is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation funded annually by the generosity of the law firm Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, as well as donor contributions. Founded in 2001, FLP has been recognized by both the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Governor’s Office, and has now emerged as a national model of public-private partnership. FLP works with 23 DISD partner schools and serves over 300 DISD students in grades 5-12, as well as graduates now attending college. The program is available for free to students from economically challenged neighborhoods in South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and West Dallas. Students are chosen for FLP based on their scholastic aptitude, school attendance, civic involvement, and leadership potential. Once enrolled, students participate in academic enrichment programming on weekends, as well as intensive summer programming for high school students to assist with college research, applications, and more.

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