A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH FOR
BETTER COLLEGE ADVISING
New Visions for Public Schools in New York City has completed the first year of the College Advising Pilot, an exciting effort to increase college enrollment and persistence. The Pilot supports schools in creating systems and routines that ensure all students receive the advising they deserve, so that every senior graduates with a clear and supported transition plan.
Together, New Visions staff and counselors:
~ focus on helping students apply to college and other postsecondary opportunities
~ use student- and institution-level data to support students and their families in finding “best-fit” colleges or other postsecondary opportunities
~ and use New Visions’ Data Portal to track critical college- and career-going milestones
During the 2018-2019 school year, New Visions brought together nineteen district and charter schools from across New York City to work with and learn from one another. In the 2019-2020 school year, the College Advising Pilot will expand to a total of 27 schools through a partnership between New Visions and the NYC Department of Education.
As a lead partner supporting 81 public and charter schools throughout the city, New Visions noticed that different schools offered varying levels and models of support to students in the college application process. To improve college-going and persistence levels, the College Advising Pilot organizes schools around six cycles of activity needed to get students across the finish line. The cycles bring together a tool (the New Visions Data Portal); a coach who supports counselors in completing and tracking critical college application milestones; a community of counselors who share knowledge and resources; and a structure to support it all.
The six cycles support school staff to:
~ Determine seniors’ eligibility for support programs and develop a postsecondary options list
~ Help seniors apply to college
~ Help students and their caregivers fill out applications for the FAFSA and the New York tuition assistance program (TAP)
~ Determine juniors’ eligibility for support programs and develop a postsecondary options list
~ Help seniors make a college choice; report outcomes for all applications (sit-down conference)
~ Help seniors develop and execute a transition plan to college
New Visions staff provide coaching and technical assistance, but schools also form a professional learning community called CAAN (College Access and Action Network) to help each other successfully complete each cycle of activity. New Visions facilitates six CAAN meetings during the year. At each meeting, participants work together to reflect on the cycle just completed, identifying successes as well as areas for improvement. CAAN participants then consider goals, expectations, and available tools and resources for the coming cycle.
New Visions coaches also engage schools in Strategic Data Check-Ins (SDCs): protocol-driven conversations that take place at defined moments and use data to support critical decision-making and tasks (click here for an example). The SDCs are supported by the use of the New Visions Data Portal, an in-house web application, that allows participating schools to input data and manage students’ progress navigating the cycles.
The College Advising Pilot is one of three New Visions initiatives this year to improve college and career outcomes for black, Latino, and low-income students. In addition, the College Readiness Network for School Improvement, comprised of 18 partner schools, focuses on building school teams’ capacity to lead improvement efforts that result in increases to three indicators of postsecondary readiness: a competitive grade point average, success in advanced coursework, and college-ready scores on state Regents exams, exempting students from remediation in the City.
Finally, in partnership with JobsFirstNYC, New Visions supports development of guided pathways for over-age, under-credited students in transfer schools (small schools designed to support students and accelerate progress to graduation). The Transfer to Careers (T2C) program fosters integrated partnerships between schools and workforce intermediaries, with on-ramps to sector-focused training and employment, to increase students’ access to credentials and job opportunities and smoother transition to work or further education.
New Visions is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students, regardless of race or economic class, have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the rigors of college and the workforce.
Further, New Visions is committed to sharing innovative tools, strategies and lessons learned in New Visions schools with others in New York and throughout the country to prove that meaningful change is achievable at scale and success is possible for every child.