Workshop Sessions: Wednesday, Sept. 18
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9:45 AM - 10:45 AM 

Effective Practices Sessions

Building Bridges: From Homelessness to College Access and Success
Homeless and foster youth numbers are growing each year.  These students have significant obstacles in front of them, such as lack of housing, food insecurity, abandonment, abuse and neglect.   This presentation will demonstrate how a Graduation Coach and a McKinney Vento Liaison collaborated to get six colleges in Indiana to identify a point of contact on their campus.   This point of contact helps students navigate the campus and provides the necessary support to obtain a college degree. This session will enhance and challenge attendees to look at their own organization to see what barriers are in place for students experiencing homelessness or aged out of foster care. 

Presenter(s)Tonya Monnier, District Social Worker/McKinney Vento Liaison, MSD of Pike Township; Karen Bush, Associate Director, K-12 Midwest Regional Office, College Board

Engaging Families & Communities in Financial Aid for College
In this session, participants will learn strategies to engage and support families and students in the financial aid process. Attendees will understand how to build authentic partnerships that include families, community based organizations, and schools; hear about strategies developed with student input that are successfully reaching families of color; and learn how school teams are using student-level data to engage all scholars in the financial aid process. Presenters will demonstrate how the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) model can help refine strategies related to financial aid.

Presenter(s)Angelica M. Alvarez, Postsecondary Readiness Student & Family Engagement Manager, Puget Sound Educational Service District; José M. García, Jr., Librarian Services Manager, King County Library Systems; Joelle Bejarano, Assistant Director of Innovation, Strategy & Performance, Kent School District

Eyes On the Prize: Aligning School and Community Resources to Improve Low-Income Student Access & Success
Thirteen public school districts in Wisconsin are partnering with Ascendium Education Group to implement Text Steps, an evidence-based text nudging strategy to help mitigate summer melt among their graduates and increase on-time college enrollment rates. For two of these districts, Green Bay Area Public Schools and Racine Unified School District, Text Steps is one initiative within an ecosystem of efforts to support low-income students in their postsecondary goals. This session will explore ways in which their work to build leadership support, community partnerships, and data capacity have helped these two school districts improve college access and career readiness for their students.

Presenter(s): Carolynn Lee, Program Officer, Ascendium Education Group; LauraSiemering, School Counselor, Green Bay Area Public School District - East High School; Jody Bloyer, Deputy Chief of Secondary Transformation, Racine Unified School District

Improving College Readiness and Completion for Students Who Have Experienced Foster Care
Join us as we discuss the challenges foster care students face graduating from high school on time and matriculating to postsecondary education and training. In this session we will share successful strategies and targeted results in working with this population. Further topic areas to be covered include equity, and how data can illustrate needs and improvements. There will be time dedicated for attendees to share their experiences and develop their own strategies as well as for Q&A.

Presenter(s): Barbie Martin, Director of School and Community Outreach, Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Maggie Stevens, Chief Operations Officer, Indiana Connected By 25; Anisa Evans, Older Youth Initiatives Manager, Indiana Department of Child Services

Innovation, Quality, and Today’s Students: How Advocacy Can Support Student Success
New education delivery models are emerging as quickly as postsecondary student demographics are changing. Against a landscape of innovative education delivery models, short-term programs, stackable credentials and competency-based education, federal policy needs to change to address the needs of today’s students. To ensure students are successful in their journey to and through their program of study, it is critical to ensure program quality is a paramount consideration for policymakers. This session will explore the intersection of innovation in education delivery, the demographics of today’s students and the ways in which we can be advocates for federal policy change that will ensure student success.

Presenter(s): Julie Peller, Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates; Mary Marcy, President, Dominican University of California; Scott Cheney, Executive Director, Credential Engine

Interventions for Equity in College Access and Success
Attend this session to learn about Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant projects on key interventions for closing the opportunity gap for underserved students on college readiness. Presenters will discuss the promising practices and lessons learned from across the EIR grant program to implement effective strategies with local education agencies and schools in a variety of geographic settings and with a variety of populations. By way of a guided discussions, participants will learn how to translate lessons learned into their own work. This session will also address how the interventions built staff capacity to address equity and closed opportunity and achievement gaps for underserved students, including low-income students, students of color, and English learners.

Presenter(s)Carrie Murthy, Senior Research Associate, Westat; Jenna Scott, Senior Study Director, Westat; Lisa Benham Lewis, i3 ERWC Project Director, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools

Project UNISON: Building Social-Emotional Skills for Postsecondary Education Through Student Opportunity Networks
Project UNISON is an Investing in Innovation (i3) project funded by the US Department of Education to increase high school graduation rates and readiness for post-secondary education in rural Florida. The project used a whole school mentoring approach to focus on the development of students’ social and emotional skills to improve academic success, thereby impacting graduation rates in low performing schools and increasing readiness for post-secondary education. UNISON targeted three high schools in NE Florida, and the impact study included fifteen Florida comparison schools. Presenters will share their experience implementing these innovative grant strategies, and will share best practices determined by the UNISON Impact Evaluation study. The study found a statistically significant difference in the high school graduation rates of the three treatment schools (91.73%) compared to the fifteen comparison schools (83.4%).

Presenter(s): Tiara Arline, Collective Impact Coordinator, Columbia County School District; Judy Saylor, UNISON Project Director, Take Stock in Children; Madeline Pumariega, Executive VP and Provost, Tallahassee Community College

Racing to Increase Credentials: Introducing the Stackable Credentials Approach in Michigan
In 2018, the Michigan College Access Network took a leap and launched an effort to change the conversation in Michigan from college versus career to college and career. As a result, the stackable credentials project was born with the goal of communicating the connection between various career pathways and the corresponding education credentials and pathways. Presenters will showcase the tools and resources created to develop “Hot Jobs in Michigan” and the accompanying professional development and communication strategies utilized.

Presenter(s): Christopher Tremblay, Director of External Engagement, Michigan College Access Network; Jamie Jacobs, Senior Director of High School Innovation, Michigan College Access Network; Emma Walter, Strategy Assistant, Michigan College Access Network

The Fast Lane to the #FAFSAFinished Line
When Denton ISD in Denton, TX, began its FAFSA completion work in June 2018, the first step was to create a power district steering committee. The foundation for the success of the committee's work began with the strategic planning and support from the district. Taking time to create a master action plan helped pave the way for a dramatic district improvement. The district leader, combined with leaders from each campus, discovered ways to incorporate existing counseling programming and resources and plan new, sustainable initiatives. Let Denton share with you how its organizational strategies and strong district management set the district toward the #FAFSAFinished line during the summer, long before the FAFSA season began.

Presenter(s)Beth Hughes, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Coordinator, Denton High School; Amy Lawrence, Director of Counseling, Denton ISD; Andrea Wyatt, Lead Counselor, Guyer High School 

The Los Angeles College Promise: Process Mapping Our Way to Success
In this session, attendees will learn how the Los Angeles College Promise used process mapping and student input to both evaluate the design of its program and implement improvements. In leveraging the experience of MDRC, a research organization, LA College Promise enhanced its program effectiveness by streamlining student-facing processes, utilizing targeted communications rooted in behavioral science, and conducting student-centered program evaluation. Participants will have the opportunity to begin process maps of their own and will understand the conditions and knowledge needed to continue the work post-conference.

Presenter(s): Joanna Zimring Towne, Faculty Coordinator, LA College Promise, Los Angeles Community College District; Deborah Harrington, Dean of Student Success, Los Angeles Community College District; Michelle Ware, Operations Associate, MDRC

The 3 Keys to Student Success: Relationships, Intentionality, and Self-Efficacy
Research on a 10-year partnership between Wyman’s college access program and Missouri State University will highlight key lessons learned and an opportunity to apply these lessons to one’s own practice.  Students who had participated in Wyman programming maintained higher GPAs and higher retention rates during their first year of enrollment than their demographically similar peers. Qualitative research identified three key programmatic components contributing to student success:  supportive relationships, intentional experiences, and the development of self-efficacy. Participants will take a deep dive into these key components and consider their application in their own settings.

Presenter(s): Danielle Washington, Senior Director, Post-Secondary, Career, and Leadership Programs, Wyman; Ryan Reed, Coordinator of Success Programs, Missouri State University


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Effective Practices Sessions 

Community Foundations, K-12,  and CSAs: Transforming  Scholarships to Encourage Early Awareness and School Success

Learn how an innovative community-driven Children's Savings Account (CSA) program is transforming the delivery of traditional end-of-school scholarship funds to encourage early awareness and school success. Moderated by the Mott Foundation, a leader in the national CSA movement, panel participants include practitioners from a K-12 and community foundation partnership who describe how to use scholarship dollars and CSAs to reward behaviors and activities aimed at school success and college preparedness, engage donors, and build community support for educational attainment. Early evaluations show the Early Award Scholarship Program is having a positive impact on standardized reading and math scores as well as family saving behaviors.

Presenter(s)Patty Grant, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Wabash County; Benita Melton, Program Director, Education, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Jason Callahan, Superintendent, Wabash City Schools

Design Thinking: Making it Easy to Consider Affordability in the College Decision
How can college access organizations constantly improve their programs with solutions that work for students? During this session, attendees will learn how to use design thinking, a creative process for making iterative improvements and testing creative, innovative solutions to tough problems. Presenters will share design thinking best practices and review a case study on ways to help students make better college decisions by incorporating college affordability. Attendees will leave with tools to implement the simple but effective design thinking process and a dose of inspiration too!

Presenter(s)Nathan Ranney, Director of Product, Moneythink; Amy Malinowski, User Experience Design Lead, Moneythink; Joshua Lachs, CEO, Moneythink

Empowering Parents to Support Their First-Generation College Student
First-generation and immigrant families want their children to attain a college degree, but there is often a mismatch between expectations and the reality of college-going culture in the U.S. Parents are crucial in helping students attain college success but often ignored. They want to be champions for their child’s education, but often don’t know what questions to ask. Approaching parents from a place of empathy and understanding can enlist them as a support system in achieving college graduation success. Presenters will review barriers Latinx families encounter in helping their children access and transition to college. Attendees will walk away with an awareness of Latinx values and culture as well as strategies to help Latinx families support their children through the application process and transition to college. Presenters will share their experiences helping parents navigate college access. They will also present successful strategies for working with first-generation students and their families.

Presenter(s): Erica Rosales, Executive Director, College Match; Erika Viramontes, Counselor Support Specialist, Green Dot Public Schools; Rachel Gonzalez, Director of Training and Capacity Building, Families In Schools 

Finding and Keeping Your Rockstars: Aligning Recruiting, Onboarding, and Professional Development
Achieving great returns on talent creates immeasurable value for all organizations, especially small and medium-sized nonprofits. A critical factor to finding, keeping, and developing great talent is ensuring that the values and competencies required for success in your organization are reflected in every step of the personnel lifecycle, including job descriptions, onboarding, and personalized professional development. Intended for senior leadership and HR professionals, this workshop will explore how to identify what matters most in your organization and how to translate this to all talent-management processes.

Presenter(s)Arshad Merchant, Founder and Managing Director, Boost Social Sector Consulting

Increasing Student Success By Aligning State and Institutional Policy
Participants will learn best practices for aligning state and institutional policy to create a more student-centered system of higher education. This workshop will highlight the fundamentals of facilitating policy change with firsthand examples of how Indiana has tackled common issues through policy reform. Participants will learn how to use better communication and management techniques to get the cooperation, support, and resources that are vital to the implementation of coordinated initiatives.

Presenter(s)Liz Walker, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Convenings, Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Josh Garrison, Associate Commissioner for Legislation and Program Implementation, Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Zach Smith, Legislative and Program Manager, Indiana Commission for Higher Education

My Journey Designed For Me: Transferability vs. Degree Applicability with Transfer Advising Guides (TAGs)
The Alamo Colleges District Transfer Advising Guides (TAGs) highlight the steps necessary to construct transfer advising guides as part of the guided pathways national model. This is an integrated, institution-wide approach that helps students clarify their career and degree goals and the pathways that will help them achieve those goals. TAGs improve time toward goal completion by reverse mapping degree-applicable courses between Alamo Colleges and the transfer university of a student's choice.

Presenter(s): Angela Guadian-Mendez, Director of Student Completion, Alamo Colleges

Partnering to Develop Networks of Relationships For College Students
Networks of relationships with supportive professionals, mentors, and peers can help college students – particularly first-generation college students, students of color, low-income students, and others who face barriers in college environments due to systemic factors – navigate the transition from high school to college and the new challenges they face in this chapter of their lives. Join us to learn about evidence-based frameworks for building networks of supportive relationships, and the power of successful partnerships between community-based organizations and higher education institutions that can help match the right students with the right supports at the right time.

Presenter(s)Dudney Sylla, Program Manager, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership; Jermaine Myrie, Senior Vice President of Development, uAspire

Scaling Early College to Students in the Academic Middle
This session will tell the story of how a rapid expansion of early college opportunity across the Hawaiian Islands has virtually eliminated college access and persistence gaps. Presenters will share two key learnings about the expansion of early college opportunities: 1) the role of an intermediary organization in forging a lasting cross-sector partnership to bring these opportunities to students across the state; and 2) how to navigate changes in leadership roles as the work evolves. New longitudinal data will be presented, and participants will have the chance to interactively workshop potential solutions to several pressing challenges. Come join us in exploring how to expand college access with aloha!

Presenter(s)Alex Harris, Strategic Adviser, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation; Angela Jackson, Associate Director, Hawaii P20


Strategies for Building a Schoolwide Culture of College and Career Readiness: Lessons From Flagstaff High School
Flagstaff High School (FHS) is a rural high school in northern Arizona whose mission is to graduate all students academically prepared for postsecondary success. Over the past year, counselors, teachers, and school administrators embarked on a journey to translate this mission into action by building a schoolwide culture of college and career readiness (CCR). In this session, learn how Flagstaff counselors collaborated with school leaders and college access partners to develop systems of support for CCR buildingwide, which in turn lead to district-level discussion and planning. Participants will learn how administrators supported counselors to be CCR leaders and how ACT, education and career planning, and other data were used to inform CCR strategy and practice throughout the school. Presenters will share their tools and strategies and provide information on how attendees can implement these strategies in their community

Presenter(s): Katherine Pastor, Head of Counseling Department at Flagstaff High School, Flagstaff High School; Tony Cullen, Principal of Flagstaff High School, Flagstaff High School; Thomas Torre Gibney, Research Associate, Regional Educational Laboratory West