Using Data and Following Students Allows Uncommon Schools to Offer Immediate Support to Graduates
Data plays a critical role in Uncommon Schools’ strategy for supporting its graduates, helping the charter school network target students who might need additional support and responding immediately.
Every high school in the network has an alumni counselor on staff. That counselor spends part of the year working at the high school getting to know students and learning about the elements of the school’s culture and academics that may ultimately affect their success in college.
Then the counselors spend part of the year traveling to different regions of the state where they work directly with alumni on their college campuses.
“They’re on the road visiting students and supporting alumni from across the Uncommon Schools network,” said Patrick Rametti, Uncommon’s director of college completion.
Every Uncommon graduate has at least one in-person visit with the counselor in their region during their freshman year. The counselors also offer additional targeted support to students who may be at risk for not persisting.
To determine a graduate’s level of risk, the counselors consider factors such as their high school GPA and SAT scores, as well as how they’re doing in their college courses. The network asks students to authorize the counselors to have access to their academic records and also has data-sharing agreements with certain colleges.
In some cases, the risk factors might not be academic, but rather financial or because of a personal issue.
“We have a pretty good read on every kid and what their big risks are,” Rametti said. “We try to get access to that data so that if and when a student runs into trouble, we’re able to react quickly without running into barriers.”
Collecting and reviewing data at every point of a graduate’s college experience – not just whether they finish – allows the network to offer instant support if an alumnus needs it.
“A big part of our approach is interventions,” he said. “We define an intervention as a situation where our students are at risk of being off-campus. The alumni support is the thing that might make the difference keeping that kid on campus.”
Ed Trust–NY is periodically highlighting how high schools and school districts across New York help their graduates to and through college. Learn more at edtrustny.org/ToAndThrough.