One of the best ways to measure the quality of an individual high school is to look at whether its graduates matriculate to and then graduate from college. There was no public data tool, however, in New York City that allows parents to learn how many students from a particular high school get to and through college—information that would ultimately enable them to make a more informed decision about where to enroll their child. We conceived of a project to address this because we had sought, without success, to have this data released by New York City governmental authorities, which possess the data.
We supported The Education Trust—New York (Ed Trust) to create a “To and Through” tool which revealed–for the first time–which New York City high schools are preparing students for college completion and made this information available to students, parents, policymakers, and the public in a user-friendly way. Modeled after the University of Chicago’s To & Through Project, it identifies key milestones, in particular college persistence and graduation, and then publicly reports on the data by high school. Our project was designed to reframe college readiness around long-term student success outcomes and to identify key inflection points that enable student success with the goal of providing transparency and K-12 accountability.
Ed Trust, working with The Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), created a tool linked to the National Student Clearinghouse data that shows the percentage of students from every New York State high school who receive TAP funds (families earning under $80,000 per year) and who are attending both private and public New York universities, and persisting there.
We also supported Ed Trust to make the tool available through a partnership with one of the best resources for parents who seek information on schools in New York City – InsideSchools – and we supported the expansion of InsideSchools’ own data that is most useful to families.
In addition, we conceived a way of marketing Ed Trust’s tools to families and students who need them most. We discovered that the free WiFi portals around New York City (called “Link” portals – the old phone booths) house advertising space, a portion of which is supposed to be utilized for public purposes. We helped Ed Trust take advantage of this free digital advertising for its FAFSA completion tools on portals throughout Queens and the Bronx.