During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been forced to deal with closed classrooms, quarantines, and staffing shortages, leading to high absenteeism rates and wasted instruction time.
A disproportionate amount of these impacts have fallen on historically marginalized and underserved groups. To ensure that students succeed in their courses, graduate, and attend college, it is essential to have competent vocational college facilities and career guidance in schools.
The Cowen Institute recently received a $405,000 grant from Kresge’s Education program to further support the institute’s work to increase college access, persistence, and achievement for New Orleans youth. The three-year grant will fund an expansion of the Cowen Institute-led New Orleans College and Career Counseling Collaborative, the College Persistence Collaborative, and the New Orleans-wide FAFSA Completion Campaign, putting the emphasis on meeting the specific needs of new and veterans. school counselors.
The pandemic, hurricane displacement, burnout and turnover have also had a severe impact on local education staff. These upheavals have demonstrated to collaborative leaders that previous “one-size-fits-all” training will no longer suffice, and new, differentiated professional development paths for old and new advisors need to be developed.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Kresge Foundation,” said Cowen Institute CEO Amanda Kruger Hill. “This significant grant will have a tremendous impact on our ability to increase college access and success for young people in New Orleans.”
The grant will fund the continuation of the critical work of the collaborations, while providing additional engagement, training, and workshops tailored to the different needs and backgrounds of counselors and practitioners. The Institute will launch an in-depth training program for new high school counselors to equip them with the tools to best support their students in the college exploration and application process, financial aid, and college preparation programs. career. Additional opportunities for experienced advisors to deepen their expertise and share their knowledge with each other will also be created.
To help practitioners in low-resource schools create and maintain data systems, the program will employ a senior researcher. The fellow will facilitate the professional development of data managers, collaborate with school district leaders and data managers from high school and charter management organizations, and provide personalized support at the high school level.
The funding will also support the Cowen Institute’s FAFSA completion website, which offers timely tools, data, and resources for counselors and others.
As of 2020, approximately 57% of New Orleans public high school students enrolled in college. The program plans to increase this number to 70% among students who work with participating counselors and also to increase retention and college completion.
Since 2005, Kresge has actively invested in various efforts to create opportunities for growth and lasting change for New Orleans residents. This latest grant represents a vote of confidence in the institute’s efforts, deepening a relationship with Kresge that began with his first $50,000 grant to the Cowen Institute in 2018 to launch the FAFSA completion campaign nationwide. the city.
“Across the country, the needs of high school graduates continue to evolve and change. Young academics in New Orleans face their own set of hurdles and deserve an educational workforce equipped to help them overcome modern academic and professional obstacles,” said Bill Moses, executive director of the education program at Kresge. “To better serve students, we need to think about how we can properly prepare, invest and retain the talented advisors who have remained committed to bringing the city’s youth into the next phase of their college journey.
“The Cowen Institute’s work supporting the education of New Orleans youth is a critical part of Tulane’s partnership and commitment to our host city,” said Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice – rector Robin Forman, “and I am very pleased that with this donation from Kresge, we will be able to expand these efforts.