By Dr. Eric Dieter
Thanks to the dedication and expertise of Suzanne Wallen, Associate Director of Development for the DDCE, the Educational Pipeline is happy to announce receipt of a substantial grant from Sooch Foundation.
Sooch Foundation, a privately funded charity based in Austin, describes their mission as making “positive and permanent change in the lives of economically disadvantaged people in Austin through increased educational opportunities.” When looking for projects to fund, Sooch Foundation focuses on “nonprofit organizations that implement innovative solutions to long-lasting problems in education.”
We believe the work done in the Longhorn Center for School Partnership (LCSP) fits that bill, and evidently Sooch agrees. Their generous grant of $55,000 helps LCSP carry on the Educational Pipeline’s stated strategic goal of providing “a continuous pathway for students to achieve their highest postsecondary goals.”
The Sooch Foundation grant specifically allows LCSP to “deepen our college access and readiness work at Reagan High School,” according to Ms. Wallen, who specializes in corporate and foundation relations. Reagan High School, located in northeast Austin, is part of the Austin Independent School District (AISD). In recent years the school transformed itself into an “early college high school,” where students can earn sixty college credit hours while earning their high school diplomas. Reagan is an important and longstanding participant in LCSP programs. With the help from Sooch Foundation, we look forward to growing our collaborations with Reagan.
A smaller portion of the Sooch Foundation grant is earmarked for another exciting opportunity, the piloting of a student data management system. Over the last couple of years, the Pipeline Council has explored the best way to integrate information about students from across Educational Pipeline units into a coordinated, longitudinal, and user-friendly data system.
The most comprehensive and appropriate student data system for Pipeline purposes appears to be CoPilot. CoPilot is the creation of another Austin-based nonprofit, College Forward, that offers intensive college “coaching” for students transitioning from high school to college using a “near peer” mentor model.
CoPilot is built on Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform common in the business world. But CoPilot was intentionally designed as a “cloud-based application for capturing a 360-degree view of student information.” It was designed to keep student data safe and clean.
LCSP Assistant Vice President Patrick Patterson is leading the CoPilot test. Simon Hughes, Director of Information Technology Services for the DDCE, has been integral to ensuring the secure and efficient implementation of the system. CoPilot allows LCSP staff, as stated in the Sooch Foundation proposal, “to track trends and measure progress” of students, at Reagan High, and at elementary, middle, and high schools served by LCSP units across Texas.
LCSP staff is currently starting the process of training with College Forward’s CoPilot team. The goal is to have the system operational for the next academic year. Depending on the results of the pilot period, perhaps CoPilot will eventually be commonplace across DDCE units.
CoPilot Student Information Application
Early College High Schools
DDCE Pipeline Council