What’s a metaphor for College Beyond? A village.

Dr. Andre Perry and Paris Woods at the WBOK 1230 station on March 28.

Many thanks to our Propeller mentor, Dr. Andre Perry, for the invitation to talk college persistence on his WBOK radio show, Free College, this week.

Dr. Perry asked Exec. Dir. Paris Woods, “Particularly if you’re a first generation college student, you don’t naturally have these support systems in place. If there’s a metaphor for your organization, what is it? Is it a family? A safety net?”

So often, the way we think of college is, ‘Now students are on their own, it’s a matter of independence,’ and that no student is relying on anyone else for support. And I think that’s a great myth about how college education works in this country.

Paris’s answer: “I think one metaphor might be that of a village. So often, the way we think of college is, ‘Now students are on their own, it’s a matter of independence,’ and that no student is relying on anyone else for support. And I think that’s a great myth about how college education works in this country.

Every student receives support. I think about how I was a first generation student, but I went to school [at Harvard] with plenty of students with many generations of college attendance…and how much they relied on their parents, how many different folks they could call for an answer to a question that they had. And we want to be in that position both to provide support to students but to connect them to a network of support that they might not otherwise have access to.”

Check out the full video, which The Hechinger Report streamed live on its Facebook page, here.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our Supporters page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust Makes Gift to College Beyond

College Beyond is delighted to announce a grant from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust to support our 2017-2018 programs.

The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust was established from the generosity of World War II veteran and New Orleans business man Oscar J. Tolmas, who donated his entire estate to the trust. The Trust is focused on supporting the social benefit missions of local charitable organizations. We are grateful for the Trust’s support, which is focused on our 2017-2018 student coaching services.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our Supporters page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25


College Beyond Joins Propeller’s 2017 Growth Accelerator

Growth Accelerator Class of 2017, Photo courtesy of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation

After an impactful Fall semester in Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation’s Startup Accelerator, College Beyond is thrilled to have been selected to participate in Propeller’s 2017 Growth Accelerator.

College Beyond will join 15 other growth-phase social enterprises across food, water, education, and health sectors for the Growth Accelerator’s three-month intensive in Spring 2017. Focused on scale and financial sustainability, the Growth Accelerator helps impact-oriented businesses and non-profits to quickly build capacity in support of their missions.

Learn more about the amazing innovators who make up the 2017 grow-and-scale accelerator cohort at Propeller’s website.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25


College Beyond Joins Local Leaders in GNOF Exec. Dir. Fundamentals Program

Members of the GNOF fundamentals program gather in late January 2017. Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Business Report.

At College Beyond, we believe in constant learning and growth. We support young people in their development as students, and we know that our own development as professionals and as an organization is essential to our mission as well.

What’s better than getting to do that growth in community?

This January, College Beyond’s Paris Woods got to join fellow Executive Directors from non-profits across New Orleans in a three-day intensive through the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Executive Director Fundamentals Program.

Led by the amazing folks at CompassPoint, the group spent three days learning and applying new approaches to help their respective organizations move faster and more strategically toward their unique and important missions.

Many thanks to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for creating this opportunity, and to the New Orleans Business Report for snapping the group photos at right!

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Alliance for Diversity and Excellence Honors College Beyond Executive Director

KIPP New Orleans Executive Director Rhonda Alouise and KIPP Renaissance High School Principal Joey Laroche accept the 2016-2017 ADE Leadership Award. Photo courtesy of ADE.

Today the New Orleans Alliance for Diversity and Excellence honored 17 members of the New Orleans education community at its annual Awards Breakfast, held at Warren Easton High School. College Beyond Executive Director Paris Woods was awarded the 2016-2017 Innovation Award.

The Alliance for Diversity and Excellence is a collaborative founded by 35 African American education leaders in New Orleans. Learn more about ADE and view footage of the breakfast in this brief video.

Or, read more about the New Orleans Alliance for Diversity and Excellence in this post by Second Line Education Blog’s Lamont Douglas.

College Beyond Executive Director Paris Woods was honored to be included in this year’s awardees, which comprise an outstanding group of New Orleans educators, including:

  • Advocacy Award (Mrs. Deirdre Burel, Our Voice Nuestra Voz-Mary Moran, Stand For Children/Mr. Dana Henry )
  • Courage Award (Mr. Bill Rouselle, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson)
  • Innovation Award (College Beyond-Ms. Paris Woods/ Norman C. Francis Teacher Residency-NSNO/Dr. Renee Akbar)
  • Leadership Award (KIPP- Mrs. Rhonda Aluise/ Mr. Joey Laroche, Dillard University- Dr. Walter Kimbrough)
  • Legacy Award (Mr. John Brown, Mr. Walter Goodwin)
  • Mentoring Award (Orchid Society- Mrs.Ariel Wilson, Landry/Walker Mr. Powell/ Edna Karr- Mr. Brown)
  • School Achievement Awards (Sophie B. Wright-Sharon Clark, Bethune-Mary Haynes Smith)

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25


Welcome Shelby O’Dell, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer

Shelby O’Dell joins the College Beyond team in January 2017.

The College Beyond team is excited to welcome Shelby O’Dell, our 2017 AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.

During her time with College Beyond, Shelby will focus on design and testing of our 2017 high school FAFSA and college enrollment supports at our 5 partner high school campuses.

Shelby is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Alabama, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She brings experience supporting youth and community development organizations in a variety of capacities, including education, adjudication, and homelessness.

Shelby comes to College Beyond through a three-year partnership with Tulane University’s AmeriCorps VISTA program, during which College Beyond will host several VISTA volunteers.

Founded in 1965, VISTA is a federally-run service program whose goal is combating poverty in America. Learn more about the impact of the AmeriCorps VISTA program here.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25


Pro Bono Publico Foundation Renews College Beyond Grant

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The Rex Organization’s Dr. Stephen Hales and College Beyond Exec. Dir. Paris Woods at the Rex Den awards ceremony on January 7.

We are delighted to announce that the Pro Bono Publico Foundation has made a renewal grant to College Beyond in support of our 2016-2017 programs.

A founding investor in our organization, the Pro Bono Publico Foundation is a local charitable trust founded by the members of the Krewe of Rex in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Foundation is focused on responding to current needs of New Orleans and its residents through public service, awarding $1 million in grants this year. We are grateful for Pro Bono Publico’s continued support, which is focused on our 2016-2017 student coaching cycle.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25


As 2017 Approaches, Support Students Like Shondranell

From our Executive Director

Executive Director Paris Woods

Dear Friends,

As December draws to a close, we are celebrating a busy and impactful year.

In 2016, we launched programs with Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, and five local high schools — which means that we get to work with students like Shondranell Brown.

I met Shondranell in August.

A first-generation college student, she was excited to be at Loyola, but wasn’t sure where to begin when it came to tackling all of the challenges she found when she got there.

She couldn’t afford to buy her $160 math textbook and started to get behind in her work.

She also works 25 hours per week at Smoothie King to afford her monthly tuition payments. She thinks about the bill a lot, and what will happen if she doesn’t earn enough money to pay it.

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Shondranell Brown, Loyola University ’21

There were many times this semester when social stressors, financial obligations, and academic adjustments felt like too much to handle.

Luckily, Shondranell was able to turn to her College Beyond college success coach, Erica Martinez.

They set up Google calendar to manage various academic and work commitments. Erica showed her how to keep a running to-do list and shared mindfulness tips for the times when stress set in.

Together they reviewed Shondranell’s financial aid and went to speak with her advisor. They helped Shondranell get a voucher to purchase the remaining textbook she needed.

Most important, Erica was there to listen when Shondranell needed it.

Via text messages, social media snaps, and impromptu meetings, Shondranell was able to access Erica at the times she needed her most and came to view her as a trusted advisor and friend.

Shondranell is still in college today, gearing up for her second semester this spring. And not only did she pass first semester, but she earned a 3.3 GPA!

With your support, she can continue to get the encouragement and support she needs to tackle freshman year and build the skills and confidence to keep going with her college career.

Help students like Shondranell by making a year-end gift today.

$1,000 provides coaching to a student for an entire year
$500 buys books for a semester
$120 one-time or $10/month pays an important fee, like Orientation
$60 one-time or $5/month covers the cost of a peer mentor for one college student
$25 enrolls three students in our mass-texting campaign

You can make a one-time donation or sign up to give monthly on the College Beyond website.

Thank you for your support, and Happy New Year!

Warmly,

Paris Woods
Co-founder & Executive Director

 


College Beyond Guest Blog at NSNO: What TOPS Cuts Mean for New Orleans Students

This year, Louisiana cut funding for TOPS, the statewide college scholarship fund. This effects our students and families in important, often disproportionate ways.

As part of our advocacy efforts on behalf of our students, College Beyond is a member of the growing Louisiana College Access Coalition, which has come together in support of preserving TOPS funding.

This week, coalition member New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) invited Executive Director Paris Woods to guest blog about the impact TOPS cuts have for New Orleans students.

Paris writes, “The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) provides full-tuition scholarships to students who meet set academic benchmarks in high school. Originally founded to help low-income students afford college, the program quickly expanded to serve students from any socioeconomic background. Today, 41% of TOPS recipients are from families with annual incomes of $100,000 or more. Given the rising costs of the program and dramatic budget shortfalls, the legislature voted to reduce TOPS funding by 30% with most of the cuts going into effect this spring.

These reductions will hit hard for low-income students. Consider that in 2016, the maximum Pell grant is $5,815 while the typical public college cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room, and board, is nearly $16,000. LSU has the highest graduation rate in Louisiana and costs in-state students $22,000 a year to attend. These costs nearly put college out-of-reach for the 39% of young people in Orleans parish who live below the poverty line.”

Tight budgets mean tough decisions. In the case of TOPS, we believe Louisiana should prioritize funding to low-income students to continue to support equitable college access for all its youth.

As Paris concludes, “In an ideal world, we could fully fund the TOPS program. If financial constraints persist, however, a tiered system that prioritizes students from low-income backgrounds will provide the most equitable access to college for students who have otherwise earned admission and simply need financial assistance to attend.”

Read the full post here. Many thanks to NSNO for amplifying this important message.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Propeller Demo Day: Check Out Our Pitch!

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Photo credit: 4pt0 Schools

Demo Day was a great way to close out a fast and terrific fall semester with the Accelerator at Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation.

Watch Paris’s pitch-practice version of the College Beyond presentation here!

Each team in our cohort had the chance to pitch its venture to a full house at the Broad Theater. Many thanks to everyone who came out to support, including Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Councilmember LaToya Cantrell.

College Beyond’s work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Join in our mission by making a tax-deductible donation today.

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Donation Total: $25