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Focus on Mentee-Mentor Relationships: The 10th Grade Implementation of iMentor's College Ready Program

November 22, 2016

The iMentor College Ready Program is a school-based mentoring program that aims to help students build the mindsets, skills, and knowledge necessary to enroll and succeed in college. iMentor works with partner high schools that serve low-income students, and places at least one full-time staff member in each partner school to help implement the program. In each school, iMentor engages in four key activities:Matching mentees and mentors,Supporting mentee-mentor pairs,Teaching college knowledge and non-cognitive skills through a weekly iMentor class, andProviding mentees and mentors opportunities to interact, in person and online.The Research Alliance is conducting an in-depth evaluation of the iMentor College Ready Program in eight New York City high schools. With support from the Social Innovation Fund, the Research Alliance is examining iMentor's roll-out and implementation in these schools, as well as its impact on a range of outcomes related to students' preparation for college.Focus on Mentee-Mentor Relationships examines how the College Ready program was implemented for 10th graders in all eight evaluation schools. According to iMentor's leaders, the development of close mentee-mentor relationships is the most important outcome for 9th and 10th grade students in the program, because these relationships will provide a foundation for the college readiness, application, and enrollment work that pairs take on in 11th and 12th grade. Therefore, this report focuses on the development of these relationships, as well as the overall quality of program implementation for 10th graders.The report provides a detailed description of the four key components of the iMentor College Ready Program and assesses the implementation of these program elements against specific benchmarks established by iMentor. It also assesses how specific types and quantities of interaction (e.g., emails, text messages, phone calls, in-person meetings) between mentees and mentors are associated with the closeness of their relationships.

Connecting Teachers and Ed-Tech Developers: Lessons from NYC's Gap App Program

January 11, 2016

In 2011, with support from a federal Investing in Innovation grant, the NYC Department of Education launched Innovate NYC Schools. The initiative was designed to address two related challenges to effectively integrating education technology (ed-tech) into classrooms: First, procurement of ed-tech tools is often hampered by a disconnect between teaching and learning demands on one hand, and developers' supply of tools and services on the other. Educators are not always informed about the tools and interventions that are available, while developers may not fully understand students' and teachers' needs. Second, because the DOE's traditional procurement process via formal Requests for Proposals is lengthy, it may be prevent some developers from bidding, and technology that was brand new when an RFP was released may be outdated by the time it reaches schools.This report focuses on Innovate NYC's Gap App challenge and pilot program, which invited developers to submit an app aimed at solving a specific learning challenge. A number of the apps were then piloted in NYC public schools. During the pilot period, the apps were used in classrooms, and teachers had opportunities to provide feedback directly to developers, in an effort to help make the apps more useful.The report describes the design of the Gap App challenge and the implementation of the pilot program in schools. It then considers whether using a Gap App influenced the way participating teachers and students approached technology in the classroom and provides a set of lessons that may inform future Innovate NYC Schools projects or similar initiatives in other districts.

Bringing Together Mentoring, Technology, and Whole-School Reform: A First Look at the iMentor College Ready Program

July 1, 2015

The iMentor College Ready Program is a unique model that combines elements of school-based mentoring, whole school reform, and technology in an effort to help students develop the knowledge, behaviors, and skills needed to reach and succeed in college. It is an intensive, four-year intervention offered in schools that serve low-income students. Students are paired with volunteer, college-educated mentors and enrolled in an iMentor class led by a school-based iMentor employee.The program has four central elements: A whole school model, which aims to match all incoming 9thgraders with a mentor, and keep them engaged for their full high school careers;A college-readiness curriculum developed by iMentor, taught by iMentor staff in weekly classes, and reinforced during monthly events for mentees and mentors;A "blended" approach to developing relationships between students and their mentor. Students communicate with their mentor primarily through email, but also meet in person at the iMentor events; andA pair support strategy based on a case-management model for tracking mentee-mentor relationship development.The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting an in-depth evaluation of the iMentor College Ready Program in eight New York City high schools. With support from the Social Innovation Fund, the Research Alliance is examining iMentor's roll-out and implementation in these schools, as well as its impact on a range of outcomes related to students' preparation for college. This report is the first in a series from our evaluation. It focuses on iMentor's first year of implementation, which targeted 9th graders in all eight schools. The report provides a detailed description of the four key components of the iMentor College Ready Program and assesses the implementation of these program elements against specific benchmarks established by iMentor. The report also presents a first look at iMentor's effects on 9th graders' outcomes, including their perception of adult support, their aspirations for the future, a set of important college-related "non-cognitive" skills, and several markers of academic achievement.

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on New York City's Expanded Success Initiative

May 21, 2015

A growing number of initiatives around the country are attempting to tackle longstanding inequities, including higher rates of school dropout, incarceration, and unemployment among Black and Latino men. New York City's Young Men's Initiative (YMI) has been at the forefront of these efforts since it was launched in 2011 to address disparities in education, employment, health, and criminal justice.YMI's educational component, the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), focuses on the issue of low college readiness among Black and Latino male students -- a problem that has persisted in NYC even as high school graduation rates have risen. ESI is providing funding and professional development to 40 NYC high schools, aimed at helping them improve outcomes, particularly college and career readiness, among their Black and Latino male students.The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting a four-year evaluation of ESI's implementation and impact. This report, Changing How Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men, presents our findings from Year 2 of ESI (the 2013-2014 school year), drawing on interviews and focus groups with staff at ESI schools and a set of matched comparison schools, a student survey, and an analysis of student achievement data.