FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Booker T. Washington (BTW) New Technology High School, The Community Foundation, Bossier Parish Community College, Southern University Shreveport, and Career Compass of Louisiana Partner to Increase College Enrollments and Completion in North Louisiana

Shreveport, LA – February 3, 2017 – Career Compass of Louisiana, a nonprofit organization, is partnering with Booker T. Washington (BTW) New Technology High School in Caddo Parish and two regional post-secondary institutions to pilot a new, comprehensive post-secondary access and success initiative, the first of its kind in North Louisiana.

The goal of the project, called “Coaching to Completion,” is to increase post-secondary applications and college enrollment by BTW students, and to ultimately improve their chances of staying in college and completing their degrees. Historically, just 46 percent of BTW students have enrolled in post-secondary educational programs, and even a smaller percentage have gone on to complete their degrees.

Starting in the 2016-17 school year and continuing through the 2019-20 school year, approximately 512 9th – 12th grade students at BTW will receive a full range of college and career access services from Career Compass, including one-on-one assistance with key college application matters such as financial aid, entrance exam registration, testing, and important deadlines.  Partnering with the school counseling staff and administration, students will participate in small group coaching to educate students about the state’s Jump Start pathway options, FAFSA awareness and application assistance, college and career awareness seminars, and personalized college and career coaching.

After students graduate from high school, those attending either Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) or Southern University Shreveport (SUSLA) will continue to receive support from Career Compass through the end of their second year. This support will help students identify potential obstacles that could prevent them from being successful in college (e.g., FAFSA filing, registration deadlines, payment deadlines, etc.) and will assist them in taking the steps to overcome those obstacles,

Principal Kristi Young said of the project, “Career Compass has been instrumental in guiding our students to attend post-secondary institutions so that they are positioned for life-long success. With the support of the Belden Family Fund and The Community Foundation, we’re able to take this work to a new level and provide coaching and support to our students even after they leave our school building. BTW’s teachers do a wonderful job preparing our students academically and emotionally for college, and now we have a way to continue supporting them after they leave our high school. We’re excited to see what this project will do for our students and for our community.”

The four-year project began this fall, and is funded by a donation from the Belden Hull Daniels Family Fund, administered by The Community Foundation of North Louisiana.

“We are committed to helping to close the income and wealth gap between African Americans and Anglo Americans in Shreveport, said Belden and Pamela Daniels, the trustees of the fund. “A college degree is an essential ingredient. Career Compass has long-standing working relationships with the Caddo Parish School District, the Booker T. Washington High School, Bossier Parish Community College, Southern University Shreveport LA and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana. This collaborative partnership provides a fertile ground in which to test and prove a "Coaching to College Completion Initiative" that substantially increases college completion rates for economically disadvantaged first-generation students in Shreveport. We are pleased to be able to support this pilot effort, and contribute to its long-term success.”

“We are so thankful for BTW, its administration, and our students for welcoming us onto their campus and working diligently with us to implement the model, said Kacy Edwards, Career Compass Co-Executive Director. “Through the generosity of the Belden Hull Daniels Fund and The Community Foundation of North Louisiana, students will experience growth and achieve at their full potential, not only during their high school years, but for years after.”

“Many times, students and their families overlook the high-quality options offered by our state’s community and technical college system. BPCC and SUSLA have many excellent programs that provide pathways to the region’s most in-demand jobs, but students just don’t know about them. Our coaches are trained to make sure students know what these options are and how they can be accessed. Whether it’s a two-year or four-year school, our numbers show that students who work with Career Compass are applying to and being accepted by Louisiana institutions of higher education,” said Crystal Burch, Career Compass Director of Strategic Partnerships.

About Us (in alphabetical order)

Booker T. Washington New Technology High School (www.caddoschools.org) is located in Caddo Parish and is part of the Caddo Parish School System. Opened in 1950, the school is serving 712 7th – 12th grade students this year. 

Career Compass of Louisiana (www.careercompassla.org) is Louisiana’s nonprofit authority on college and career access. Based in Baton Rouge, LA, Career Compass serves 152 schools in 36 parishes across the state. Career Compass’ goal is to increase the number of students in Louisiana who attend a post-secondary institution upon high school graduation (technical, community and four-year universities). Its mission is to remove the obstacles that keep students from pursuing a post-secondary education. Nearly 100 percent of the students who work with Career Compass apply to and/or are accepted to a post-secondary school they can successfully attend after high school graduation. Of that number, 75 percent remain enrolled in the post-secondary institution to which they were accepted.”  Career Compass is a low-cost way for middle and high schools to help their students achieve their post-secondary goals.

Established in 1961, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy. By bringing together fund donors, their financial advisors and nonprofit agencies, the Foundation is a powerful catalyst for building charitable giving and effecting positive change in our area. Through the generosity and vision of our family of donors, both past and present, the Foundation has made grants to vital nonprofit organizations since our inception.  In its shared endeavor to build a more robust, vibrant community, the Foundation funds a variety of critical initiatives, including education, health, arts and culture, and poverty alleviation. Through integrity and sound financial practices, the Foundation has successfully stewarded the philanthropic interests of past donors and is poised to lead the next generation of givers to address the challenges facing our region. (www.cfnla.org)

Contact Information

Career Compass of Louisiana 

Contact Carrie Peña

225-341-2161

cpena@careercompassla.org

###