Guest Blogger, Stacie Gardana, Director of Administration
Welcome to my first blog ever! I am Stacie Gardana, the Director of Administration with Career Compass. I’ve been with the company since 2009, and began as a College & Career Coach. I now oversee all of the amazingly dedicated college & career coaches across the state of Louisiana. And by the way - there are 80 of us now! I still can’t believe how much we have grown.
A major part of my work involves ensuring consistency across all Career Compass programs and locations. That’s no simple task when you serve 184 schools in 38 school districts, but I love it!
Now that the 2016-2017 school year has concluded, we have the opportunity to look back and evaluate how Career Compass impacted the students, families, and communities that we serve across the state.
Many people don’t appreciate how crucial data collection and analysis is to our work. We track EVERYTHING when we work with a student and we set goals. We tell our students: “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there?” We take this to heart and employ it in our own work.
At any given time, we can pinpoint where our students are in the college application process, and we know what their next steps should be and when the steps need to be completed. That’s just at the student level, and when you have 35,000+ student encounters, it’s not a trivial undertaking.
At the organizational level, we pull the data to see how we’re doing at several points in the year. We sort through it with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that our students are meeting the milestones within the right timeframes. And if they are not, the data is what tells us where we need to make adjustments, where to put more resources, etc. We do this at every level - school, district, region, and statewide.
At the end of the school year, we do a final compilation of the statewide numbers for all of the tens of thousands of students we serve. This is always my favorite time of the year, because now we are armed withstatistics to back up our claims. And, we can celebrate all of our students’ successes.
When most people think of Career Compass’ work, they think we only help 12th graders find their way into a post-secondary school. The reality is that our staff often works with students as early as the 6th grade! People often do not realize that we help students chart a path to ALL types of post-secondary education - not only four-year. We offer a variety of services that enable our coaches to reach students at the appropriate level, so that they can start thinking productively about how their choices and decisions will affect their future.
I’m proud to present some of our key numbers for the 2016-17 school year to you. The official 2016-2017 Annual Report will be released soon, so stay tuned!
Let’s break this down more, because real impact is so much more than the number of students served.
This was a record year! I am proud to be associated with an organization that has had this level of impact on Louisiana students. Without the hard work and dedication of our staff, none of this would be possible. The genuine, caring relationships they have with our students are the reason we achieve the results that we do.
About Stacie: Stacie Gardana is the Director of Administration for Career Compass of Louisiana. When she’s not singing karaoke and being an integral part of the church family at Healing Place Church (not usually at the same time!), she has her hand in pretty much every aspect of Career Compass’ human resources and data analysis operations. From overseeing training and professional development for coaches, to recruitment and hiring, to scrutinizing every step of the coaching model to always make it better for students, Stacie wears many hats, and does it well. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is wife to Tony, and mother to Tanner and Nicole. She’s worked with Career Compass since 2009, and was one of Career Compass’ first college & career coaches. Stacie graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) with both a Bachelor’s of Arts in General Studies and a Master of Social Work.