Guest Bloggers, Stacie Gardana, Director of Administration, and Synomen Hebert, Technology Specialist and College & Career Coach
What a year! We can’t believe the 2017-2018 school year has come to a close. We’re so proud of the seniors we worked with this year who graduated and are now off to chase their dreams.
Hearing Pomp & Circumstance fill the room ... watching rows of caps and gowns file in … seeing the smiles and hugs and fist-bumps … okay, we get a little sentimental this time of year. Making it to that finish line is huge, but what’s even better is knowing that 98% of the seniors who walked across that stage who have been served by Career Compass are headed off to bigger and better things. They have plans, and they’re unstoppable.
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 65,000+ student encounters each year, it’s not a trivial undertaking.
When some 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 we have specifically designed services that serve students in 6th grade and up, so that they can start thinking early about how their choices and decisions will affect their future. Other people think we only help students attend four-year institutions, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. We help students chart a path to ALL types of post-secondary education. This year, 45% of the students we work with plan to attend a two-year institution.
At the end of the school year, we do a final compilation of the statewide numbers for all of the students we serve. Synomen works hard throughout the year to ensure that data is properly entered into the system, and really digs in at the end of the year to ensure the data is clean. After all of this work, we get to celebrate all of our students’ successes.
We’re thrilled to present some of our key numbers for the 2017-2018 school year to you - just look to the right. The official 2017-2018 Annual Report will be released soon, so stay tuned!
We are so 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. Have a great summer, and we'll see you in August 2018!
We know firsthand how amazing it is to help our state’s future leaders get started on the right foot after high school. After all, we’re among Career Compass’ first coaches! To help put this year’s numbers into context, we jumped into our time machine to take a look back. When Synomen joined Career Compass in 2007, there were only four coaches, and they still managed to help 616 seniors apply for post-secondary education! And when Stacie joined the team in 2009, Career Compass’ 15 coaches helped 3,144 seniors apply.
This year, we’re proud to say that Career Compass’ team of 75 coaches helped nearly 14,000 seniors follow their post-secondary dreams from 130 public high schools in 30 school districts in Louisiana. And those numbers are just the beginning – we collect and analyze an enormous amount of data to evaluate our impact. 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.
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 of Arts in General Studies and a Master of Social Work.
About Synomen: Synomen Hebert is the Technology Specialist for Career Compass, in addition to serving as a college & career coach for the South region of the state. She was Career Compass’ first hire, which gives her a special spot in our history and in our hearts. She often serves students in her high school alma mater, Brusly High School, and occasionally has the luck of running into the children of her former classmates. The spelling of Synomen’s name is not the only unique thing about her. She is the Career Compass data guru and created the organization’s powerful data system. She, her husband Brett, son Logan, and daughter Brynn are amateur radio operators. Synomen graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, and a Master of Education (M. Ed.).