Fund High Schools to Provide Post-Secondary Support, and Hold Them Accountable for the Results
Students from affluent backgrounds have familial networks along with financial and social capital to help ease the transition from high school to work. Students like ours, on the other hand, often do not have family members who are familiar enough with college bureaucracy to help them navigate the hurdles they encounter. In many cases, their high school takes on this role. We graduated our first class in June 2017, and almost immediately started to field calls from alumni asking for help explaining a letter from the bursar’s office, navigating course registration, or transferring to a school that was a better fit. KIPP has been at the vanguard of the work that many schools have undertaken, formalizing an alumni program and providing post-secondary support. MESA now has a full-time post-secondary success counselor, and runs a workshop series called “13th grade” to help alumni who are out of school and unemployed either re-enroll in college or a high-quality job training program. Over the past eighteen months, we have helped dozens of alumni transition from poverty-wage, dead-end jobs to preparation programs that will lead to a financially sustainable, personally satisfying career.