College and Career Bridge for All (CCB4A) is a partnership between the CUNY Office of K-16 Initiatives and the NYCDOE Office of Postsecondary Readiness that ensures all students graduating from NYCDOE high schools have a near-peer mentor to support them to enroll in college or another postsecondary pathway. In 2021, College & Career Bridge for All served 52,724 graduates from the NYCDOE Class of 2021, 70% of whom enrolled in college in Fall 2021.
We have worked with Grouptrail since 2016 when our program launched serving 8,000 students. We grew steadily until in 2020 - in response to the pandemic’s impact on graduating high school seniors - CCB4A tripled in size in six weeks to serve 50,000+ students by employing over 200 college students as near-peer mentors (coaches). CCB4A’s growth and innovation have been supported by Grouptrail’s team every step of the way, and our rapid expansion would not have been possible without the infrastructure, responsiveness, and customization of Grouptrail’s team and platform.
Grouptrail is the only platform we use to support and manage our coaches’ work. In the database, Coaches have access to information about their students to better understand the support they may need (eg. has a student applied to college) and track their work by completing tasks (ie. college application completed) and noting when they have sent messages to students.
Our entire work cycle for our employees leverages Grouptrail:
- Every Monday coaches check Grouptrail for a “pinned” tracker that identifies an outreach topic and the students to receive that message, for example students who have committed to a college but have not completed financial aid will receive outreach to complete their federal and state aid. We are able to create trackers that are differentiated by students’ post-secondary plan (college, professional pathway, or unknown) based on data we receive through our partnerships and upload into Grouptrail. Coaches then send differentiated messages via email email and text to every student identified in their tracker. Coaches love being able to text directly from Enroll and are easily able to copy student emails to put into gmail.
- After sending messages to their students, Coaches submit an “Outreach” form in Grouptrail confirming which students received a message, as well as the topic and date of the message.
- As coaches meet with their students they submit a “Connections'' form in Grouptrail providing us with details on their interactions with students. We know casenotes can be cumbersome for direct service staff, and we have worked to minimize this load through the Connections Form by using Grouptrail’s functionality to link the form and the tasks completed so Coaches only have to mark student’s completion of next steps once.
- As a management team, we are able to then use this information to track trends in our outreach, what themes students most need support on, and what tasks are being completed. We assess the data weekly to follow up on coaches who may be struggling to connect with students, shift outreach themes if we see trends in student needs, and ensure our program is having maximum impact. With 50,000+ students and 220+ staff, our live data analysis is only possible because of customizable reports from Grouptrail.
- The Coach work cycle and all of our innovations with Grouptrail come from direct collaboration with Ariela Friedman, Grouptrail’s Director of Strategy, Education and Community Development. Ariela feels more akin to an extension of CCB4A’s team, she is able to turn our amorphous ideas like “we want something coaches can use in Grouptrail to track their outreach and meetings with students” and turn that into an workflow management tool. Ariela balances a deep understanding of Grouptrail’s resource with her program background that allows her to really help us hone in on our needs and create tools to support them in Grouptrail. She’s also accessible and always willing to meet and discuss how we might be able to keep iterating to better achieve our desired results.
We are so fortunate to have a close partnership with Grouptrial. Our impact to ensure students enroll in their post secondary plan would not be nearly as powerful without the support of Grouptrail.
Also learn more about how Goddard Riverside's Options Center uses Grouptrail >