PlanYour Future: Helping 6th-12th grade students plan, prepare and figure out how to pay for college

submission by tderoy

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

Foundation for California Community Colleges (Fiscal Sponsor)

Organization website:

Organization Twitter handle:


Organization Facebook page:

Organization Instagram:


Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


CCGI helps 6th-12th grade students develop well-informed plans for their education and careers after high school.

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


CCGI helps 6th-12th grade students develop well-informed plans for their education and careers after high school.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


CCGI helps 6th-12th grade students develop a career aspiration, and then plan, prepare and figure out how to pay for college.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay



If other, please specify.:

Currently we benefit 6th-12th grade students in Culver City, El Monte, El Rancho, Hacienda La Puente and Pomona Unified School Districts

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


What is your idea/project in more detail?


CCGI takes a three pronged approach to our goal of ensuring that all high school students graduate with a post-secondary plan. We:

1) Build mobile (in development) and web based ( college and career planning tools that allow each student to develop their own individual portfolio.

2) Partner with K-12 districts to integrate our tools into instructional time and counseling practice (both school based counselors and partner CBOS/university based outreach programs) so that all students meet 18 college and career planning milestones.

3) Facilitate collaboration between our district partners and local colleges/universities to use student portfolios for college recruitment, admission and first year academic placement.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?


In 2013-2014 CCGI piloted our work in four school districts (3 in LA County) reaching more than 25,000 students. During 2014-2015 we've added two additional districts in the region. Our partnerships with districts allow for:

1) Student portfolios to be populated with verified academic transcript data so that guidance can be personalized to each student.

2) Counselor accounts that allow for the case-management and tracking of student progress (individually and/or in the aggregate) on 18 college and career planning milestones.

3) Analysis of student progress (individually and in the aggregate) on the 15 course sequence (A-G coursework) that students must pass in order to achieve minimum eligibility requirements for the California State and University of California systems.

4) A CCGI staff person is assigned to each district to support development of college and career planning requirements for students, and the associated implementation plan. Implementation plans include which milestones will be met by grade level, which lesson plans will be used to help students navigate the system and complete those key milestones, how those lesson plans will be integrated into counseling or instructional time, and who will deliver those lessons.

5) CCGI staff then build capacity among district personnel to facilitate the lesson plans and maximize utilization of the tools we provide.

We work with counselors and students to inform ongoing iteration of our tools. This year our primary focus is revisions to the financial aid section of the website.

In addition to "on-the-ground" implementation, we work with individual campuses and higher education systems to:

1) Support utilization of data from student portfolios for:
a) admissions in the CSU System (students can apply directly from their portfolio on our system, and their academic data is considered verified for admission)
b) first year academic placement in community college -- allowing for a 25-30% reduction in remedial coursework placements.

Additionally, our partnerships with K-12 districts begin in January of the school year prior to implementation. Accordingly, January-September of 2015 will be spent developing additional partnerships in the region.



By 2050, a student in LA will have ongoing college and career planning activities integrated into their educational experience irrespective of school district from 6th grade forward (likely earlier). All of those activities will contribute to their cumulative portfolio on which will be used to support counseling, recruitment, admissions, educational planning and the entire (seamless) application process to colleges, and financial aid/scholarship providers. The resultant rich repository for data about career aspirations and college readiness will be used by employers and educators in the state to support a rational and thougtful approach to developing native talent to meet our workforce needs and ensure a healthy and vibrant economy.

Today, we are proving pieces of this overarching concept, in real time with school districts, colleges and students themselves. Our progress on A-G analysis and planning tools during 2014-2015 will allow us to help districts increase the numbers of students who graduate eligible for admissions to a four year college or university. Increased awareness of post-secondary options and degree pathways will help students to more fully understand the steps ahead of them and arrive at post-secondary ready to succeed.

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.


We view our work as accountable first and foremost to students, and we place them at the center of the equation at all times. While our work focuses primarily on 6th-12th grade students, we house resources on our site for community college students and both the college and career planning resources on the site are relevant to adult learners as well.

Our secondary clients include:

Middle and high school counselors: with the worst counseling ratios in the country, California's school counselors manage average caseloads of 945 students each. We provide tools, lesson plans and user support to help counselors maximize the efficiency with whichthey work with each student, and automate portions of their work (nagging students for forms can be accomplished by mobile app notofication) so that their time can be used for actual counseling.

Schools and districts: benefit by being able to track students progress in ways they've not had access to before. This is especially important as we are likely to see college readiness become a key indicator in API scores, as well as Local Control Accountability Plans.

CSU Admissions: By providing CSU with pre-verified transcript data (already used for A-G progress analysis with students), we prevent them from having to re-enter data, or hand check transcripts against the Doorways database at UC Office of the President. At scale, this has the potential to save the system $12-$15M system-
wide. More important this increases their ability to provide timely and accurate financial aid packages, and to devote more resources to student guidance and counseling during the counseling and admissions process.

Community Colleges: Despite growing recognition that high school transcripts are key to successful first year academic placement, community colleges (as open access institutions) do not and will not request or require that transcript data from students. Our system allows them not only to access transcript data for that purpose, but non-academic data about student's career exploration and aspirations that will support educational planning.

Community and University based college preparation programs: Counselors in these programs generally lack access to student's transcript data. By linking their portfolio to approved providers (we have an approval process), we help to unify and maximize the efforts of all adults participating in a student's planning process.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


We have signed MOUs with all five LA county school districts (named above), three of whom already have active data uploads to our system. The two newer districts are actively working on the file format that allows them to load data into our system.

CCGI staff have been assigned to the districts and are actively working on 2014-2015 implementation plans.

Outside of K-12 districts, we have very active partnerships with the following institutions of higher education:

1) CSU Chancellor's office - has invested $170K in the engineering required to articulate with their CSU Mentor Application platform to allow for seamless application by students and receipt of pre-verified transcript data by their campuses offices of admissions.

2) Rio Hondo Community College is piloting the use of data from our file format for first year academic placement of approximately 350 first year students who graduated from El Monte High school District in Spring 2014. Rio's Dean of Counseling works closely with CCGI to inform the development of counseling tools, messaging and the higher ed user role on our professional center/counselor facing portal - to maximize the use of our system for smoothing transition to community colleges. Our goals include expansion to all Rio Hondo's feeder districts (we are in three of six already) to prove the ability to place all incoming students based on transcripts rather than placement exams.

3) We have initial conversations underway with LAUSD's Director of Secondary Education, Gerardo Loera, as well as local superintendent Bravo (ESC South), to pilot the use of CCGI tools in their high schools.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

How will your project impact the LA2050 "LEARN" metrics?

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle school (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

Percentage of community colleges students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program

CCGI impacts this metric in two ways:
1) studies from the RP group, Community College Research Center, and from Long Beach City College, all indicate that high school transcripts are a better predictor of performance in college coursework than any of the placement exams currently in use in the Community College system. Use of transcripts allow for 25-30% fewer students to place into remedial coursework. Students who get caught in remediation have only a 26% chance of transferring or completing a degree. We are already pilot testing the use of high school transcript data from our system for first year academic placement in math at Rio Hondo College.

2) Additionally, we are on the front end of a collaboration with the academic senate of the community colleges to integrate educational planning tools for community college bound students onto our web-platform.

Increased graduation rates:
One cause of high drop out rates is that students don't understand the relevance of their education to their lives and their futures. All of our work is designed to illuminate and reinforce that connection.

College Matriculation Rates: Lack of college knowledge, and lack of a college going culture are two key barriers to college matriculation. Our entire enterprise is designed to combat those two barriers.

Seamless pipelines: Our work addresses not just college readiness, but college transition as well. We do so in the following ways:

1) We are working towards as seamless a set of tools as possible and CSU's chancellor's office is the earliest partner in our effort to make all application systems seamless for students. Moving forward students should be able to use their portfolio on to populate not just CSU Mentor, but UC Apply and their Cal-grant GPA verification, thereby reducing the possibility of falling through the cracks. More seamless application processes allow for more timely financial aid packages -- which is the make or break factor in a student's decision making process about college.

2) Our dual emphasis on career and college planning helps students to make the connections early between careers and educational goals so that they choose the right colleges and majors to help them enter those fields.

3) Our mobile app and other tools provide continuous support during the summer after high school, to prevent "summer melt."

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.


Three specific metrics:
1) Increased A-G completion rates (previous studies suggest this will take a few years of high quality implementation to achieve)
2) 75% completion of grade level milestones in partner districts
3) 20-30% reduction in remedial placement at participating community colleges

This project collects extraordinary amounts of data, including -- analytics on utilization of our tools, student progress on 18 college and career milestones, applications submitted, transcripts sent, unitary level academic data for each student, and qualitative feedback from all user groups. We can additionally articulate data sets with our higher education partners to run queries about post-matriculation outcomes.

While we have an external evaluator on contract, we are in the process of redefining our evaluation questions as information gathered and lessons learned during our first year have spurred new thinking about the various dimensions of this work.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?


1) Provide resources and support -- not a model to replicate:
Our success to date is attributable to several factors, but chief among them is our willingness to work with districts on their terms. While we have suggestions about how best to integrate our tools, we view ourselves as a set of resources and support for the college and career readiness agenda/strategy within each district and adapt accordingly. We do not provide model that they must implement with fidelity.

2) Solve active pain points: Rather than asking people use and master the full range of tools available to them on our platforms, we work to identify the pain points they are struggling with or problems they want to solve in the immediate term, and design our user support and professional development to assist them in that process. We believe that this leads to more willing and enthusiastic utilization.

Both of these lessons apply to all levels of partnership - K-12 districts, higher education partners etc.- if we are not genuinely helping our partners advance their own student success goals, nor helping them to solve immediate pain points, then we are not adding value to their work.

Explain how implementing your project in the next twelve months is an achievable goal.


While ambitious, our work is entirely achievable because it leverages the energy and focus of so many partners across the educational system. By providing tools, resources and a customer-centric approach to user support, our team helps counselors and educators across the region to do their jobs better and more efficiently. This builds good will, helps to extend the reach and impact of all the adults working with students on college and career readiness and helps us all to learn from one another's innovations.

During the last school year we were testing for demand for and utility of our platforms, as well as the willingness of K-12 and higher education partners to partner with us, and our ability to effectively (securely and accurately) build data bridges to populate student portfolios with academic data.

This year, our focus is on learning how to most effectively support integration of our tools into counseling and instructional practice so that students maximize the use of the tools in their college and career planning process.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?


The two major challenges and barriers to this work are:
1) Bandwidth -- all partners are stretched thin and working on multiple tracks. For example, we anticipate common core implementation taking precedence over the integration of our tools during instructional time in districts.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

0 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014