FRANKFORT, Ky. — Leading postsecondary success organization OneGoal, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), and Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) announced a new partnership that will work to eliminate equity gaps and improve postsecondary education outcomes for students.
Participating districts will complete a two-year program with OneGoal, a national organization working to ensure more students from low-income communities earn a postsecondary education credential that leads to economic mobility and family-sustaining wages. The partnership will bring OneGoal’s Postsecondary Leadership Series to support district and high school leaders across the state. Districts are invited to apply to be a part of the state’s inaugural cohort and join a supportive community of experts and peers working to advance success for all their students.
The partnership is part of a statewide effort to ensure equity in postsecondary advising, especially as COVID-19 has resulted in an enrollment crisis nationwide and across the state.
CPE President Aaron Thompson said the work was initiated based on the recommendations of the Commonwealth Education Continuum, a statewide group formed in 2021 to strengthen the education pipeline.
Co-chaired by Thompson, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass, the continuum consists of 28 members whose expertise ranges from early childhood education to workforce development.
The partnership will leverage this new support at no cost as the state is using $1.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to fully fund the collaboration for two years.
“In order for students to earn degrees and credentials that lead to sustainable and well-paying careers, their education, from preschool through college, should have built-in supports to help them successfully transition to the next level,” said Thompson. “I’m proud of the Commonwealth Education Continuum’s role in initiating this new partnership to help high school educators set their students on the right path.”
The partnership begins with school and district leaders working with OneGoal coaches to assess their school or district’s postsecondary readiness to develop a clear picture of their specific needs and opportunities. From there, they will build a path to high-impact improvements, tailored to their unique contexts. Participants will receive regular coaching to implement their plans, analyze data and refine their strategy over the two years. Additionally, OneGoal will convene participants in communities of learning to explore challenges they have in common, share progress and build a network that can provide enduring support. The end result is system-level improvements that lead to better student outcomes.
“We are proud to be a partner on this project,” said Glass. “KDE and the Kentucky Board of Education are committed to equity in the Commonwealth’s public schools. For many of our students, their pathway to success will involve more education beyond high school. This partnership will help our students be ready for the opportunities that higher education can give them.”
Undergraduate enrollment among working-age adults (age 25-49) in Kentucky has decreased by 44% since 2012-2013. Further, Kentucky has significant racial disparities in educational attainment, according to the Lumina Foundation. The percentage of Black students with an associate degree or higher is 29%, while only 27% for Hispanic students, compared to 36% of their white peers.
“The OneGoal team is thrilled to begin working with new district partners across Kentucky,” shared OneGoal Chief Impact Officer Patty Diaz-Andrade. “District leaders play a critical role in our collective responsibility to close the degree divide, and when we enable them to take stock of structural barriers and assess current practices, they are better positioned to bridge secondary and postsecondary transition for all students.”
The application deadline for school districts in Kentucky is Monday, Aug. 1. The application is open to all school districts; CPE will select inaugural districts to participate based on current postsecondary outcomes, opportunity gaps and financial needs. Leaders interested in accelerating system-level change in their district are encouraged to visit OneGoal’s website to learn more, fill out an application and connect with OneGoal’s team.
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