Riverside County’s Gil Compton Shares Insights Gleaned from StudentTracker for High Schools
One Goal and One Mission: Young People Graduate from High School and Prepared for College and the Workforce
During a recent presentation to the National Student Clearinghouse, Gil Compton, director of college and career readiness, education services for the Riverside County Office of Education, shared the many powerful ways Riverside County uses StudentTracker® for High Schools to improve students’ postsecondary outcomes.
Riverside County stretches across 23 school districts. The county’s 103 traditional and alternative high schools serve more than 425,000 students, 63 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, and 21 percent of whom are English learners.
For many school districts and counties, community colleges are an important pathway for students. Riverside County works with community colleges regularly to ensure a smooth transition and, ultimately, successful outcomes for students.
“At the Riverside County Office of Education, we have one goal and one mission: to create every opportunity that we can to have young people graduate from high school and be prepared for college and the workforce,” he said.
To verify that students are successful through this pathway, the county also takes a close look at outcomes using StudentTracker for High Schools. StudentTracker helps Compton and his colleagues analyze the current reality, identify challenges and opportunities, observe patterns, and identify actions.
Recently, Compton notes, county officials discerned a troubling trend as they studied the data. Students heading to certain community colleges were not staying enrolled, and they were not transferring to other institutions. For many students, these two-year institutions were a dead end.
“Our data from the National Student Clearinghouse for these two-year institutions is abysmal. Our persistence and transfer rate are in the single digits. So, we met with college representatives and said, ‘We’re going to stop promoting you. We’re going to stop sending you our kids.’”
The community college representatives were shocked, but Compton was unyielding. “The data showed that we were sending these institutions 1,600 graduates a year from one district, and less than 200 made it out two years later. It was clear that these colleges (were not) working for our students. I couldn’t have gone into a meeting like that with confidence, if I hadn’t had the Clearinghouse’s support.”
What happened next?
One of the college’s deans asked where Compton obtained his data and whether he could share it. When Compton explained that his data came from the National Student Clearinghouse, the dean stepped out of the meeting to inquire whether his college had access to StudentTracker. The answer? Yes, they did.
Compton said, “The better answer? Use that data.”
Using StudentTracker for High Schools, the Riverside County Office of Education can evaluate how well initiatives are serving students – and make changes to serve them better in the future.
Schools and Districts across the nation can do the same as Riverside County with StudentTracker, and can compare themselves against the Research Center’s High School Benchmarks report. So, watch for the 2019 report coming out soon!
“At the Riverside County Office of Education, we have one goal and one mission: to create every opportunity that we can to have young people graduate from high school and be prepared for college and the workforce.”
Director of College and Career Readiness, Education Services
Riverside County Office of Education