Message from John Murray
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Graduation Alliance announces acquisition of AdvancePath Academics SALT LAKE CITY — Graduation Alliance, a leader in dropout prevention, dropout recovery and career preparation programs for students of all ages, announced today an expansion of its services through an acquisition of AdvancePath Academics. The union brings together best practice- and evidence-based solutions that provide opportunities for students who have struggled in traditional academic settings. More than 419,000 students have been served by the combined company since 2005. “There is no one perfect model for overcoming the obstacles that keep people from achieving their academic goals,” Graduation Alliance CEO Ron Klausner said. “There are, however, some models that have proven successful for specific groups of students. Today we bring together two organizations with highly complementary approaches and strong, demonstrated efficacy.” Since 2007, Graduation Alliance has provided online education, intensive support services and workforce preparation options to school districts, states, community colleges and workforce investment boards across the country. Graduation Alliance specializes in locating, re-engaging and educating these students, who enroll in programs to earn a high school diploma and receive industry credentials. Since 2005, AdvancePath Academics has worked with school district partners to create and manage place-based academies for high school students who are generally over-age and credit deficient. “What really makes sense about merging these two organizations is that they share a deep passion for helping public educators and all students get the educational opportunities they need and deserve,” AdvancePath Executive Chairman John Murray said. “Every day both organizations see that what we do not only makes a difference in the lives of our students but also in the lives of their families – it is a truly noble cause.” The two organizations have worked with more than 600 public schools, districts and community colleges across the nation to support students who need additional help reaching their academic goals. Specialization in research-based, non-cognitive “soft skills” development is a noted strength of both organizations and will continue to be a vital part of the combined company’s approach to serving students. "It's encouraging to see such dedication, on the part of everyone involved in this union, to the role that social and emotional skill-building can and should play in the lives of students," said Scott Solberg, the associate dean of research at the Boston University School of Education and the chief research officer for ScholarCentric, which merged with AdvancePath in 2015 and will now become part of the Graduation Alliance spectrum of services. "Knowledge-building is vital, but it's not very useful if students aren't also given support and instilled with confidence. All of these organizations understand and embrace that — which is why this makes so much sense for all of our students." About Graduation Alliance Since 2007, Graduation Alliance has given schools and communities across the nation the resources and support needed to help individuals reach their educational and career goals. In partnership with school districts, local governments, non-profits, workforce development boards and community colleges, Graduation Alliance develops highly effective alternative education and workforce training programs. As an organization, Graduation Alliance embraces principles of social entrepreneurship and is supported by backers, including New Markets Venture Partners, who believe in always putting students first. For more information about Graduation Alliance, visit graduationalliance.com Contact: Joanna Camburn 801-462-2029 firstname.lastname@example.org
AdvancePath Academies have been serving young people at risk of dropping out of school and non-traditional students since 2006
Recognizing the national dropout rate had remained at a steady 30% for over 30 years, AdvancePath’s Founder, John Murray, saw an opportunity to create an organization that could develop a research-based, programmatic solution and partner, rather than compete, with School Districts. Having served on the Board of the National Dropout Prevention Network (NDPN) for 10 years, Murray identified many issues that at-risk youth are faced with: “Most people leave school prematurely because they have to make choices – stay in school or work, look after a baby, look after an ailing parent, or something else. I wanted to create a model that meant kids no longer had to make that choice – they could do those things and attend school because of a flexible schedule and our Blended Learning Model of instruction. I also wanted to offer the opportunity for education in an environment that wasn’t judgmental of people’s past or current lifestyle.”
With the goal of improving academic outcomes without draining District budgets, AdvancePath opened its first “in-school” Academy in 2006. In 2009, the California State Attendance Review Board (SARB) recommended AdvancePath as a “model program” Districts in California should consider partnering with to establish programs for at-risk youth. In 2012, AdvancePath was awarded the NDPC/N's National Crystal Star Award. AdvancePath is accredited through AdvancEd.
Today, AdvancePath operates Academies nationwide, serving more than 4,000 students annually. With an overall student success rate of over 90%, over 7,500 students have received their high school diplomas and more than half have progressed to post-secondary education. Having successfully worked with over 27,000 students to date, AdvancePath Academies demonstrate that all students can learn and succeed in the right environment.
We believe that all students can learn. No student should suffer a lifetime of failure because they cannot succeed academically and/or socially in a traditional middle or high school setting
We Establish a Culture of Learning
The AdvancePath Blended Learning Model combines technology-based delivery of educational content with the best features of classroom interaction and direct instruction to focus instruction and personalize learning across a diverse group of learners. Our academic philosophy is framed by a culture of learning and success that holds these principles paramount:
- We believe all students can learn
- The instructional environment must actively engage students in the learning process
- Timely and appropriate interventions are essential to learning
As educators, we must use data to drive instructional decisions and continuous improvement
Students most often come with a history of academic failure. However, academic failure does not necessarily equate to capability. No student deserves to be “thrown away” because he or she does not fit into a specific learning model or struggles to progress at the same pace as other students. We believe it is our obligation as teachers to create a positive and sustainable learning environment for all students, regardless of their academic and/or behavioral background.
It is our job as educators to facilitate a learning environment that actively engages students in the learning process. Student populations represent a diverse set of academic and socio-emotional needs. Students who are engaged and motivated are more likely to attend and to demonstrate academic progress. Our teachers and staff, through ongoing consultation and review of student performance and engagement, are responsible for guiding, mentoring, and coaching students to successful completion of their high school career - work- and college-ready.
We embrace a learning environment that uses data to drive instructional decisions and continuous program improvement. The Academy learning environment is data rich and helps provide teachers with up-to-the minute snapshots of student academic performance and behavioral growth. Using data to drive student achievement, plan for interventions, and inform program improvement is an essential part in holding all stakeholders accountable for success– including students who are responsible for their own learning.
Data gives teachers essential information to plan interventions that improve student performance. Timely interventions help keep students on track with a clear vision of how to achieve academic success.
We take our obligations seriously. We prepare students for graduation and the next steps on their journey - college, career, and life. Click this link to hear from one of our Academy teachers.
What We Do
We call it "Simply Good Schooling"
Our Mission “To Enrich Lives and Improve Society Through Education – One Student at a Time” is transforming the lives of students and educators around the country. AdvancePath works with District partners to deliver educational solutions that work for students at every level of academic achievement. We engage students in their learning process, provide the focus and guidance needed to keep them on track, and maintain the instructional and social networks needed for young people to develop personal accountability and to sustain their path of success. The AdvancePath Blended Learning Model has proven to specifically address the needs of students experiencing academic, socio-emotional, and behavioral challenges - students who may be in danger of dropping out of school. Our program focuses on academic performance in a positive behavioral intervention and support setting, while taking full advantage of technology-based learning resources. The AdvancePath Blended Learning Model incorporates key components necessary in serving the unique needs of at-risk students, including:
- Small, personalized, safe learning environments for students through supportive scaffolding pedagogy
- Relevant and rigorous curricula offerings that link academic learning to real-world experiences
- Positive relationships between students, family members, school staff, and community social service providers, if needed
- Incorporation of 21st century skills and the development of pro-social skills
- Use of technology and the fostering of experiential learning
- Emphasis on civic competencies of tolerance and conflict resolution
- Intentional design features that address dropout prevention and recovery
- Career pathways with rigorous preparation for college and post-secondary training
Launching Your Academy
AdvancePath Academics has pioneered an innovative partnership approach with School Districts to create a new response for the high risk and disenfranchised students. Each Academy operates as a School District program (not a charter school) and every student receives an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) and timeline based on State and District requirements for earning their high school diploma.
Academy costs are paid for with local, state, and federal funding apportioned directly to the students on either a per student enrollment or per student attendance (ADA) basis. This funding model ensures partner Districts incur no additional cost above and beyond what they already spend per student. In fact, Districts will typically retain a portion of their general funds. Meanwhile, AdvancePath pays for all operating costs in the Academy (including teacher and staff compensation, as well as Academy provisioning, infrastructure, curricular, and other ongoing operating and support costs), and bears the responsibility for recovery of returning students.
In launching your Academy, AdvancePath will:
- Fully align all content to State and District Standards
- Compensate teaching staff per District policies and union rules
- Provide all necessary curricula (core and elective) and intervention materials
- Provide training and on-going Professional Development for all Academy Staff
- Implement student performance assessments per the District calendar
- Provide the capital investment to purchase the furniture, carpeting, and technology to establish the right learning environment for Academy operations
- Define and manage the day-to-day operational workflow
- Provide Academy Job Descriptions and coordinate hiring with District HR
- Provide a Community Outreach Liaison to lead dropout recovery efforts