Alumni Success Coach

  • Newark, NJ, USA
  • Full-time
  • Hiring Start Time: August Start

Company Description

Uncommon Schools is a non-profit network of 53 outstanding public charter schools in grades K-12 across New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Our mission is to start and manage outstanding urban public charter schools that close the achievement gap and prepare students from low-income backgrounds for success in college and beyond. We are accomplishing that mission every day, with a college graduation rate that is well above the national average and thousands of stories of our students and alumni achieving their dreams.

Job Description

North Star Academy Charter School of Newark is one of New Jersey's very first charter public schools and has also become one of its most celebrated. North Star was hailed by President George W. Bush during his visit as "a jewel of excellence," and the Class of 2004 (100% college matriculation) was touted by the New York Times as a harbinger of New Jersey public education reform. The school and its programs have been featured in a PBS Documentary ("Charter Schools that Work"), Time Magazine ("A Real School of Rock"), and in the book No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning. The school currently serves students in grades K-12 across several campuses.

GOALS FOR ALUMNI SUCCESS COUNSELOR

  • Support efforts of every alumnus to succeed academically and graduate from college.
  • Identify the changing needs of alumni and potential risk factors to success.
  • Help alumni identify academic support services available through campus or local resources and make sure that they take advantage of the resources.
  • Increase alumnus independence in managing their college experience.
  • Enhance college survival skills such as time management, rigorous study habits and academic goal setting
  • Encourage continued character development reflective of North Star’s core values.
  • Believe in the mission:
    • Demonstrate a relentless drive to improve the minds, characters & lives of alumni in and out of school;
    • Show unwavering commitment to urban youth achieving greatness;
    • Exhibit resilience to persevere and turn challenges into opportunities.
  • Lead for excellence:
    • Facilitate each alumnus in creating a positive, structured learning environment that embodies the alumni’s life goals, the school’s core values and high expectations;
    • Focus constantly on student achievement, thinking critically and strategically to respond to alumni learning needs;
    • Consistently evaluate progress, using data to drive changes in alumni support program.
  • Take initiative:
    • Continually think of ways to improve your support of our alumni;
    • Communicate effectively with alumni and families, engaging families in their child’s education;
    • Share responsibility with leader colleagues for the quality of school initiatives within and outside the classroom, making recommendations to improve the MS/HS program based on work with college alumni.

RESPONSIBILITIES

(1) Stay in constant communication with every alumnus to increase accountability and success:

  • Develop a personal, professional relationship with each alumnus
  • Relentlessly track every alumnus using obstacles as learning experiences, not dead ends
  • Use all possible forms of communication to stay in close contact with each alumnus including in-person meetings, e-mail, phone, text messaging, social media, etc.
  • Be available to alumni during the evening and weekends to discuss any issues that may arise
  • Record relevant notes from each communication in alumni database
  • Send weekly emails/text messages to all alumni with study tips, words of encouragement, summer opportunities and other relevant messages
  • Create and edit seasonal Alumni Newsletter
  • Send care packages to students during exams

(2) Maintain an up-to-date record of each student's progress in the alumni database:

  • Record a summary of each interaction with each alumnus in the database
  • Maintain up-to-date records of each alumnus’ progress in his/her post-secondary career including grade point average and credits accumulated
  • Ensure accurate contact information is maintained in database
  • Continually assess the potential that alumni will complete college based on their academic, financial, socio-emotional and personal well-being. Prioritize support for alumni at the greatest risk of stopping out.

(3) Help alumni take full advantage of their college experience; meet each alumnus where they are and then push each to work towards next steps in his/her personal progress:

  • Advise alumni on academic issues including building relationships with professors, study habits, time management, etc.
  • Make individualized academic plans with each alumnus reflecting on strengths and weaknesses and setting appropriate goals to push the alumnus’ growth
  • Help alumni make decisions about choosing a major and selecting classes
  • Advise alumni on ways to best prepare for next step in life (graduate school, law school, work, etc.)
  • Help connect alumni to resources on campus including study abroad opportunities, academic help centers, writing centers, advisement offices, mental health offices, etc.

(4) Build relationships on each campus who will advocate for and support alumni:

  • Research key individuals on campus to meet with during on-campus visits
  • Connect alumni to on-campus officials who will help ensure success
  • Discuss alumni progress with campus officials to maintain accurate record of their progress as well as to encourage continued support from official
  • Maintain existing relationships through phone calls, email, holiday cards, etc.

(5) Visit each graduate on his/her campus:

  • Visit North Star alumni in their first year of college at least once per semester, and second-year students who need extra support
  • Use campus visits to assess alumni progress, create individualized action plan, connect with on-campus resources, and deal with any present or impending challenges
  • Schedule meetings with key campus administrators and adults in students’ lives (e.g. deans, admissions counselors, financial aid officers, special program directors, EOP officials, R.A.’s, professors, etc.)
  • Speak with and meet campus officials to advocate for student support, financial aid assistance or other topics as necessary
  • Make travel arrangements and submit all receipts

(6) Contact parents/guardians of graduates

  • Inquire about alumni who are not in college and offer to support with (re)enrollment
  • Provide updates regarding alumni of concern in an effort to leverage parental support in order to steer alumni back on track.

(7) Find summer enrichment and volunteer opportunities for alumni:

  • Research programs for college students
  • E-mail alumni regularly with opportunities

(8) Assist with re-enrollment and transfer processes when appropriate

(9) Plan Winter and Spring Alumni Days:

  • Secure workshop presenter and/or design relevant workshops for winter Alumni Day
  • Plan and execute spring Alumni BBQ
  • Make report of day for administrators

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Demonstrated experience in working with college counseling at the high school and/or college level;
  • Knowledge of the financial aid process (FAFSA, HESAA, etc.)
  • Knowledge of barriers faced by low income, first-generation college students;
  • Demonstrated commitment to and experience with urban youth;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to interact well with a high-performing, mission-driven staff;
  • Demonstrated experience and skills in professional mentoring and professional development;
  • Track-record of high achievement (premium placed on experience in urban communities and schools).
  • Able to travel to and between colleges in assigned region for extended periods of time, especially from September-November and February-April.

Additional Information

Uncommon Schools offers competitive salaries commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package.  Aside from extensive professional development, all our staff members are equipped with a laptop computer, email, and all necessary supplies.

Uncommon believes in the importance of being a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization that enables our students and staff to thrive. We are committed to building a talented team that reflects the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students. At the same time, we work to ensure an inclusive community through creating a space for important dialogue about issues of race and identity for our staff and students.  As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability.

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