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JFF | Back on Track Tools & Resources
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Best Bet Profile

The Best Bet Profile is the result of the Counseling to Careers training - a developed "brochure" for counselors to use with students. Read more...

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JFF Tools and Resources
Complete a survey based on the Back on Track model to better understand how your program/school maps to the three phases and what may be needed to improve your students’ graduation rates and college readiness.
Texas's Rio Grande Valley is home to a groundbreaking model for dropout recovery (based on the Back on Track Through College model) that helps youth transition into college. The College, Career, and Technology Academy has graduated almost 1,000 former dropouts and off-track youth in five years — a significant percentage of whom attained postsecondary credits before graduating — putting college success within reach for students who once left school without a diploma or were at high risk of not graduating. This approach is being replicated across the Southwest, as other school districts recognize the promise and potential of recovering this population and helping them achieve their postsecondary and career goals.
Preparing students – especially those with lower skills – to graduate or pass the GED and acquire the broad range of skills and competencies needed for postsecondary success requires consistent, school-wide use of effective teaching practices. This tool provides an overview of JFF’s Common Instructional Framework. Please contact us for sample lesson plans.
Preparing students – especially those with lower skills – to graduate or pass the GED and acquire the broad range of skills and competencies needed for postsecondary success requires consistent, school-wide use of effective teaching practices This tool describes JFF’s Common Instructional Framework and provides sample lesson plans that incorporate the instructional strategies.
This two-page resource gives a comprehensive overview of Counseling to Careers (CTC). CTC provides community colleges, programs, and schools with the tools to better connect students with programs of study that align with their interests and regional employment needs.
This white paper shares lessons from “best in class” GED to College programs that show early, positive results in preparing youth for college and helping them persist once there. It also explores key issues connected to the growth of this programming within the field and lays out a framework for leaders and program staff looking to transform short-term GED programs into more intensive, college-connected designs.
From Remediation to Acceleration shows how two of Philadelphia’s Accelerated Schools, which serve returning dropouts and other students behind in credits, teach college-ready skills using JFF’s Common Instructional Framework, which makes challenging material engaging and accessible.
This paper highlights the Postsecondary Success Initiative, launched in 2008 as a collaboration of Jobs for the Future (JFF), YouthBuild USA, the National Youth Employment Coalition, and as of 2011, the Corps Network with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.
This powerpoint presentation reviews GED math curriculum and how it can be retooled for improved student success.
The Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy of Chicago requires all students to complete a graduation check-list and a senior portfolio. This tool contains sample graduation check-list requirements and an outline of requirements for the senior portfolio.
Despite growing interest in student-centered approaches to learning, educators have few places to turn for a comprehensive account of key components of this emerging field. Students at the Center aims to build the knowledge base for these innovative approaches that beat the odds for underserved students, and improve learning and achievement. This project includes 9 papers and additional resources on student-centered learning.
This brief by Youth Development Institute, for JFF, seeks to build an understanding of the needs and strengths of young people who are underrepresented in higher education and the ways that youth development organizations and colleges can collaborate to improve student success.
This tool is designed to help assess key steps schools and programs can take to start to embed college readiness skills into their daily activities and identify next steps for improvement.
This tool is designed to inform the planning and building of support infrastructures for students transitioning to postsecondary institutions from second chance systems.
This toolkit consists of two tools: one that provides an overview of principles for practice in ensuring good attendance, and another that offers a self-assessment for schools on a full range of attendance strategies.
This toolkit provides examples of how Rudy Lozano Academy, a campus of Youth Connection Charter School, has structured its combined graduation portfolio to incorporate postsecondary exploration, preparation, and application. This example provides a basis from which to customize a list of graduation requirements that go beyond course credits and assessments and to design a portfolio process that conveys high expectations for college readiness.
The intake process at College Career and Technology Academy in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, Texas starts when an enrolling student arrives and ends when he or she is attending classes and his or her enrollment paperwork is complete. This tool describes their intake process. An accompanying tool offers a self-assessment for schools on how they would like to utilize their intake process to accomplish a range of goals.
The Best Bet Profile is a sample product of the Counseling to Careers training. As a result of the training, counselors/student support staff will develop a profile that integrates labor market data, in-depth postsecondary program information, and employer needs to enable students to make informed choices about their postsecondary and career path.
This tool assists community based organizations and their partner postsecondary institutions to assess the overall strength of their partnership and explore how they can work together to help students in Back on Track diploma- and GED-granting programs get ready for college and receive ongoing structured help with the transition and in their first year of enrollment.
This tool enables your school/program assess their recruitment strategies for off-track and out-of-school youth.
This tool provides a platform for discussion about making data an essential part of practice.
This tool includes strategies for supporting high school students dual-enrolled in college courses, and the conditions required for implementation. Review the strategies and conditions to determine next steps to implementation.
This tool includes key features of a college skills for success course, an overview of these courses in four postsecondary institutions, and a matrix that staff can use to design or enhance their college skills for success course.
As part of the Counseling to Careers process, the Employer Interview Guide is essential to interview and collect data on regional employers to confirm labor market information and get a better understanding of the most sought after technical and professional skills in employees. This ready-to-use guide provides an exhaustive list of questions, as well as sample phone scripts and emails to help counselors, program leads, students and others to reach out to employers and learn more about career opportunities as well as entry requirements for technical careers.
This tool provides guidance to national networks, cities and community colleges working to assess young people's college readiness, persistence and completion and to devise strategies to help them stay on track and complete a credential.
This tool (abridged version) helps districts and their partners to develop a reengagement and recruitment strategy. A more in-depth tool is available upon request.
This tool helps districts and their partners to develop a reengagement and recruitment strategy.
This comprehensive guide, part of JFF's Counseling to Careers training, provides key information on how to access and use labor market data and occupational information for your region. Understanding this data is especially important for student support staff and counselors who help students choose career pathways and associated postsecondary programs.
Bringing Off-Track Youth in the Center of High School Reform provides a "starter kit" for school districts seeking to introduce a systemic approach to dropout prevention and recovery. This tool kit supports the efforts of a school district and its partners to create a system of back-on-track options for off-track and out-of-school youth. It focuses on key decision points in identifying young people who are falling off track and on creating high-quality learning environments to help them reengage and graduate college-ready.
This web-based tool examines the alternative education policies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and aligned those with seven model policy elements that define a new alternative education policy set.
This online tool identifies six policy elements that underpin a holistic state-level policy approach to dropout prevention and recovery. Find out about these elements and which states’ are making progress to achieve them.
The Optional Flexible School Day Program (OFSDP), enacted in 2007-08, is a non-competitive grant program that provides Texas districts with an alternative method of calculating attendance by lifting restrictions on the days of week, hours and locations that students can attend classes and the locations where instruction can take place. Tips, FAQs, and places for additional information and help in using OFSDP are included in this document.
This resource, initially developed for the Texas Dropout Recovery Program Pilot grantees, lists Texas policies that support dropout recovery, as well as sustaining alternative education programs, and asks targeted questions that help to build a framework for using policies to benefit dropout recovery programs. Use the questions to review policies in your state. Non-Texans can use the policies and questions to review the policies that support recovery programs in your state.
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo partnered with South Texas College to create the College, Career, and Technology Academy (CCTA), a college-connected dropout recovery school that puts former dropouts onto a supported path to postsecondary education.
Changing the Landscape describes work in communities and states designed to develop a systemic approach to expanding learning options and improving outcomes for students who are struggling or who have left school.
This report describes the work of Project U-Turn, a citywide collaborative campaign that focuses public attention on the dropout crisis and designs strategies and leverages investments to resolve it.
Additional Tools and Resources
This publication describes lessons learned from a multiple organization partnership in New York City during the development and implementation of the College Access and Success model.
This study examines promising strategies to reengage low-income disconnected young people and how to take these strategies to scale.
In this report, the Center on Education and the Workforce analyze earnings by field of study, sex, race/ethnicity, and program length. One of the most important factors that affects earnings is whether certificate holders work in the same occupational field they studied in.
The College Prep Academy operated jointly by Capital IDEA and Austin Community College in Texas provides an accelerated program to assist underprepared adult learners wishing to satisfy the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements in order to enter college and earn a degree or certificate.
This report studies new efforts to transition adults without a high school diploma to GED to college and career readiness via accelerated learning.
This working paper by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) shows that student who do not enter a program within a year of enrollment are far less likely to ever enter a program and therefore less likely to earn a credential.
This paper describes how the College Transition Program (CTP) has strengthened GED graduates' transition into the City University of New York (CUNY).
A national survey and research report released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates. This survey sought to better understand how “disconnected youth” or “opportunity youth,” became detached from school and work and the challenges they face trying to reconnect to society. Based on the findings from this survey, this report provides a glimpse of the enormous benefits to the nation if we could re-engage these young people and what would be most helpful in getting them back on track.
This publication describes successful practices and program models that serve off-track and out-of-school youth, gathered from leading practitioners in New York City.
The purpose of this report by David T. Conley is to provide an operational definition of college readiness that differs from current representations of this concept primarily in its scope. This report is relevant to the Back on Track Postsecondary Bridging work and provides a good foundation for developing strategies for bridging.
This website provides practical advice and lessons learned by high school seniors and college students who have made it to college. Find student-produced personal stories and tips, along with planning checklists they have helped create. For college advisors, there’s a special section with resources.
This brief describes a number of finance-related policies that states can use to support the development of education options that serve struggling students and disconnected youth.
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