After the first week of their internship, I asked the interns to share the one word or phrase they would use to describe their experiences thus far. Like I expected, there was a range of responses, from “slightly frustrating” to “we’re figuring it out” to something along the lines of “inspirationally depressing.” Their analysis made sense to me: the first week of any job is often filled with uncertainty as one is navigating a new work environment and group of colleagues – not to mention, an entire community college system and larger societal issues of educational inequality. To inspire and ground the team into their 2nd week, I borrowed an idea from a good friend and set forth a weekly hashtag. Week 2 was the week BridgeYear would #MakeItHappen.
Now, as we are entering Week 3, I’m happy to report, Team BridgeYear did indeed #MakeItHappen! Here’s a brief look at what transpired in just the second week of the internship:
Team Advising now has 70+ students and is staying in constant communication through text and personal 1:1 meetings. In addition to tracking their students’ progress through the matriculation checklist, advisors have been planning on attending information sessions held at college campuses and meeting with various stakeholders in students’ lives.
Team Curriculum began gathering the necessary information for advisors to answer the most frequently asked questions thus far. Did you know that there are several places an uninsured student can get a meningitis shot for free? Team Curriculum does because they spent the week calling different clinics and hospitals to find the right information for our students! Next, this team will be coming up with clever ways of disseminating this useful information for widespread consumption.
Team Research and Development scoured the web to find successful advising practices and theories at community colleges across our nation. Thanks to their research, we are looking further into Learning Communities (which showed a marginal impact at Kingsborough Community College), and exploring the option of registering students in cohorts into their first semester developmental classes. We are also now utilizing the framework presented in this CCRC paper, to think critically about the types of supports advisors should (and should not) provide while scaffolding the student experience into college.
Team Outreach immersed themselves knee deep into logo design and mission statement crafting. They surveyed each of member of the team to find just the perfect words and graphics to convey our purpose. More on each of these soon once we get our social media accounts in order. Look out for a friend request soon!
And finally, Team Innovation started on the screening process, creating this amazing graphic depiction of the types of students we will need to interview in order to better design a service to meet their needs. We will be looking at different dimensions of completion, motivation, and demographics to craft a more detailed understanding of the community college student we wish to serve.
Now, as we move into Week 3: #MakeYourselfUncomfortable (a theme inspired by this Forbes article), the team is moving beyond the planning and initial stages. Together, we are acknowledging just how uncomfortable we all are when executing on plans to build an organization from the ground up. But now that we’ve #MadeItHappen, it’s time. Keep reading for more updates soon!