Mid-Year Reviews Showing Positive Results at PeerForward Schools

Follyvi Dossa (L), Moses Matos (C), Patrick Brito (R), Peer Leaders at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change in NYC.

At PeerForward schools across the country, mid-year reviews are underway. These in-depth reviews are a time for Coaches, Advisors, Principals, and Peer Leaders to gather and reflect on progress made so far and plan for the remainder of the school year.

Teams are pushing to meet application deadlines and remain on track to meet their goals for early FAFSA filing and ensuring seniors apply to 3+ colleges. We continue to see teams staging schoolwide activities on career and college awareness for all grade levels in their schools to encourage students to create a postsecondary plan.

Among the innovative campaigns PeerForward teams are employing across the country:

The PeerForward team at Cobble Hill School for American Studies in Brooklyn, N.Y. had trouble reaching students across all grade levels with their college-going campaigns, so they devised a new plan they call “Push-ins.” Push-ins are lesson plans created by Peer Leaders and tailored to each grade to provide instruction on creating postsecondary plans and applying to college. Peer Leaders schedule time to enter classrooms and personally lead each lesson. With a 47% FAFSA completion rate as of Jan 4, an impressive rise from the 18% completion rate the school showed at the same mid-year mark the year prior to having PeerForward, it is clear the Peer Leaders’ persistence and personal instruction are helping improve outcomes from their peers!  

PeerForward provides structure and training to empower students to pursue their college and career dreams and build a schoolwide community around being the best they can be,” said Cobble Hill Principal Anna Maria Mulé, “It uses student voices to advocate for themselves. It’s service-oriented and promotes kindness, characteristics important for being overall good people.”  

Peer Leaders at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change in NYC hosted a FAFSA Day in coordination with their local YMCA in October, personally recruiting financial aid professionals from the Manhattan Education Opportunity Center and Monroe College helped guide the application process.  This extra effort worked: Thurgood Marshall Academy reached an impressive 57% FAFSA completion rate as of January.

The PeerForward team at Queens Preparatory Academy in Queens, N.Y. hosted a College Awareness Day on Jan 11. Peer Leaders asked the senior class to write letters addressed to the junior class with tips for senior year, both college-related and for their personal lives, and then read some of those letters aloud in classroom presentations.  

At High School for Law and Public Service in NYC, Peer Leaders coordinated “College Pen Pal” exchanges between current college students who are alumni from the high school and current 11th and 12th grade students at the high school. They also set up a college-themed door decorating contest to raise college awareness around the school.

Peer Leaders at High School for Law and Public Service sharing with peers in the school hallway what steps they are each taking to prepare for college.

Across all PeerForward schools, seniors are on track with last year’s rate of FAFSA completion, and 33% of seniors had submitted three or more postsecondary applications by Jan. 28, surpassing the mid-year goal of 25%. More than half of schools have conducted at least one high-impact activity building career awareness reaching a majority of the student body.

We are thrilled to see the progress made so far at PeerForward schools and look forward to hearing more of the creative and inspiring ways Peer Leaders are working to guide their peers to plan for life after high school.

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