All The Way Up is working hard to provide crucial educational opportunities for adult learners whose needs were not met by conventional educational paths. An individual’s level of educational attainment is directly tied to their financial and professional opportunities, and thus the economic development of families and the community as a whole. By helping our students get their GED/High School Equivalency Certification, All The Way Up provides them with an essential stepping stone for financial stabilization and increased civic participation: a high school education. With the help of other organizations and foundations we can make bold long-term changes in the lives of of our students and their families.
Not only do we prepare students to take their High School Equivalency Exam, but we also focus on teaching skills that are applicable to everyday life. Our students ultimately leave our program better prepared to get higher-paying jobs, improve their financial health and become more interactive members of their communities. Our long-term vision is to "put ourselves out of business" by helping the most possible adults get a high school education. We see a future where only a small anomaly of adults in Newark lack a high school education, instead of the current 22%.
Measuring Our Success
We track student's progress in terms of grade level improvement by using the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) at the beginning and end of each semester. On average All The Way Up provides an improvement of two grade levels over the course of a semester. Increased enrollment and retention are ongoing evaluative metrics we use to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students. Our programs are evaluated quarterly against our strategic plan for the organization, and operations are modified accordingly. Program success is also measured by increased volunteer hours from tutors, which we track using weekly check-ins and form submissions.
Additionally, we have implemented a new goal-tracking system for our students so both All The Way Up and our students can measure their progress to ensure our program's efficacy. At the beginning of each semester, students collaborate with their tutor to set and record SMART Goals. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. Throughout the semester, the student and tutor work together to ensure that they are achieving their goals. When a student achieves a personal goal--anything from getting a driver's license or helping their child with his math homework, to learning their multiplication tables or passing the GED exam--the tutor reports the goal achievement to staff through an online form. We want to not only congratulate the student, but record the achievement for internal record-keeping purposes.
T.W. had taken a break from classes to work, but during the pandemic, she was laid off from her job. She spent the time off with us to study and pass the GED test last Spring. T.W. was one of the first students to take the GED virtually and pass her test during the pandemic. Several others have followed in her footsteps.
A.C. successfully completed his high school diploma requirements after excelling on his Social Studies exam in early April. He came back to get his GED after his kids graduated from college. Now that he has his diploma, he is applying to culinary schools with the hope of instructing other young chefs. He eventually wants to open his own bakery.
S.W.: “My grandmother died of coronavirus and last week was her burial. It was a lot of work trying to make funeral arrangements for her and she left me in charge of handling her affairs. That's been my reason for not completing all of my homework and missing a few classes. I just wanted you to know that I am all in and appreciate you allowing me to join the virtual class. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue learning.”