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Reports & Results

Title: Transformative Impact of the George Washington Carver Education Foundation through the Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge Grant: A 2-Year Study

The George Washington Carver Education Foundation (CARVER) is pleased to present the Final Reports for the Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge (OMIC) Grant, highlighting the remarkable success achieved during the 2021-2023 grant period. Our vision at CARVER is to ensure student success for all by providing equitable access to high-quality education, increasing postsecondary attainment, and promoting economic and social stability. This vision is grounded in over two decades of empirical research and educational expertise. Our core elements of Equity, Acceleration, and Support have been central to our work since the foundation's inception in 2016. The OMIC grant, approximately $1.4 million dollars, issued by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), was instrumental in furthering these core elements, specifically focusing on increasing college credits earned by low-income high school students.

It is important to note that in response to the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, CARVER made a pivotal decision to transition to an all-virtual partnership model. This marked a significant departure from our approach since 2016, where CARVER consultants had a physical presence not only on college campuses but also within each of the high schools we partnered with. The shift to a virtual support model presented unexpected challenges during the OMIC grant period; however, despite these obstacles, the virtual model proved to be remarkably successful. CARVER maintained consistent communication and collaboration with key personnel from each college partner as specified by the grant details, demonstrating our adaptability and resilience in the face of unforeseen circumstances and our commitment to ensuring student success and educational equity.

Here, we emphasize the alignment of the OMIC results with our core elements:

Equity: The OMIC Grant provided dual enrollment opportunities to 272 low-income high school students, identified through free and reduced lunch data. These students earned an impressive 1,899 college credits during the grant period, demonstrating that high-quality education can be accessible to all.

Acceleration: The grant enabled the implementation of comprehensive teaching and learning approaches in partner school districts, resulting in an acceleration of learning for all students. Collaboration between colleges and school districts proved pivotal in this achievement. Summer Bridge programming at Stockton University, TCNJ, and Salem Community College provided critical support, enhancing student engagement with content and improving student achievement.

Support: CARVER played a key role in the OMIC grant's success, aiding grant development, fostering partnerships, and providing ongoing support. CARVER's assistance was essential in implementing the Carver Model, a proven framework (click here for a copy) that aligned with best practices from the state’s On-ramps to College working group and supports students as they undertake college-level coursework. Within the OMIC project, CARVER offered technical guidance to expand fee-free dual enrollment opportunities in partner school districts. Their expertise ensured a smooth transition for students into college-level courses.

The three OMIC projects undertaken by Stockton University, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and Salem Community College demonstrated exceptional results:

  • Stockton University/ACCESS Project: (See full reports here: Year 1 | Year 2)

  • Student enrollment increased by 160% (46 to 120) between 2022 and 2023.

  • Total credits earned more than doubled (218 to 479) between the same period.

  • Stockton offered 16 dual credit courses in 2023 compared to 5 courses in 2022.

  • Summer Bridge programming provided critical support, with 23 students from Pleasantville and Palmyra participating in a 2-week virtual program in 2022, and 57 students from STEM Civics and Pleasantville participating in a hybrid program in 2023.

  • The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)/IDEA Project (See full reports here Year 1 | Year 2):

  • Overall, teachers and mentors responded positively to the mentorship model, with two of the five teachers participating in Year 2 teaching TCNJ courses independently at their schools. Trenton Central and TCNJ will continue to collaborate, with TCNJ professors teaching on high school campuses.

  • The Summer Bridge Program in 2022 saw 28 high school students attending, and 18 students participated in the program in 2023. The Summer Bridge Program not only enhanced student engagement but also contributed to improved student outcomes.

  • Salem Community College/ IMPACT Project (See full reports here Year 1 | Year 2):

  • 20 high school students completed a 4-day Summer Bridge Program in July 2022.

  • The College Transition Program, led by a Transition Director and implemented by a Transition Specialist, provided ongoing wraparound support services between the college, school districts, and community partners. This comprehensive support network contributed to increased student engagement with content, improved student achievement, and greater success in postsecondary education.

The role of CARVER was crucial in facilitating partnerships and providing vital support, which was emphasized by the external evaluators. Our commitment to fostering college-school district collaboration institutionalized dual enrollment, ensuring lasting impact, as evident in the data and results. However, it is essential to recognize that continued support is needed to sustain and expand the progress made. This support should encompass both financial aid for students pursuing fee-free dual enrollment courses and ongoing infrastructure maintenance at both the college and school district levels. We remain committed to our vision of student success, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to transform educational opportunities for all.

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