As you may know, I'm on the Board of Engineers of an amazing organization called Blue Engine. In less than three weeks, I am taking off on foot again to run the NYC half marathon. This time, it is for Blue Engine. Hear me out on these details.
Blue Engine is tackling the issue of college completion. If you think about it, we do an excellent job of selling students on the dream of college without preparing them to succeed once they get there. The biggest barrier to success in higher education – more than cost or support or expectations – is the academic rigor of your high school environment. That’s what Blue Engine is all about – increasing academic rigor in low-income high schools across the country. How? The model is similar to Teach For America but for *teams of tutors* - recent grads, superstars, who prefer working intensely with small groups of students in a team setting than leading whole classes by themselves. The Blue Ridge Foundation incubated BE starting in ’09, followed by Echoing Green in 2010 and the Robin Hood Foundation, Draper Richards and the rest of the who’s who in education funding this year. They’re at an early inflection point and could be – I believe – one of our nation’s most effective service programs in the years ahead.
I had the great fortune to meet Nick Ehrmann, the founder and CEO, during my job search after business school. Blue Engine wasn’t big enough to need someone at my level at that time, but I knew I had to remain involved. And boy am I glad I did. Since I became a member of the Board of Engineers, Blue Engine has expanded from one school to three, from 14 BETAs (Blue Engine Teaching Assistants) and 2 headquarters staff to 27 BETAs and 7 headquarters staff. Meanwhile, Nick is being invited to panels in Washington, invite-only conversations about the future of education, and, most importantly, to present on and think through expanding the Blue Engine model. People are watching what Blue Engine is doing and this has a lot of potential.
While Blue Engine is NYC based for now, there are big plans for expansion in the years to come. This means that anything you give today could help refine the Blue Engine model so that one day it is scalable and can be expanded to the public schools of every major American city. The beauty of donating today is that your money has the potential to make a huge impact while this organization is in its very beginning stages. Last year was their pilot year. End of year testing data showed that what they are doing is insanely successful (see year end results). This year, they have expanded to more schools and added English (to math) as their focus areas. The model is being refined, standardized and tested now so that when the time comes to expand, the engine is as robust as possible. For me (and I hope for you), that is super exciting.
Thanks in advance for your support. It matters. A lot.