Using Data and Inquiry to Build Equity-Focused College-Going Cultures

Using Data and Inquiry to Build Equity-Focused College-Going Cultures
Using Data and Inquiry to Build Equity-Focused College-Going Cultures


Postsecondary education is being increasingly recognized as a prerequisite for entry into the changing workforce. President Obama has set the goal of the highest college graduation rates by 2020 and college and career ready standards are on everyone’s mind. Simultaneously, the United States is witnessing a dramatic demographic shift where public schools are educating increasingly diverse populations. However, despite our commitment to increased college enrollment and graduation for all, educational resource-related disparities still exist and limit underserved students’ access to college preparatory classes and qualified teachers.

In this webinar, the Center for Urban Education (CUE), Boston Public Schools, and the National College Access Network (NCAN) described their work in promoting an equity-based college-going culture through the use of the Equity Scorecard—a change process, previously implemented in colleges and universities, that examines racial inequities in educational outcomes. A pilot project engaged practitioners in two very diverse Boston Public schools in action-oriented research in order to raise their awareness of existing racial inequities. Presenters discussed the process of analyzing data and changing practices and highlighted recommendations for institutions and districts looking to promote a more equitable college-going culture.

View Webinar Slides»



Tiffany Jones is a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California and a research assistant at the Center for Urban Education. Tiffany works with Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon on higher education and critical policy analysis. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Maryland. She has worked with pre-college programs for several years and served as an intern for the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education.

Tiffany is currently involved with a partnership between the National College Access Network and the Center for Urban Education, in which the Equity Scorecard™ is applied to create equitable college-going cultures in Boston high schools. Her research interests include college access and student persistence, with particular attention to policy and practice that facilitate outcomes for students of color.

Sara Melnick has nearly 20 years of experience helping schools and communities work together to enhance outcomes for K-12 students. As Deputy Director, Ms. Melnick oversees projects focused on college access and success, manages the organization’s annual conference and provides technical assistance on the development of statewide college access networks.

Prior to joining NCAN, she spent seven years as the Associate Director, K-16 Initiatives with the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) where she worked with college access programs across the country, including the federally funded GEAR UP grantees. In that role, Ms. Melnick managed projects, provided technical assistance to communities and co-authored training curricula on developing partnerships to support early college awareness initiatives.

Ms. Melnick has also worked with America’s Promise, the National Association of Partners in Education and as a public school teacher in New York City. She has written publications on the intersection of service-learning and school-to-work, integrating telecommunications technology into education, developing school-to-career initiatives and after-school programs and creating safe learning environments, and has served on the Community and Civic Organization Steering Committee of the United States Department of Education’s Partnership for Family Involvement in Education and the board of the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education.

Ms. Melnick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Vassar College and a Master of Business Administration degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Baruch College.  She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children

Catherine Carney is the Chief Academic Officer at East Boston High School.  She started teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages after earning her Masters in TESOL at Simmons College in Boston.  Catherine left the classroom, to work in Boston as a Literacy Coach for a year.  She then became a program manager for Diploma Plus; an alternative school model dedicated to a rigorous competency based course of study for over-aged and under-credited students preparing for college and career training.  Upon returning to BPS Catherine took on the role of School Support Specialist and worked with teacher and administrative leadership teams in schools k – 12 that were identified as underperforming or at risk of underperforming by the State of Massachusetts.  Catherine has worked in school based administrative roles in a variety of Boston Public High Schools and in 2008 earned her Masters in School Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.   She currently works in the largest comprehensive high school in the district and is dedicated to ensuring a rigorous curriculum and college going culture that will prepare all students and families for success in college and beyond.


Report: Using Data and Inquiry to Build Equity-Focused College-Going Cultures»

Watch this Webinar on YouTube» 


Presenter Information

Tiffany Jones

Research Assistant

Center for Urban Education

University of Southern California

Waite Phillips Hall, Suite 702

Los Angeles, CA 90089

(213) 740-5202

Sara Melnick

Deputy Director


1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Suite 632

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 347-4848

Catherine Carney

Chief Academic Officer

East Boston High School

86 White Street

East Boston, MA 02128

(617) 635-9896



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.