By UELIP Associate: Janel Young
Unlike most of the Summer 2013 UELIP cohort, I am not a college student or even a recent graduate. I won’t say exactly how long ago I was in the shoes of all these crazy college kids around me, but I have been working in the education world for a while now. During graduate school in Pennsylvania, I worked in the non-profit/education research realm and, for the last several years, have worked as a high school counselor in Maryland. As a District resident though, I was really curious to know more about the “real” DCPS. I had been interested in working for DCPS for years but found it difficult to find out much about DCPS beyond the ever-present media coverage. I wanted to understand the inside details of how DCPS operates and see the data beyond teaching and test scores. UELIP seemed like an ideal way to get a behind-the-scenes look at DCPS, as well as dig in and work on the front lines of education reform.
This summer I am working in the Office of College and Career Readiness (OCCR). My primary responsibilities have revolved around graduation, summer school, transcript evaluation and scheduling for next school year. As a self-professed data nerd, I am generally involved in the numbers side of all of these things, and I really enjoy that. For instance, every day I receive reports on the progress each school is making toward building their master schedule, assigning teachers to classes, and placing students in sections. I then analyze and post that data online so that schools and various central office stakeholders can monitor progress, ask questions and voice concerns.
In addition to my duties in OCCR, I’ve also taken advantage of opportunities to work with other Offices and UELIPs on their projects. Cold calling people is definitely not my favorite thing in the world, but assisting with phone banking for Summer Bridge and After School Programming has provided a way to reach out to DCPS families, encourage communication and help ensure that programs and processes run smoothly. One of my favorite things has been participating as a member of College Readiness panels with a handful of other UELIPs. We travel to different school sites and talk with rising high school students about preparing for college and things we wish we had known when we were in their shoes.
My UELIP experience has certainly broadened my perspective and furthered my understanding of the inner-workings of DCPS. However, the people I have met here have, by far, been the greatest and most unexpected part of this experience. Conversations with other UELIPs and DCPS staff about education issues, colored by their unique perspectives and life experiences, will certainly stick with me long after this summer is over. Unfortunately, my time here is coming to a close since I will be leaving the UELIP experience two weeks early, but it’s for good reason…
I will be working as a counselor in DCPS this school year! I am sincerely looking forward to taking all of the things I have learned and connections I have made this summer into the next chapter of my journey in the field of education.