In December 2020, The Pittsburgh Promise awarded three Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) researchers a $325,000 grant to conduct an evaluation of a new program, the Promise Coaching Initiative.
Since its inception in 2008, Pittsburgh Promise has funded college scholarships for city high school students, investing about $140 million in more than 9,500 students. Not all eligible students take advantage of this opportunity, and the Promise wants to know why. Last year, the scholarship organization announced the Promise Coaching Initiative, a plan to place coaches in the three city high schools with the lowest Promise participation rates.
Jennifer Iriti, LRDC research scientist; Lindsay Page, associate professor of education and LRDC research scientist; and Danielle Lowry, an education graduate student, will provide feedback on the program’s design and implementation. The evaluations will also assess whether the program is achieving its goal of increasing the percentage of graduates eligible for and using the Promise scholarship.
The four-year pilot program will serve all students at the three schools but pay particular attention to those who risk falling below or are below eligibility. Students eligible for The Promise must have graduated from a Pittsburgh Public Schools high school with an unweighted 2.5 GPA and at least 90 percent attendance. The Promise coaches will help students develop their skills and interests, identify resources — financial or otherwise — understand their options and navigate the marketplace.