Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Day in the Life for Katie Magyar, CAC Boston Program Director

In September 2013, the GreenLight Fund supported the launch of the College Advising Corps in Boston. The College Advising Corps places well-trained, recent college graduates as full-time college advisers in the nation’s underserved high schools. Their mission is to provide support for high-need students throughout the college application process, serving as positive role models, while also helping foster a college-going culture. Katie Magyar is the leader who makes it all happen in Boston. Here she outlines her typical day interacting with partners, advisers, students and staff as the Boston Program Director.


7:30am – My iPhone alarm goes off. My first thought is that the advisers are already at their schools starting their day. As a former teacher, I don’t miss the in-school hours! Today is an “out” day. After a year working from home, I’ve learned to strategically schedule meetings in the city on the same day. I’m looking forward to a packed schedule taking me all over Boston.

8:00am – Donning my full-length down coat and snow boots that are already looking dirty, I wait in my car as is it struggles to heat up. I’m grateful there wasn’t snow last night and the roads are “clear” (if you ignore the 5 ft. tall snow banks on either side). It’s only about 7 miles to my first stop, but with traffic, parking, and the added weather elements, I know it’ll be a long drive.

9:00am – I walk into the conference room at the Boston Foundation and am greeted by a room filled with familiar faces. It is the monthly Student Transitions team meeting of Success Boston, a college completion initiative aimed at doubling the college completion rate for the Boston Public Schools Class of 2011 and beyond. The Student Transitions Team is made up of representatives from the Boston Foundation, Boston Public Schools (BPS), Bunker Hill Community College, University of Massachusetts Boston, and about 12 community organizations. We meet regularly to review and strategize around the barriers students face as they transition from high school to college.

Today, we review trends in remedial education, a big issue for BPS students. The team is working to understand where students are falling through cracks in remedial education, outline the current resources available at local campuses, and make policy and procedural change recommendations. With varied perspectives and a shared goal to better support BPS students, we have a great discussion.

11:10am – These meetings are a great time for me to catch up with partners with whom we are collaborating in schools across the district. On the way out, I pull aside a colleague from uAspire to quickly discuss our collective FAFSA completion strategy. uAspire and College Advising Corps Boston advisers are doing a fantastic job tag-teaming to complete financial aid forms and educate students about college affordability issues. We have been strategically working together throughout the year and our efforts will ramp up even more now that FAFSA season is upon us. After the conversation, I walk away feeling very lucky to be in such a strong community of practice in Boston. I conclude discussions and travel along for a high school visit.

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