One Goal: Using Targeted Data to Ensure Graduation. Period.

People   |   Lori Misenhimer   |   Oct 6, 2020

Students from low- and high-income communities aspire to complete their postsecondary education at similar rates. But those from low-income communities, the majority of whom are students of color, face systemic barriers to earning their degrees, an injustice made worse by COVID-19.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of young people transition to adulthood without the skills, experiences, and credentials needed to build careers and lives of their choosing.
DYK: Students from low-income communities are three times less likely to earn a postsecondary degree.

OneGoal has a single mission: to close the degree divide in America. Their vision is that every young person will have an equitable opportunity to achieve their greatest postsecondary aspirations. OneGoal’s three-year program, delivered from 11th-grade through the first year of a postsecondary program, gives students from low-income backgrounds access to a postsecondary education and to the economic opportunity and financial stability that a degree or credential confers.

OneGoal was founded in 2007 by a visionary teacher working on Chicago’s South Side and a small group of venture capitalists and educators who believed that college graduation should be possible for all students. Since its inception, OneGoal has grown from a small afterschool program serving just 32 students in Chicago to a nationwide movement that will serve more than 14,000 students in six communities this school year. To date, 86% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution and 76% of those persist one year after high school graduation.

With this ambitious growth in mind, in 2020, OneGoal launched the District Partnership Pilot with districts in three different sites in order to explore how a systemwide approach could enable supporting a greater number of students and close the degree divide in our lifetime. COVID-19 has amplified the need to make significant changes. Through this new business model, OneGoal will deliver a more flexible, tech-enabled, high-impact, low-cost solution that addresses the institutional and system-level barriers to student success.

In order to accomplish this, OneGoal needed to use data from the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) as well as the Census to understand which school districts would benefit most from the OneGoal program, better understand high school graduation and matriculation rates, and determine how much these school districts typically spend on instruction per student.

After downloading the relevant information from the NCES and Census, OneGoal was granted an Alteryx For Good nonprofit license and used Alteryx to clean the data, join up the various data files, and prepare the data for visualizing the results.

“Alteryx is a great tool for handling large volumes of data. We were able to clean, manage, join, and reformulate it to effectively prepare the data for visualization to convey the supporting arguments we wanted to make. This enabled us to target school districts and provide corroborating evidence to large foundation funders.”

— Ira Handler, Board Member, OneGoal

See below for one visualization, a map of the U.S. with district prospects for OneGoal, ranked by size and attractiveness.

“We were 10 times more productive running workflows in Alteryx versus spreadsheets.”

— Ira Handler, Board Member, OneGoal

From this, OneGoal was able to develop a business plan for key target markets and raised over $13M from foundations to finance the start-up expenses and planned cash-flow burn to break even.

OneGoal recruited initial district partners, and in Fall 2020, the effort launched its inaugural pilot in three districts, serving roughly 250 students to start with aims of reaching a critical mass of students in the coming years.

“We have plans to use Alteryx in the future to monitor the progress of students and create reports that our partners need and add value to the districts.”

— Ira Handler, Board Member, OneGoal

Through this initiative, OneGoal can ensure every student graduates from high school prepared for their chosen postsecondary pathway and continues to receive critical support as they navigate their first year of college, postsecondary institution, or workforce.

Each year, 70-80% of OneGoal seniors matriculate to a post-secondary institution while on average less than 60% of comparable seniors in similar districts matriculate.

“This reinforces the continued need for the work we do.”

— Ira Handler, Board Member, OneGoal



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