EIP’s Technology Footprint
By Michael J.A. Davis
Every now and then it helps to stop and take a look at the legacy that we are building with the students we serve. 2011-2012 has been full of programmatic changes and positive growth for EIP. We developed new programs like Dare 2 Lead Leadership Conference (D2L). We introduced a new brand (logos, advertising, etc.). And of course, we launched a new website and social media spaces. All of it, for the so we can better tell the story of our students and better engage our community as members of the EIP Family. The biggest change has been the employment of technology (the web, software, social media, gadgets, etc.). There are three major tools that have been instrumental in helping us create the change and growth that is further establishing the EIP legacy––our website, our social media tools (specifically Facebook and Twitter), and Power School (a software developed by Pearson School Systems). Below is a brief summary of how each tool is increasing EIP’s technology
Our website is an important tool in telling the EIP Story. We started with what most higher education program start with, a basic flat HTML template that hosted basic information but didn’t really convey who we are. As a part of the “Web Refresh Project” initiated in Spring 2011, we worked with OTI to rebuild EIP.GMU.EDU from the ground up, aligning every creative aesthetic with our new branding. Today, our new site has generated an increase in Avg. Visit Duration by 350%, a 20% increase in returning visitors, and a significant decrease in bounce rate.
Our social media tools are the reason our students are increasingly engaging with EIP in online space. Last year we launched the “Social Media Revamp Project” that revamped our brand image and digital voice, which catalyzed student engagement with our program resources. (Redesigned Twitter & Facebook Profile, launched an official Facebook Fan Page, and posted relevant and meaningful statuses, tweets and blogs.) Today, with greater visibility and relevance online, EIP has increased student access to information, enhanced its relationship with students, and is positioning itself as a leader in higher education in actively engaging students in the online social space.
Power School serves as our database for student profile information and tracking student progress data. However, according to Pearson School Systems (software developer) EIP utilizes Power School in ways that no other user has before. Our use of Power School equips us to measure student participation and academic progress. It is our tool for advanced scheduling and programming, management of student schedules for Summer Academy, a competency-based grading scale for Summer Academy, and we have even created an academic year transcript for student participation. Additionally, this system allows EIP Teachers to superintend electronic grade books specifically for EIP Students. We have made Power School functional for our teachers and staff, and we have even opened portals for student and parent use––everyone is connected. The information we gather helps EIP report student progress to our district partners, donors, the George Mason Community, as well as to our students and their parents.
EIP’s Technology Footprint
EIP announces the release of EIP Magazine. Formerly the EIP Newsletter, the official publication of Early Identification Program will serve as the primary source for the reading about new milestones for the program, student success stories, the latest news, and upcoming events.
The first issue (Spring 2012) includes a vivid cover story on the inspiration left by former Associate Director Khaseem Davis, told by EIP Alumnae and Teacher Assistant to Davis, Ingrid Rodriguez. The new Associate Director is also introduced as a part of this seasons Hot Topics section. Other stories include details about the widely talked about EIP Rebrand Project, the success of EIP’s first leadership conference Dare 2 Lead (D2L), and the upcoming, 25-year Anniversary of the Summer Academy. Also featured, Executive Director Lewis E. Forrest, II (or “Mr. Lewis”) is recognized by George Mason University Life with the Outstanding Impact Award.
Take a look at the very first release of EIP Magazine, Spring 2012 right here. Enjoy!
EIP Establishes “EIP Magazine”
Khaseem Davis dedicated the past five years of his life to Inspire Excellence within EIP Students when he became the program Associate Director under then-Executive Director Hortensia Cadenas. Khaseem pioneered one of EIP’s most successful events, Dare 2 Lead Leadership Conference and was instrumental in bringing about the addition of a science component to Power Aid workshops (now called the Math & Science Power Aid). He also helped establish the EIP Toiletry Drive. Alongside current-Executive Director, Lewis Forrest, II, Khaseem worked to improve the program by bringing about clearer documentation of EIP policy and crisis management procedures. Through his unique leadership style and keen understanding of the university, EIP was able to forge new genuine relationships across the campus with departments that would later support EIP’s initiatives.
“Khas’ embodied the spirit of EIP; he was considered a personal friend to every staff member and student.” – Lewis Forrest
EIP is proud to congratulate Khaseem Davis on his acceptance to lead Northern Virginia Community College as its first Coordinator of Student Success on the Manassas campus. EIP honors Khaseem for his contributions to Early Identification Program and his commitment to the EIPers whose lives he has inspired and helped change forever. He has made an indelible stamp on the 25-year history of the program. EIP will never be the same without him and will never be the same because of him.