A New Approach to Education Reform; Education Planning Partners Offers Innovative Solution to Transform Students' Educational Experience

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A young professional and seasoned college admissions coach partner to offer students an innovative way to improve academic performance and engagement while planning and preparing for college and careers. Private planning and coaching services normally available to those who could afford it, will soon be accessible to many more students.

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Every student should feel as if their educational experience was designed just for them; that they have the freedom to pursue what interests them and the support necessary to be successful in those pursuits.
~ Sarah Galimore, Founder

In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gate’s Foundation commissioned a survey to learn from high school drop outs, why they dropped out. The Silent Epidemic, revealed that academic and social factors were not the only drivers behind this national crisis. 47% of the drop outs surveyed responded that classes weren’t interesting and 69% were not motivated to work hard. Sarah E. Galimore, the visionary behind a new education venture, Education Planning Partners (EPP), plans to address the issue of student engagement and motivation by personalizing the education process.

EPP, which will launch this summer, is a partnership between Ms. Galimore and Dean P. Skarlis, E.d.D, President of the College Advisor of New York. The goal is to shed light on alternatives available to keep students engaged when the classroom may not. “Every student should have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” says Galimore. “While others work on education reform from a policy, school design, education technology or curriculum design perspective, EPP puts the available tools, resources, and knowledge in the hands of students and parents in such a way that they can reform their own education experience.”

EPP’s student development and support system is modeled around a belief that students learn in different ways. “At EPP, learners are viewed as unique individuals,” says Galimore. “Through ongoing assessment, each student’s skills, strengths, weaknesses, and interests, are identified, academic and developmental progress benchmarked, and that data is used to form an individualized learning plan (ILP) that brings those attributes to the forefront of the student’s educational program.”

The vision behind EPP is to take students who may merely tolerate their education and move them to students who truly care and thrive; to ensure every student has the opportunity to get the most value out of their secondary and post-secondary education.

Galimore has created patent-pending web-based technology through which students and parents can create their own individualized learning plan or work one-on-one, with a personal academic and career advisor. EPP combines traditional student development techniques with web-based technology to address barriers of affordability and accessibility to personal guidance and coaching services.

“While it remains of paramount importance to keep the human element – mentor to student interaction – front and center in the process, the role of technology can’t be overlooked,” says Galimore. “Singles use eHarmony to find their special someone based on dimensions of compatibility. At EPP we aim to show students what their options are each year and match them with a learning plan based on several research-based dimensions that we explore. The focus is on engagement. Once engaged, success will follow.” EPP’s technology platform allows them to offer other supportive services such as on-demand tutoring, online study groups, web-based career and college exploration, as well as college recruiting and placement.

On June 16th, at the Hilton Garden Inn Albany Medical Center, Galimore and Skarlis will launch the new program at their inaugural College and Career Readiness Workshop. “I knew that any learning plan needed to include a college prep and career exploration program. Often this component can be missing in traditional education settings,” says Galimore, citing a study by The Social Science Research Council in which 45% of the 2300 undergraduate students surveyed demonstrated no significant improvement in a range of skills during their first two years of college. Furthermore, a 2006 report by the Conference Board, indicated that over half of high school students entering the workforce are deficiently prepared in the most important skills and only one-quarter of four-year college graduates are perceived to be excellent in those skills.

EPP’s model incorporates personalized advisement and coaching services to help students prepare for the realities of college and the workforce. “When I saw how expensive the private college admissions and career coaches were, I knew I would have to address this as well,” says Galimore.

The partnership with Dr. Dean Skarlis paved the way to a viable solution. Skarlis will oversee the advisement function at EPP. “There are a number of college admissions consulting and career coaching firms out there that tend to cater to those who can afford the personalized service. What drew me to Education Planning Partners was the ability to bring this type of support and planning service to many more students and parents, for little to no cost,” says Skarlis.

The College and Career Readiness Workshop, is a free event during which Galimore and Skarlis will share their insight on how to achieve academic success in high school and effectively prepare for college and/or the workforce. After an overview on trends in the world of education, attendees will learn about options available to “personalize” a student’s educational experience and gain insight on what students are up against in terms of getting into and being successful in college. Skarlis will also lead a workshop on saving and paying for college, an area many families struggle with today.

"I am really looking forward to the dialogue that will be facilitated," says Galimore. "The greatest benefit for those who attend is the opportunity to ask questions, get some answers from an expert, and hopefully walk away with specific recommendations and insights that will encourage and inspire."

Details regarding the event can be found at eppinspires.eventbrite.com or by emailing info(at)eppinspires(dot)com. Registration for the event is now open, but space is limited. To learn more about Education Planning Partners, visit http://www.eppinspires.com or call 518.312.4838.

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