This week on Community Corner, we sat down with Scott Campbell of Persist Nashville, a local nonprofit seeking to increase the college graduation rate among Metro Nashville students. With only 26% of MNPS alumni graduating from college within six years, Nashville’s college graduation rate is about half of the national average.
Campbell, a lifelong educator, saw firsthand the types of barriers that prevent our local high school graduates from enrolling in postsecondary school and ultimately completing a college degree. While principal at a local MNPS school, he realized that when more immediate needs arise for students without an extensive support network, they aren’t able to focus on continuing their education. Thus the idea was born for Persist Nashville.
By combining in-person training with their unique text-based persistence counseling, Persist Nashville is able to serve students at around a 300:1 student to counselor ratio, which allows them to operate at a scale not possible for most traditional support organizations. According to Campbell, participating students get on average three texts a week: a motivational piece, a helpful factoid for navigating the college experience, and a personalized check-in to prompt a conversation that might reveal where a student is struggling. Additionally, students have access to on campus support groups led by trained student leaders, an emergency fund to help overcome short-term financial barriers, and job shadowing opportunities with local business leaders.
Persist Nashville is always looking for donors and volunteers, so to learn more about what you can do to get involved – from offering a virtual job shadowing experience to raising funds – just click here (and don’t forget to tell them Lightning 100 sent you)! For the full interview with Founder and Executive Director Scott Campbell, listen below: