Navigating the new terrain of empty hallways and pivoting to virtual supports, schools, communities, and local leaders throughout Florida have pushed forward supporting students’ dreams of an education beyond high school, despite the hardships caused by COVID-19. That’s why FCAN is excited to recognize a community leader who made impactful contributions and utilized innovative strategies this school year to increase the effectiveness of FCAN’s College Ready Florida initiatives: Apply Yourself Florida, Florida FAFSA Challenge, Florida College Decision Day, and Plan It Florida.
FCAN is pleased to announce the honoree of the third annual College Ready Florida Innovator Awards, which recognize those trying new approaches to help students get into and pay for college while inspiring younger students to plan for their futures.
The 2021 College Ready Florida Innovator is:
Jillian Hasner, President and CEO,
Take Stock in Children
Ms. Hasner led Take Stock in Children (TSIC) in transitioning their traditional 25-year-old model to include in-school, virtual, and hybrid mentoring, coaching, and college readiness service options for the 2020-21 school year. With the onset of the pandemic during the Spring break of 2020, TSIC worked tirelessly to transition within two weeks to an entirely virtual program model. In September 2020, TSIC launched the Take Stock App including text and video chat features for mentors and mentees to remain in contact. The app also has a feature for mentors to complete and sign needed paperwork and track reports.
TSIC and Take Stock in College developed college readiness workshops around the key topics of FAFSA completion, mental health and stress management, and college preparation for seniors. These on-demand videos ensured that students had access to necessary information for postsecondary attainment, and staff could ensure students stayed on track with college readiness/preparedness. Lastly, TSIC also developed a virtual coaching model where College Success Coaches can meet with their students using the various virtual online platforms to ensure that students make progress on essential college readiness items applicable to each grade level.
Nominations for the College Ready Florida Innovator Award were evaluated through a competitive process. This year’s honoree reflects the sorts of creative practices that result in strong student outcomes. The FCAN Innovators are usually honored at a special awards luncheon as part of the annual FCAN Summit but will be honored virtually this year.
“To pivot an entire mentoring system virtual in such short order under Jillian’s leadership ensured TSIC-supported students never missed a beat,” said Charleita M. Richardson, FCAN’s Executive Director. “And that innovative spirit continued into the fall, keeping mentors and mentees connected so their students stayed on track. That’s the kind of innovation FCAN is thrilled to honor.”
Please join us in congratulating Jillian Hasner, the 2021 College Ready Florida Innovator for supporting students’ postsecondary ambitions!