president’s notes

Spring 2022

Success, Transition, and Connection

How is it Spring already?

Like you, we’ve had our heads down over here, and it feels like the right time to come up for some air and reconnect. If you don’t know me, I’m Ahrash Bissell, President of The NROC Project, a nonprofit organization that works with educational leaders and institutions to improve student success. To our old friends, we’re sending a spirited fist bump your way!

Some Updates

Despite the sensation of our lives still being on hold (at least somewhat), we’ve witnessed a number of newsworthy events across our community.

We’re growing, and we’re continuing to document positive outcomes.

Today, we have 200 sustaining and strategic partners, representing over 1,700 separate educational institutions and one million students with current access to NROC technologies.

And, recently, we launched our Do Placement Differently campaign, which spotlights how high-stakes placement tests fail students and what members of the NROC community are doing to improve student success and educational equity. Check it out.

Some people have moved on to other things . . .

One of our earliest and most active NROC Ambassadors, Bob Currie of Montana Digital Academy (and founder of EdReady Montana), has retired, as has Susan Barbitta, our equally tireless champion in North Carolina who helped to architect the statewide College and Career Ready Graduate (CCRG) program.

Within NROC, Customer Success Specialist Ben Jacobs has moved to a different organization in furtherance of his career, and our longtime Director of Partnerships, Dani Pedrotti, has decided to retire from this work to pursue other interests. We'll miss our regular interactions with these great colleagues and wish them well in their future endeavors.

. . . and new people are stepping in and up.

We'd like to recognize that certain members of our community have really stepped up in this past year to help us spread the word and reach more students. These all-stars include Dr. Rosslyn R. Knight (Maricopa Community College District, Arizona), Timi Creekmore (Texas College Bridge), Brigette Myers (College and Career Ready Graduate, North Carolina), and Dr. Jason Neiffer (Bob Currie's successor at Montana Digital Academy).]

Truthfully, we're so grateful for every person with whom we interact among our broader community, for you're the ones who transform our solutions into successful student outcomes.

As we've learned how to best support our diverse community of partners, we've been adjusting our staffing and roles accordingly. To that end, Jason Gipson-Nahman has assumed a leadership role within the NROC Customer Success Team. In this past year, we've also added two new people to that team: Jessica Huffman and Josie Marshman. As well, three new people have joined the NROC Partnership Development Team: Zahra Massicotte, Laura Smith, and Mark Gaskins. We're excited for all of you to meet and get to know our new team members.

So, when is the NROC community going to gather in person?

In the past, this time of year would be dedicated to preparing for and hosting our annual community meeting held in beautiful Monterey, California. This special event brought together our incredible secondary, postsecondary, and adult education partners to share insights and generate new ideas around our collective endeavors. However, like so many other facets of our lives, the pandemic demanded that we cancel this inspiring tradition.

We're still not sure what the future holds, nor exactly how pandemic restrictions will continue to influence our lives, but we are sure that we need to find new ways to stay connected and take advantage of whatever opportunities might arise. To that end, I'm issuing a sincere invitation for you to reach out.

An invitation

Whether you reply to this email or @ (at) us on social media, let us know how you're doing, who you're reading or listening to, what aspects of your work get you going in the morning or keep you up at night, and anything else you want to share (animal pics and kiddo pics are always encouraged).

Also, there will be opportunities to meet with us and fellow NROC partners at other established conferences that are returning to face-to-face formats this year. For example, our staff will be attending COABE (in Seattle in mid-April), AACC (in New York City in early May), and GlobalMindED (in Denver in late June—consider registering for the unconference we're hosting there).

In closing

Anyway, thanks for letting me drop into your inbox and say a few words. If you're already a part of our community, we're grateful for your presence and participation, and if you're not yet one of our partners, we hope you'll find a way to join us. We're here to support you and to find more creative ways to be an ally in 2022 and beyond.

In the face of the many challenges in front of us, whether personal, professional, or societal, we hope we can give you a boost and reassure you that you are not alone.

— Ahrash