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Introducing New Initiatives from the Compass DEI Board

By March 16, 2022 Compass News

The Practice Test Donation Campaign

In spring 2022, Compass launched its inaugural Practice Test Donation Campaign (PTDC) in collaboration with our DEI Board. Each quarter, Compass will donate 10% of all practice test fees to non-profit organizations that enact social change through educational programming. Until the end of June 2022, proceeds from the PTDC will go to the Petey Greene Program (PGP)!

PGP is a nonprofit organization that supports the academic achievement of people impacted by the criminal justice system. Since 2008, PGP has tutored roughly 16,000 system-impacted students in over 50 correctional facilities and reentry programs across the Northeastern US. According to PGP:

“[We] believe that everyone deserves a chance, that we cannot discount anyone, and are responsible for each other—it is the central life-long lesson our volunteers learn when they tutor students who are incarcerated, or have been recently released.”
– peteygreene.org/about-pgp

PGP is particularly close to the heart of Compass tutor and DEI Board member, Jonathan Cortez, who also serves as the organization’s New York Regional Manager and National Blended Learning Manager. When asked about the significance of PGP to his own life story, Jonathan explained:

“Education paved the way for me to escape a life of cyclical incarceration; a fate that friends and family members have faced. Consequently, I feel empowered to disrupt this cycle by equipping system-impacted learners – overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic men with few financial and educational resources – with the skills and tools they need to pave their own path. 

And that’s not easy given our society’s history of racial segregation and overpolicing. The bulk of people housed in NYC jails come from the same five or six majority-minority neighborhoods where poverty sits above 50%. Moreover, the economic consequences of incarceration in New York are astounding: we can educate 20 students at roughly $27,000 per year for the cost of imprisoning a single person. That’s over $556,000 per incarcerated person.”

Compass is proud to shed light on and support such a noble cause, and we are doubly proud of Jonathan for his devotion to both PGP and our students. We are honored that PGP will be the first recipient of our Practice Test Donation Campaign, and we encourage our tutors, directors, and families to spread the word about these efforts. A new donation recipient will be announced some time this summer. 

The Compass Scholarship Program

Since Compass’ inception over twenty years ago, we have offered pro-bono and heavily subsidized private tutoring to deserving students at partner schools and community-based organizations. In order to further codify, streamline, and expand the reach of our services, our DEI Board officially founded the Compass Scholarship Program (CSP) in the summer of 2020.

To-date, CSP has connected dozens of Compass tutors* with over 200 scholarship recipients. Each year, we partner with schools and CBOs that serve underrepresented students of color, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Examples of CSP partners include: the Breakthrough Collaborative, Alexander Hamilton Scholars, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, UP RVA, and KIPP Schools: NYC.  

*Compass tutors are paid their full hourly rates while working with CSP students. The DEI Board also provides ongoing professional development seminars to ensure that instructors can meet the needs of their students.

Upon completion of our 2022 cohort of students, we expect to have donated nearly 1 million dollars in private tutoring!

If you are interested in learning more about CSP or would like Compass’ DEI Board to consider a new partner school or organization for the 2023 cohort, please email: [email protected]

Success Stories

“The Compass Scholarship Program helped me boost my score by 240 points! My instructors were patient, kind, and encouraging. They made sure I learned the principles and tools required to do well on the SAT. The Compass Prep Program not only helped me improve my SAT scores but also helped me develop important skills such as time management. With the program’s support, I was admitted to my number one college, Wash U, and received a scholarship!”
DJ W. (he/him)
Alexander Hamilton Scholars

“After taking the SAT for the second time and seeing little improvement, I had not only lost hope, but also lost motivation…until I found Compass! I had my first lesson with Compass in May. My tutors scheduled lessons according to my strengths and weaknesses. Both of my teachers were very nice, friendly, helpful, and attentive. Through the help of Compass, I was able to grow a total of a hundred points. I am very happy with my current score and I am very grateful to Compass for their support.”
INSIYA M. (she/her)
Breakthrough Collaborative, Houston

“My experience with Compass has been amazing. The tutoring sessions were very helpful and focused on what I struggled in. Deshana taught me different ways to approach math, so I understood the concepts more. In the beginning, English and Reading were a struggle for me. My verbal tutor gave me time to reflect on problems and gave me feedback on the spot. I was able to learn quicker that way and this helped me a lot.”
ABDURRHMAN A. (he/him)
Breakthrough Collaborative, Pittsburgh 

Matty Steiner

About Matty Steiner

Prior to joining Compass, Matty obtained their MA from the University of Chicago and a BA from UC Santa Cruz. They have over a decade of experience in the field of test preparation, having worked as an instructor, consultant, and keynote speaker on the topic of admission testing.

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