Nick Ehrmann founded Blue Engine in 2009 to help better prepare New York City’s low-income high school students for success in college.
According to a study by the Urban Institute, only 10 percent of low-income students get a college diploma, compared with about half of teens from higher-income families. To tackle this achievement gap, Blue Engine is focusing on the academic rigor of high schools in low-income neighborhoods. They deploy recent college grads to assist teachers in these schools (so far, they are partnering with five schools in New York City) and to provide small-group tutoring in the classroom.
According to Ehrmann, who began his career as a grade-school teacher in inner-city Washington, D.C., students attending Blue Engine partner schools are seeing huge performance gains. “We’ve seen college-ready rates anywhere from double to triple year after year,” says Ehrmann. “We’re finding failure rates on high-stakes exams plummet 30 percent or more.”
Since the original publication of this story, Nick Ehrmann, founder of Blue Engine, has become a NationSwell Council member.