Positive Pathways - Summer Melt Campaign - Eastside Pathways
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Summer Melt Campaign

Collaborative: Career Pathways

Period: July 2017

Addressed the issue of ‘summer melt’ (postsecondary enrollment)

With the help of Eastside Pathways and Lynne Simpson, who helped us gather and understand data, we were able to have a conversation with Bellevue College and open the applications earlier. So now in the fall of next year, our kids will be able to apply to the college just like everybody else, which is really cool!
– Deb Kraft, Bellevue School District
The Focus

Many kids who are graduating from high school and indicate that they will be going to college do not actually attend in the fall – the campaign focused on finding the reason and addressing it.

The Data

Baseline Data

Currently, 31 percent (76 kids out of 242) who graduate from the Bellevue School District and say they are going to Bellevue College are ‘melting’ – meaning they do not actually register for and attend Bellevue College (our local community college) in the fall.

Data Disaggregated

Compared to the 31 percent overall rate, the summer melt rate is worse for:

  • Exited ELL students: 75 percent (N=20)
  • Hispanic/Latino students: 45 percent (N=40)
  • Female students: 41 percent (N=91)
  • Low Income students: 39 percent (N=62)


Source: Bellevue School District 2016 senior survey matched with National Student Clearinghouse fall 2016 enrollment records. On senior survey, N=242 who say they will attend Bellevue College.

The Work
  • Engaged with BSD and Bellevue College to share and understand data relating to summer melt and together identified what could be done to address it.
  • Discussed disaggregated data
  • Explored enrollment process from student perspective
  • Reviewed internal policies at school district and community college
  • Identified and implemented changes to policies and practices
The Impact
  • Getting an understanding of the baseline data, which we didn’t know before
  • Working collaboratively – Bellevue College was particularly open to making internal changes to create a smoother transition into community college for local students
  • Evidence of systems change:
    • Reduced stigma of community college option. Bellevue College moved up admissions window several months (used to be February) to align with four-year colleges and the district’s college application push in senior year fall
    • “BARK” advising and registration sessions offered at local high schools instead of requiring students to come to campus
    • Sidestepped data sharing issues by having interested students share their information directly with the college so the college could contact them

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The Learnings
  • Insights
    • It is important to help students explore their career options early and help them through the enrollment process by bringing it to them early in high school.
    • The positive attitude from partners and openness to change go a long way. Sometimes the things that are “common knowledge” for one partner are surprises to another.
    • Invest in relationship building. The culture of the group was essential for its success. If Bellevue College had been defensive, things would not have changed. Data support from the school district was also crucial.
  • Challenges
    • Getting summer melt data means having a consistent, computerized record of HS seniors’ plans. Need student-level, identifiable survey data or report from counselors.
Next Steps

Waiting for fall 2017 National Student Clearinghouse data for quantitative outcomes (i.e., melt rate after one year of intervention)

The Team
  • Bellevue School District: Lead Counselor (central office), one HS counselor
  • Bellevue College: 5-6 members of admissions, outreach, and enrollment staff
  • Eastside Pathways (backbone)
  • Eastside Pathways Partner: College Success Foundation

Monika Steen, Facilitator – Career Pathways