Diplomas Now Announces Doug Elmer as Its First Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 29, 2011 –Doug Elmer, who has managed school reform projects in 20 districts across the nation, has been named the first full-time director of Diplomas Now, a proven approach that helps the toughest schools in America’s largest cities ensure every student graduates ready for college or career.
As director of Diplomas Now, Elmer will oversee the successful model at the 20 schools currently using it and will lead the expansion to 60 more schools nationwide over the next four years. Diplomas Now currently operates in Chicago, Columbia, S.C., Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
It is the first fully integrated approach that improves a school’s curriculum and instruction as it provides the right students with the right support at the right time. It is based on research by the nation’s leading dropout expert who found that three quarters of all dropouts can be identified as early as the sixth grade due to poor attendance, poor behavior or failure in English or math. Diplomas Now identifies those students early and eliminates their problems.
Diplomas Now combines the experience of three national nonprofits: Johns Hopkins University’s Talent Development, a school reform model that improves instruction and performance; City Year’s full-time “near peer” AmeriCorps student support coaches and Communities in Schools’ trained case managers for the neediest students.
In 2010, Diplomas Now won a prestigious federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, enabling it to expand. The founding investor is the PepsiCo Foundation whose support provided the match required by the government.
Elmer, who served as regional program manager at Talent Development, began his career as a Teach for America corps member, serving as a ninth-grade English teacher at Central High School in Newark. He quickly progressed to become a high school instructional coach in Philadelphia before joining Talent Development in 2003. During his eight years with Talent Development, Elmer has managed school reform projects in 20 districts nationwide, both recruiting new schools and districts to partner with Talent Development and leading the implementation of the Talent Development model. He has overseen teams of Talent Development instructional facilitators and worked with hundreds of school administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers. He has both helped to turn around existing schools and played a key role in opening new high schools in Chicago and Detroit.