Gateway to Program Success (GPS)



GPS is a program quality initiative that maximizes the power of our network by identifying and promoting best practices from each of our partner programs.

With 15 years of data from 35 programs, we’ve gained a broad understanding of what it takes to serve struggling high school students with a college-based program. Through GPS, ATD staff provide customized coaching and data analysis services to partner programs. In the four years since the GPS initiative was launched, our partners have increased their graduation rates by 24%.

GPS focuses on seven program practices:


Shared Vision of Success

Successful programs foster students’ belief in their ability to succeed through clear, consistent messages from staff and faculty. A shared expectation that every student will graduate ready for a successful post-secondary career contributes to a culture in which success is anticipated by students and staff alike.


There may be no more crucial strategy for helping struggling students realize their potential than a clear emphasis on 100% attendance. Measuring daily attendance for all students and making immediate, caring responses to all absences reinforces the message: ‘Every Student, Every Day.

Holistic Student Support

In order to ensure that Gateway students achieve their goals, it is essential that programs require direct contact between students and their coach/advisor at least once a week and utilize all other available strategies to foster students’ sense of belonging.

Academic Progress

In order for off-track students to graduate, they need clear graduation plans that allow them to complete their required credits within two years. Effective plans include a balance of college and high school coursework, and students are able to track their own progress towards graduation.

Effective Use of Data

Regular use of real-time data is crucial to create measurable goals and ensure that all students achieve success. This requires an investment of time to collect and analyze data frequently, and it requires that staff understand program goals and make timely interventions to achieve those goals.

College & Career Readiness

Students can describe their future and understand how college helps their vision become reality. They believe they belong in college and demonstrate behaviors and habits that prioritize responsibilities and acknowledge ways to improve.

Sustainable Partnerships

Programs maintain sustainable partnerships that satisfy the expectations of local stakeholders and provide sufficient resources to meet the full range of students’ needs.