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SLAA’s Coralynn Long Uses Data to Inspire Learning

September 6, 2022 | Jeffrey Good
SLAA’s Coralynn Long Uses Data to Inspire Learning Hero Image

Coralynn Long has always loved education, data and the way the human brain operates. As a graduation candidate advocate responsible for helping young learners stay on track and reach their goals, she’s found a way to blend all three.

“My data drives conversations, and my conversations drive the data,” Long says. After taking stock of the progress a graduation candidate is making in a particular course, she helps them set specific goals, saying, “If you can do that, you can finish this course in this amount of time. I try to make it very concrete for them.”

Long brings not only passion to the job, but also deep expertise. She has two master’s degrees, in developmental neuroscience and educational psychology, has almost completed her doctorate and is pursuing yet another master’s in school counseling.

Before joining the St. Lucie Acceleration Academies team in 2020, she did research at New York University on the way brain injury impacts adults. After shifting her focus to educating high school students who needed a flexible, personalized alternative to traditional public schooling, she’s grown fascinated with the workings of the adolescent brain.

Her goal: To use those insights to help them realize their goal of a diploma.

“My job is not to get the kids online” to do their coursework, she says. “My goal is to get them to graduate.”

“The students who age out or who drop out — they will realize in 10 years what they missed out on,” she adds.

Central to the Acceleration Academies model is the practice of closely monitoring how well graduation candidates are working their way through their courses, and intervening when they need support — either academic or personal — to push past obstacles to success.

The reward is seeing them walk across the stage to claim a diploma many had once thought out of reach.

“Graduation day, I always get choked up,” she says. “The sense of accomplishment — you can feel that from them.”