Model & Strategy

Blue Engine partners with public high schools serving low-income communities to increase academic rigor and prepare greater numbers of students for success in college. They do this by training and supporting Blue Engine Teaching Assistants (BETAs), recent college graduates who are placed in high-need schools and leverage teams, data and low student-to-teacher ratios to provide differentiated instruction in math, literacy, and social cognition for every student. BETAs collaborate with teachers to help students develop advanced skills before going to college, making sure they are not just college eligible; they are college ready.

Blue Engine is giving schools access to a pipeline of future teachers interested in and equipped to help students make measurable academic gains, and has developed an evidence-based Theory of Change that connects long-term outcomes with short-term outcomes and interventions.

At a Glance
Founded: 2009
Education
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
Blue Engine
75 Broad Street, Suite 2900
New York, NY 10004
Education. Accelerated.
Meet Nick Erhmann

Nick Ehrmann began his career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington D.C., joining forces with local philanthropists in 2002 to launch the non-profit Project 312. In 2003, Nick enrolled in a doctoral program in sociology at Princeton University and returned to Washington DC to study the roots of academic underperformance among his former students and their families for his dissertation. As his research came to a close, he sensed an opportunity to harness expanded national service to push what was academically possible during grades 9-12, focusing on academic rigor in high school as the strongest predictor of success in higher education.

Blue Engine launched in 2009 at the 5th annual Clinton Global Initiative and has been recognized by the Blue Ridge Foundation of New York, Echoing Green and the Robin Hood Foundation as one of the nation’s most promising social innovations. Nick is an Echoing Green Fellow, recipient of the Manhattan Institute’s Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship and a member of the 2014 GOOD 100.

IMPACT

In partnership with seven schools in NYC, Blue Engine currently supports 89 BETAs and 2,200 students. For four years in a row, Blue Engine has increased college-ready performance on state exit exams among the 9th & 10th grade students served.

To date, 37% of BETA alumni have entered the teaching profession. Half are people of color, and 90% are still teaching today (1-4 years later) compared to NYC attrition rates below 75% after the first two years.