Stefany Tobel, MSEd


Stefany Tobel worked with the Philadelphia Education Fund (Ed Fund) to improve graduation rates for at-risk middle school students. 

In 2005, researchers from the Ed Fund and Johns Hopkins University conducted an analysis of 13,000 sixth graders and discovered that students exhibiting one or more of certain risk factors have only a 10-20% chance of graduating high school.  These risk factors include: 

  • students who attend school less than 80% of the time; 
  • receive a poor final behavior mark; or 
  • earn a failing grade in math or literacy. 

Between 1,000 and 2,000 sixth graders in Philadelphia have one or more of these risk factors.  In response to these findings the Ed Fund created Diplomas Now, a comprehensive dropout prevention/intervention model for middle school students.  In 2009, the program was implemented in four Philadelphia middle schools and preliminary results are promising.

Stefany developed a method for analyzing data on student performance related to the Diplomas Now risk factors and shared these information with schools.  Using these information, she identified students displaying one or more of the risk factors.  She conducted training for school personnel on how to interpret data and assisted teachers and administrators to develop interventions based on individual student needs.  Stefany documented her efforts and refined the Diplomas Now program model for how school personnel use student data. 

As an alumna of Prep for Prep, a program that places New York City’s most promising students of color in independent schools, and the first of her family to attend college, Stefany felt an emotional connection to the Diplomas Now project.   She spent two years teaching in an urban preschool in Philadelphia where she assessed children’s social, emotional and academic development.  She also has experience leading training for AmeriCorps staff on child development.  Stefany completed her Masters in Education Policy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.