CurrentlyTrending Program Development

CurrentlyTrending est. 8/17
Organization Overview: 
According to the State of Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated plan application, 87.1% of Pennsylvania students graduate from high school. That number is 74% for Hispanic students and 76% for African American students. In North Philadelphia, however, where levels of crime and poverty are high, only 35% of children graduate high school, according to a recent report by the Philadelphia Inquirer. CurrentlyTrending aims to improve those outcomes for children confronting poverty in Philadelphia.

Using current or retired professionals and college students, CurrentlyTrending will coach students attending underperforming schools, who often do not have access to resources and guidance, to develop and implement a plan to finish high school and post-secondary school, and to launch a career aligned with their life’s purpose so that they can live free from poverty.

The program, funded by a combination of public grants and private donations, will begin with a group of rising 9th graders from Philadelphia at a summer leadership retreat, at which students will develop a strong community, build self-awareness and create a personal plan to achieve their goals. At the camp, students will be broken into cohorts of approximately five, and each cohort will be matched with a professional coach and college coach.

Based on their personalized plan, CurrentlyTrending will help each student identify, enroll in, and pay for a community-based activity aligned with their goals during the school year. Research suggests that students who are involved in an activity of interest on a regular basis are more likely to finish high school and succeed in life. Coaches will check in with each student every week to monitor progress in their activities, coach them, and ensure they are on track to succeed in school and meet the goals they established for themselves in the summer. Students will revisit their goals and plans with their coaches periodically to ensure they are currently trending on the right path.

Throughout the school year, coaches and students will participate in monthly engagements on Saturdays that include experiential learning trips and leadership development workshops led by Linda Cliatt-Wayman.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman, the founding Principal and CEO of CurrentlyTrending, has over 30 years experience working with students in low income schools. She has developed a national reputation for her relentless commitment to children and her ability to turn around persistently neglected schools. Cliatt-Wayman has been featured on ABC’s World News and Nightline, gave a TED Talk with over a million views, and wrote a book, Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose and Putting it to Work, chronicling her experiences and providing insight on leadership. 

Helping students to succeed despite the overwhelming challenges of poverty is Cliatt-Wayman’s life’s work. She will leverage her experience and skills leading for children, as well as her network of supporters, to do whatever it takes to support her students in achieving their purpose.
Project Name: 
CurrentlyTrending Program Development
Project Type: 
Program Development
Project Overview: 
Based on the vision set forth by Principal and CEO Linda Cliatt-Wayman, the Fels Lab graduate student would help lead the development of the programming for CurrentlyTrending. This would include identifying relevant research and best practices in the areas of leadership development, youth coaching, community building, and cultural responsiveness to design a three-day summer leadership retreat for a group of rising 9th grade students and to design the framework for the monthly programming those students will participate in throughout the school year. Included in this design should be clear, measurable goals for programming during the summer and during the school year, defined indicators of success, and programming experiences that will achieve those indicators.
At the conclusion of this project, the Fels Lab graduate student should have a fully developed year-long program, including clear indicators of success. Specifically, deliverables would include explicit, measurable goals for programming; a comprehensive plan for programming experiences in the summer leadership retreat and during the school year; a clear grounding framework for coaching and youth development; a template for individual student success plans; assessment tools for measuring goals and indicators of success over the course of the program; and criteria for selecting professional and college coaches.
Spots Available: 
Executive; Full-Time
To Apply: 

To apply for this project, please contact Cassie Tomkins at

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829