We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendall Dingee Stephanie Frausto and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kendall Dingee, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We began working together in higher education and developed a friendship because we think alike and have the same work ethic. What is funny is that we both came to each other with this desire to do something, to start a business that would benefit students. Our ideas were really fluid in those beginning conversations, and we just threw out ideas until we finally landed on an idea that we both thought was vitally important, which morphed into Get Ahead Prep, LLC. Based on our years of experience in the college classroom, we saw a significant need for additional preparation for high school students. Semester after semester and year after year, we have witnessed the struggles of students who were not prepared for college, who had to withdraw from a semester’s worth of courses, only to be expected to repay for the course and try again. Many of these students did not return and left higher education for good. This trend we see happening is because students come from a variety of backgrounds and not all educational experiences are equal. One focus of Get Ahead Prep is to help more students receive an equitable preparation for higher education. Get Ahead Prep students are assisted in their preparation for the rigors of college by instruction that is concentrated on asset-based development and assessment. The asset-based model focuses where the student is on their growth journey toward becoming a stronger student and values who they are. This affective learning environment provides greater transformations to occur in the classroom experience.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Literacy is the gateway to excelling in education. Research shows that students who can read well and write well will also do well in all curriculums. We want to guide students through this gateway. As opposed to other educational companies, we focus on advancing student’s abilities beyond high school and not just remediation to get caught up. We have created four different curriculums that allow students at the high school level to experience the expectations and rigor that will be encountered in the college classroom. Exposing students to this will allow them to be more prepared post high school graduation for what they will need to do to be successful educationally.

Much of our experience has been in the trenches with students who struggle to meet the requirements of a course. We both teach many different levels of college courses within our department and no level is without students who are ill-prepared for college. We have spent years reworking curriculums, going to seminars, professional development, and reading books as well as scholarly articles trying to provide solutions for students once they are in the college arena. Once students are in college, it is hard to pick up the skills they needed before they get here. College by its nature is accelerated and entering college with skills already in place will create a better trajectory in their college future.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As native Austinites, we have both seen this city change drastically over the years. What is wonderful about Austin is that you can get a different and unique vibe in different parts of town, so there is something for everyone here.

Austin is an active city and there is so much to see and do. There is of course the infamous Sixth Street, Live Music Capital of the world, but there are so many other places to see as well. Mount Bonnell is a great place to hike up and see a mountainous view of the city. Nearby is another place to climb at the Pennybacker Bridge, Austin’s first suspension bridge that crosses the Lower Colorado River and feeds into Lake Austin and runs through downtown. Austin has endless hiking and biking trails, greenbelts, waterfalls, and standup paddle boarding.There are wonderful restaurants, bars, and coffee houses on every corner that will offer you a new and distinctive experience. Additionally, there are heaps of museums for all interests, but if someone really wants to learn about Texas, they need to go to the Bob Bullock State of Texas Museum.

Lastly, I would say that they would need more than a week to see all Austin has to show.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Stephanie: I am thankful to God for so many things including this opportunity that would not have been possible without the years of education that have led me to this point. There have been countless family members who have assisted me in these endeavors and who are still with me providing a cheerleading support team. For the Get Ahead Prep, LLC, I am so thankful to Kendall for joining me on this journey to give us an opportunity to make a difference in so many lives of high school students transitioning to college and to provide a chance at self-fulfilment in our careers as college educators.

Kendall: I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the support of my family. My husband, Arthur, and two daughters have been a constant source of support. I want my children to see and know that hard work can produce wonderful life-changing moments. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with Stephanie. Her guidance and mentorship is invaluable.

Get Ahead Prep is hoping to pay it forward with our services and play a positive role in future student’s stories.

Website: www.getaheadprep.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getaheadprep

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