Dear City Year community,
City Year is committed to helping cultivate educational environments where all students have the opportunity to thrive, develop their talents and identities, and progress on their journey toward bright futures.
Recent events have provided a stark reminder of the importance of our work. School shutdowns due to COVID-19 underscore the fundamental role education plays in our communities and the disparate impact that curtailment of in-school education has in our society, and police brutality against the Black community shows once again the systemic racism that shapes our society.
City Year remains focused on advancing educational equity and guiding the next generation of civic leaders who will work across lines of difference to create positive change. Our work is driven by our deep belief that there is no educational equity without racial justice, and that we must drive change by working with our partners to transform systems that perpetuate educational and racial inequities. To this end, we partner with systemically under-resourced schools across the country to provide the direct student supports, strategies, and resources for school improvement and innovation needed to create learning environments where every student can fulfill their potential and succeed.
This annual report is a look back at our work in 2018-2019, with a focus on the impact City Year had on our students and schools, on our AmeriCorps members and alumni, and on the broader work to influence the systemic policies and practices that shape educational opportunity in our country.
We are advancing our learning and research agenda, growing our networks of education leaders to spread evidence-based approaches, working in coalitions to influence practices and policies aligned to whole child approaches and what we know about how students learn, and driving systemic change to create more culturally-responsive learning environments. We also are investing in our AmeriCorps members while creating recognition and resources for their role as student success coaches—find out more by reading our impact story on this report’s main page.
As we write this letter, we’re hopeful Congress will support the Corps Act, a bipartisan initiative that would expand the role of AmeriCorps in our nation’s recovery efforts. We’re also looking ahead to the challenges and promise of a new school year in an environment that has shifted significantly from just a few months ago. Whether in a school building or in a virtual classroom, our diverse and trained AmeriCorps members will be ready to help students reconnect with their teachers and peers, catch up from learning losses and stay on track to graduate high school prepared with the skills to thrive in school and in life.
Trusting relationships have long been at the core of City Year’s strategy to create spaces where students feel like they belong and can grow. In the midst of this crisis, this idea is gaining powerful momentum. As schools seek ways to keep students engaged and connected, help them recover from stress and trauma, and prepare them to resume learning, we must raise our voices together about the power of student success coaches to help us navigate this crisis and rebound from it stronger than before.
We are deeply grateful to work in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the AmeriCorps program, our school district partners, and the individuals, families, foundations, and corporations who generously support our work and are committed to accompanying us in this journey.
Yours in service,
Jim Balfanz (Boston ’94)
Chief Executive Officer
Chair, Board of Trustees