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As we start the second half of the service year, I am elated to share a number of updates about our site.   

Network for School Improvement: As we announced in November, City Year Milwaukee is proud to be a member of the Network for School Improvement funded by the Gates Foundation. Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School, Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education, Hopkins Lloyd Community School, Rogers Street Academy and Rufus King International Middle School have been selected to participate in the Network for School Improvement.   

Through a series of activities grounded in continuous improvement sciences and data analysis school leaders were able to narrow the shared aim to 3 areas:  

  • 8th-grade attendance 

  • Students who need support in multiple indicator areas   

  • STAR assessment scores in English Language Arts    

Next steps will include forming the school NSI teams and facilitating a root cause analysis that will continue to narrow each school leader’s focus.  We are grateful to partner with the Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center to support our data analysis and our overall approach to this work.    

Return on Investment: A recent Deloitte White paper shared the benefits and return on investment for schools working with City Year. It found that the impact of a City Year team could generate savings that recoup up to 97% of the cost that a school pays for City Year. These cost savings were calculated by looking at reductions in students failing courses and the reduced costs of teacher turnover as connected to teacher surveys. City Year is 78% more cost effective, when compared to what it would cost the school to contract with other partners for the range of services that City Year provides. Additionally, schools with City Year gained one month of additional learning, when compared to similar schools without City Year. Schools with City Year are up to 2-3x more likely to improve on standardized English learning and math assessments than similar schools that don’t partner with City Year. The learning gains are rooted in a national evaluation conducted by Policy Studies Associates that looked at school wide gains in academic assessments in math and English across 150 CY schools and 460 comparison schools at elementary, middle and high school levels.

Attendance Coaching Initiatives:  For our work in social emotional learning and academics to be effective, we need students at school, in the classroom, ready to learn. Because attendance is a leading indicator, we have developed new coaching initiatives this year that are increasing the support we give students.   

One of the key changes we made this year is align our goals around attendance to match Milwaukee Public Schools’ goal.  This allows us to work alongside schools and teachers to provide a uniform support system for students.  

Attendance coaching is done in eight-week coaching cycles (four per year). In each cycle ACMs coach students concerning their attendance, the importance of being in school and the effect it has on student’s education.  

Each week the ACM and student work together to set a goal for the student about their attendance. The ACM then monitors their attendance throughout the week, checks in with the student regularly and calls home if the student is absent. At the end of each week the ACM and student sit and review the goal that they set, reassess if needed and celebrate the small wins.  

Overall, this new system allows us to build student and family awareness about the importance of daily attendance as well as encourage students along the way.   

Recruitment: As we continue to grow we need more young idealists to serve as City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member. We have recently hired City Year Milwaukee Alumna, Laura Perez, who served on our founding corps. In her role as, Local Recruitment Manager, she will support our site in building our future corps. If you know a young idealist who could serve Milwaukee students, please do not hesitate to reach out to Laura or myself. Also, if you have ideas or suggestions of how we can get the word out to increase our recruitment efforts, please be in touch. 

Looking ahead: I am proud to share that next year brings a new milestone... our 10th year of serving the students of Milwaukee. We are incredibly honored to serve this city and are looking forward to continue making gains with Milwaukee students.  
Yours in service, 
Meralis T. Hood 
Vice President & Executive Director 
City Year Milwaukee

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