Contact: Kria Sakakeeny
Multi-year Plans Outline Process for Achieving City Year's Long-Term Impact Strategy to Increase the Urban Graduation Pipeline and Reach Nearly 800,000 Students in High Poverty Schools
Organization Announces $150 million 'In School and On Track' National Campaign to Build New Capacities for Impact and Scale and to Expand to New Cities
BOSTON, MA (May 22, 2014) – Today, City Year announced new localized blueprint plans to achieve the organization’s Long-Term Impact strategy at the organization’s 2014 National Leadership Summit. City Year aims to dramatically increase the number of students who reach the tenth grade on track to graduate in the schools where City Year serves, expand to cities that account for two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts, and reach nearly 800,000 students annually.
“We know all children have the potential to succeed. But the reality, is one-third of students from low-income families and nearly 40 percent of young men of color are not graduating,” said Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year. “Keeping these students in school and on track to graduate is an economic, moral and civil rights imperative for this country—and the talents, energy and idealism of young adults willing to serve full-time in the nation's highest need urban schools will help us get there.”
Over the last year, leaders from across the country have joined City Year in a rigorous process to create impact-focused deployment plans for City Year AmeriCorps members in 25 cities. The plans utilize school district data to identify which high schools produce 50 percent or more of the off-track students in a community, and map the elementary and middle schools that feed into them. The plans also analyze major revenue streams within each city, ensuring that City Year is able to partner with school districts, local government and business leaders to follow off-track students over multiple years, beginning in the third grade.
City Year’s strategy is to saturate America’s highest need urban elementary, middle and high schools with highly trained City Year AmeriCorps members who advance school reform strategies and provide individualized academic and social-emotional supports to students. City Year strengthens tiered student supports, improves coordination of teaching and learning, increases teacher effectiveness by allowing more time for differentiated instruction, and expands and optimizes learning time with before- and after-school tutoring. These teams of City Year AmeriCorps members will work with school and community partners to build a continuum of support elementary through high school to keep students in school and on track to graduation.
“Too many children from our nation’s lowest income families face odds of graduating high school that aren’t much better than a coin toss. Only one-third go on to college, and one in 10 actually finish,” said US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. “City Year has drawn widely from data, using a national model based on research that identifies characteristics that strongly predict a student’s risk of dropping out of high school.”
At the Summit, City Year announced its $150 million 25th Anniversary ‘In School and On Track’ Campaign. The campaign supports City Year’s Long Term Impact Strategy with a focus on building the national capacities for deepening the organization’s impact, scaling local City Year programs nationwide to reach additional high-poverty schools, expanding to new cities and building the organization’s endowment. The campaign’s quiet phase began with a transformational $10 million commitment from long-time City Year champions Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, and has now raised nearly $120 million toward its goal.
“City Year is accomplishing very serious, focused work helping to transform schools,” said Jonathan Lavine, chair of City Year’s national Board of Trustees and City Year’s 25th Anniversary campaign, and the managing partner and chief investment officer of Sankaty Advisors, the credit affiliate of Bain Capital LLC. "I am convinced that now is the time to take City Year’s impact to more students in more schools and to show the power of national service in public education. This exciting 25th Anniversary campaign is enabling City Year to help so many more young people meet their potential.”
“As former Boston Public Schools Superintendent, I witnessed City Year Boston AmeriCorps members improve attendance and behavior, dramatically affect students’ academic performance, and energize the whole school environment,” said Dr. Carol Johnson, City Year, Inc. Trustee. “City Year is now one of the Boston Public School Department’s key turnaround partners, and will undoubtedly help drive results in other urban school districts across this country.”
City Year’s Long Term Impact strategy is informed by Johns Hopkins University and University of Chicago Consortium on School Research that found that students at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as elementary school by three early warning indicators known as the ABC’s: poor Attendance, disruptive Behavior and Course failure in math and English.
Utilizing the research-validated insight that students who progress to tenth grade on time with no early warning indicators are four times more likely to graduate than students who fall behind, City Year’s Long-Term Impact strategy has clear and transformational goals at the student, school, district and national levels to significantly increase the nation’s urban graduation pipeline.
The strategy is aligned with national education movements, including GradNation’s Civic Marshall Plan to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. On April 28, 2014 the latest Grad Nation report released by Civic Enterprises, John Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance and Alliance for Excellence in Education announced that the US graduation rate reached an all time high of 80 percent.
“The rising graduation rate is exciting news for our nation. But reaching the next 10 percent of non-graduating students will be our greatest challenge,” said John Bridgeland, President and CEO of Civic Enterprises and City Year, Inc. Trustee. “By focusing its efforts in cities with high poverty rates, City Year is in a unique position to help our nation reach the 90 percent graduation goal, and close the opportunity gap for so many of America’s children.”
Currently, 2,700 City Year AmeriCorps members serve in 25 cities across the United States. City Year’s Long Term Impact strategy calls for expanding from 25 cities to 38 cities nationwide, growing to a corps of more than 12,000, and ultimately increasing the number of students the organization serves from 150,000 to nearly 800,000. City Year has completed Blueprints for two-thirds of its 25 sites across the country and is on track to complete all plans by August 2014.
“These plans are designed to dramatically increase the urban graduation pipeline, and transform the future for thousands of students nationwide,” said City Year President Jim Balfanz. “To do this, we need to partner with schools, districts, community organizations and businesses as part of a collective impact strategy to ensure that America’s young people meet their full potential in school and beyond.”
One million U.S. students drop out of school each year, and half of those dropouts come from just 12 percent of the nation’s schools. If not addressed, the low graduation rates in America’s urban communities will be the source of decreasing economic competitiveness and increasing inequality for the nation. City Year’s blueprint plans for sites nationwide will produce quantifiable benefits directly linked to reduction in dropouts, such as savings from avoided remediation costs as well as benefits directly associated with increased graduation rates.
“City Year's plan to close the opportunity gap and address the dropout crisis is both bold and inspiring,” said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation and City Year National Board Trustee. “Investing in our young people is the single best investment we can make in our nation’s future.”
City Year’s National Leadership Summit is sponsored by Comcast and NBCUniversal and CSX Transportation. Speakers include:
· Dr. Carol Johnson, Former Superintendent, Boston Public Schools & City Year, Inc. Trustee
· Dr. Robert Balfanz, Co-Director of the Everyone Graduates Center and Research Scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University
· Wendy Spencer, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service
· The Honorable Mitch Landrieu, Mayor, City of New Orleans
· John Bridgeland, CEO, Civic Enterprises & City Year, Inc. Trustee
· Jonathan Raymond, Former Superintendent, Sacramento City Schools, Manager, PCG Education
· Kim Wechtenhiser, President, SchoolWorks
· Michael Brown, CEO and co-Founder of City Year
· Michael Ward, CEO, CSX Transportation, City Year National Board Trustee
· David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, City Year National Board Trustee
About City Year: City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988, that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. In more than 25 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, our teams of young AmeriCorps leaders support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.