Moving From Reactive to Proactive | City Year San Antonio’s Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan
The 2021 – 2022 academic year marked our 25th year of partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). We are so grateful for our partnership with SAISD and feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve alongside incredible teachers and work with students who are passionate and have endless potential! Over the past five years, we have been fortunate to work alongside SAISD who navigated the pandemic with great care. Last year our AmeriCorps member returned to schools with faculty and students. When we returned to schools in 2021 we realized that the impact of the pandemic was worse than we had initially thought. Students experienced the highest declines in academic achievement we have ever seen, behavior incidents were at an all-time high and our schools had limited capacity issues due to the record-high teacher shortages.
The students across our nine SAISD partner schools saw a 30% decrease in the percentage of students who are approaching grade level or above in math, a 13% decrease in the percentage of students who are approaching grade level or above in English (TAPR Reports), and an 18% increase in students who need instruction for behavioral needs (Devereux Assessments).
Academic decline coupled with record-high behavioral issues meant that we had to be more flexible in order to meet the needs of students and school partners. Our 88 AmeriCorps members prioritized restorative justice practices, afterschool tutoring, and spending more time with their focus list students than ever before. In total, our AmeriCorps class gave 27,748 targeted interventions to help students get back on track.
This past year we did not have access to student test scores or grades which meant that we were not able to use data to drive impact, but at the end of the year, we were able to quantify impact with student outcomes. The majority of our focus list students in English and Math maintained the same level on the STAAR test from the previous year. Below is a snapshot of student progress from the past year:
Impact of Pandemic on City Year’s Programming
2021 – 2022 was the first “normal” year of service since the pandemic, but COVID still impacted or programming. At the start of COVID-19, our traditional programming halted. Some AmeriCorps members became tech support for partners, while others made attendance calls, and some led breakout tutoring sessions on Zoom. This has impacted our programming because although we are back in school full-time, the needs of students, teachers, and administrators are vastly different. What we did three years ago is not the most effective way to make an impact and support our students.
Shifting from a Reactive to Proactive Approach
We spent the majority of the pandemic in a reactive state and offered any help we could to our students and partners. This was what needed to be done at that time, but as our community knows, now is the time for us to work hard to create plans that will allow every student in San Antonio the opportunity to succeed and be whatever they want to be in life!
The pandemic changed the education landscape. Priorities are different and our schools, like all of us, are trying to get things running smoothly again! The pandemic did have positive ripples — schools were forced to adopt technology quickly which has created greater efficiency giving teachers the tools they need to track student data and outcomes in real time. SAISD was a leader in this work! At the start of the pandemic, SAISD purchased 30,000 Chromebooks. They committed to always giving students technology which is a big win for students! Technology also strengthened schools’ ability to track student data. In great news for us, SAISD is working with us to ensure we have access to student data to inform our programming. But having access to data is not enough, we need to understand the needs of each school. partner teachers, and students and have systems that set up our site and students for success.
For these reasons we created our Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan which outlines how we will ensure the students that we serve exceed pre-pandemic academic outcomes by the end of the 2026 -2027 academic year. We have defined annual goals for student progress for each of the five years and we will share progress with you.
To do this with fidelity, City Year San Antonio has committed to the following 5 initiatives (in addition to Whole School Whole Child Programming). These priorities were determined after an 8-month evaluation of our program and the immediate needs of students, partners, and AmeriCorps members.
Top Priority Initiatives to Ensure Student Success
1. Increase AmeriCorps member stipend to ensure a year of service is an option for anyone regardless of demographic. Increase stipend by approximately $11,000 per service year for AmeriCorps members
2020 – 2021 Stipend: $14,289
2022 – 2023 Stipend: $25,000
2. Creation and implementation of systems that allow for real-time data and analytics to ensure programming is monitored in real-time, that staff understands how to monitor and evaluate data, and that our activities and results are available to partners and stakeholders on a quarterly basis.
3. Creation of a database of programmatic materials for tutoring, coaching, school partnership building, and afterschool programming that meets the needs of schools.
4. Create and hire a Community Partnership Manager that will lead recruitment efforts of corps locally.
5. Playbook for school that includes key priorities (academic and otherwise), all other non-profits present on campus, and recommendations of how CYSA can increase impact. Our site will work to ensure we help wherever possible and make introductions to stakeholders when possible to ensure success.
We are seeking strategic five-year investments to support this plan. Those who invest in this plan join our Circle of Champions. Circle members receive annual event sponsorships, a logo or name on our Circle of Champions webpage, additional media mentions, special event invitations, and distinctive name badges. We send regular updates to Champions regarding our progress toward goals. Champions can choose which events they want to sponsor with their pledge and make annual investment decisions. Our Champions are strategic investors committed to lasting student success!
A special thank you to our inaugural members of the Circle of Champions, Gayle and Walter Embrey, Joanne Furtek Cox, Bonnie Reed and Stu Schlossberg, and Marty and Rene Wender for your foresight and commitment to educational equity and creation of workplace pathways in San Antonio!
*Circle of Champion members as of 11/23/2022
Interested in joining our Circle of Champions or learning more about our Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan?
Set up a meeting with Jim Barshop, Managing Director of Development at City Year
Learn more about our Strategic Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan
In addition to strategic investors, we are also looking for strategic partners who can support us by offering expertise to help us strengthen our programming. We are seeking experts in education, finance, social work, real estate, technology, videography, and more to help us get students back on track.
We hope you will join us in these efforts! Please reach out if you are interested in partnering with us to ensure student and AmeriCorps member success!
Students first. Collaboration Always.
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