CITY YEAR TULSA KICKS OFF YEAR OF NATIONAL SERVICE IN HIGH-NEED LOCAL SCHOOLS

50 corps members will serve in 6 schools throughout Tulsa to keep students in school and on track to graduate 

Tulsa, OK (October 8, 2014) – Today, City Year AmeriCorps members pledged to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of students in Tulsa public schools.  City Year, an education-focused non-profit that unites diverse teams of young people for a year of full-time service in the nation’s highest-need schools, launched its year of service with an Opening Day ceremony at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard, George Kaiser Family Foundation Executive Director Ken Levit, and others joined Dr. Thomas McKeon, Executive Director of City Year Tulsa, and City Year AmeriCorps members as they took their pledge and kicked off their year of service.

“We’re excited to welcome City Year, whose corps members will be deployed in 6 schools, reaching our students who need the greatest support,” said Dr. Keith Ballard, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools.  “City Year’s targeted, research-based approach allows students to receive the individualized academic and developmental attention they need to succeed.”

“We are proud to welcome City Year to Tulsa,” said Ken Levit, Executive Director, George Kaiser Family Foundation. “Their energetic and highly-motivated corps members are there for our students every day, all day, year after year inspiring children to set high expectations and work hard to achieve their full potential”

City Year Tulsa partners with Tulsa schools and teachers to place trained young adults in schools where they’re needed most to provide individual support to students who need extra care and attention. Working side-by-side with teachers, City Year AmeriCorps members use research-based early warning indicator and intervention systems to help students who are struggling—so more kids stay in school and on track to succeed. This will be City Year’s Founding Year in Tulsa.

“We’re honored to be serving in six schools, a partnership that would not be possible without the support of the Tulsa Public Schools, the local Tulsa business community, and the parents of Tulsa students who have supported our efforts,” Dr. Thomas McKeon, Executive Director of City Year Tulsa.

Today marks City Year Tulsa’s inaugural Opening Day. Across the country, nearly 50 percent of our nation’s dropouts come from only 10 percent of schools. Here in Tulsa the average graduation rate in some of our highest-need schools is 48%. Over the next decade, City Year has bold plans for expansion, with a goal of reaching the cities that account for two-thirds of the nation’s dropouts and supporting nearly 800,000 students annually.

As City Year AmeriCorps member took their pledge to serve students, they also took the AmeriCorps pledge in honor of the 20th anniversary of the national service program. Since it began, 900,000 people have served with AmeriCorps programs like City Year to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, homeland security and more.

Comcast and NBCUniversal sponsor Opening Day at all 25 City Year locations. Comcast and NBCUniversal have been a loyal and dedicated partner since 2001, providing a total of more than $80 million in cash and in-kind support to City Year. Since then, City Year has grown from nearly 700 corps members to a corps of more than 2,800.

"We are proud to continue our work with City Year, because together we are addressing one of our nation’s most critical issues: the high school dropout crisis,” said Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment at  Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation. “This issue is complicated, and one that needs continued focus and an integrated, strategic approach to help put at-risk students on a path to success.”

Aramark, a global provider of services in food, facilities management, and uniforms, is a City Year National Leadership Sponsor and is helping City Year evolve and strengthen civic engagement nationally. As City Year’s official uniform partner, Aramark provides uniforms and the signature red jackets to 2,800 corps members and staff.

City Year Tulsa Opening Day is also supported by the OK2Grow Foundation.

This year, City Year Tulsa will be hosting a school supply drive to support the local schools.

To learn more about City Year, visit www.cityyear.org, become a Facebook fan or follow @CityYear on Twitter.

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About City Year: City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools and teachers to help keep students in school and on track to succeed.  In 25 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, this innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members provide individual support to students who need extra care and attention, focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs.