Educational Excellence is City Year's New Program
City Year is launching a new public-private strategy to mobilize young people to help address America’s alarming dropout rate.
Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year, announced the launch of In School & On Track
, a national challenge to scale City Year programs to reach the students that are most at risk of dropping out in the 19 U.S. communities where City Year serves.
“National service has a unique role to play in addressing the high school dropout crisis by inspiring America’s young adults to serve in high poverty schools as tutors, role models and mentors in large enough numbers to have a significant impact on a school’s culture and student behavior and achievement. This initiative unites the young men and women who give a year to change the world with the students and schools who need them most,” said Brown.
Recent studies from Johns Hopkins show that children can be identified as falling off the track to graduation as early as 6th grade, if they have low attendance, poor behavior or coursework failure in math or English. City Year corps members, who are diverse 17 to 24 year-olds, serve in schools from the first bell in the morning until the last child leaves the after-school program in the late afternoon. Together, they help students improve attendance, behavior and coursework.
In School & On Track engages school districts, the private sector and the federal government through AmeriCorps as key partners in the effort to reverse the trajectory for students at-risk of dropping out of high school. Using research that has identified the subset of high schools and their feeder middle and elementary schools that are disproportionately driving high dropout rates, City Year will work with school districts to deploy corps members to the schools with the greatest number of students who are at risk.
City Year’s In School & On Track initiative seeks to reach 50% of all the students who are falling off track in City Year’s 19 U.S. locations, which will require expanding the number of corps members from 1,500 to 6,000 nationally.
The scale up of City Year programs is being driven by strong demand for more corps members in major cities including New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC – and by the increasing number of young adults who want to serve. City Year applications have tripled since last year, a sign of increased interest in service, the challenging job market and the President’s call to service.
Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee will join the launch today to announce their support for scaling City Year in Washington, DC.
Chancellor Rhee will announce a plan to significantly expand the District’s partnership with City Year over the next several years, from having City Year corps members serve in seven DC public schools to 33 schools – 25% of all the schools in the District of Columbia – to reach 50% of all the students in the District who are off track to high school graduation.
Washington-area philanthropists Jeffrey and Carolyn Leonard will also announce a $1 million challenge grant to inspire private sector support for the plan. Mr. Leonard is CEO of Global Environment Fund, a successful private investment firm that was recently named the Financial Times Sustainability Investor of the Year for 2008.
“City Year corps members are having a powerful impact on our students and schools,” said Chancellor Rhee. “I am excited for DCPS to play a leadership role in expanding City Year’s presence in the District; our students benefit tremendously from City Year corps members’ skills and commitment.”
Last month President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which will triple the size of AmeriCorps and launch a new Education Corps focused on helping schools and children succeed. The legislation will allow more young people to make a difference, like the City Year corps member who worked with a class of students who had been retained in 3rd grade, some as many as three times and struggled with attendance, behavior and coursework. The corps member, speaking about the impact of her service, said, “I worked with the class on reading fluency and comprehension every day. Midway through the year they all passed their state standardized assessment to move into 4th grade. By the end of the year they all passed 4th grade and will be going into 5th grade.” These students are now back on track.
The In School & On Track launch is part of a two-day National Leadership Summit convened by City Year to bring together stakeholders, government officials, philanthropists, policymakers, business leaders and board members from across the country to discuss the role that national service and City Year can play in addressing the high school dropout crisis. Major commitments to In School & On Track
will be announced during the summit by Deloitte, Cisco and other partners.
Other speakers during the Summit include Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Presidential Advisor and Professor David Gergen; New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; NewsHour Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff; Chair of America’s Promise Alma Powell; Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Engagement Sonal Shah; Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter; CEO of America’s Promise Marguerite Kondracke; CEO of Civic Enterprises John Bridgeland; Research Scientist Dr. Robert Balfanz of the Everyone Graduates Center, Johns Hopkins University and corporate champions, including the event presenting sponsor Comcast, as well as event summit co-sponsors CSX, Ford Foundation and T-Mobile.
To learn more about City Year's In School & On Track initiative, click here
About City Year, Inc.
City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, these young leaders make a difference in the lives of children and transform schools and neighborhoods across the United States and in South Africa. City Year is a proud member of AmeriCorps. Founded in Boston in 1988, City Year has established programs in Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbia, SC; Columbus; Detroit; Little Rock, Los Angeles; Louisiana: Baton Rouge; Louisiana: New Orleans; Miami; New Hampshire; New York; Philadelphia; Rhode Island; San Antonio; San José/Silicon Valley; Seattle/King County; South Africa; and Washington, DC. City Year’s National Leadership Sponsors are ARAMARK, Bank of America, Cisco Foundation, Comcast, CSX, Pepperidge Farm, Pepsi, The Timberland Company and T-Mobile. For more information, visit www.cityyear.org.