Bushwick, L. I. C. Schools Get More $ to Help More Succeed

To Benefit Minority Young Men’s Pgm.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott and Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs announced the 40 high schools selected as a part of the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), a program to improve college readiness and career outcomes for black and Latino young men.

The schools have demonstrated progress in closing the achievement gap in high school graduation between black and Latino students and their peers. ESI will build on that success, focusing on new approaches to academics, youth development and school culture to promote success in and beyond high school. The schools will receive professional learning and ESI resources, made possible through the five-year initiative and the support of the Open Society Foundations.

Among the 40 schools selected for ESI funding include All City Leadership and Secondary School and Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology, both in Bushwick, the High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology in East Williamsburg and Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City.

As part of the Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, ESI is the first effort in the nation to focus on gaps in college and career readiness-not just high school graduation rates. The Department of Education will apply the practices and approaches learned from the 40 ESI schools to schools throughout the five boroughs.

“Since launching the Young Men’s Initiative, we have prioritized education as an area where we needed to not just close the achievement gap for high school graduation, also prepare black and Latino young men to take the next steps in college or their careers,” said Bloomberg. “The Expanded Success Initiative is a cornerstone of our work to provide black and Latino students with the support and resources they need to excel in high school and beyond.”

“Black and Latino young men comprise approximately one third of our student body, and their success is critical to the future of our schools and city,” said Walcott. “It’s our job to make sure that we employ the best strategies to meet our students’ needs and all of our schools will benefit from the groundbreaking strategies our ESI schools pioneer. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and George Soros-as well as every school that participated in this process-for showing their commitment to the future of our city and our black and Latino youth.”

As part of their application, ESI eligible schools were asked to design new strategies to increase college and career readiness for black and Latino young men. Their proposals focused on three areas: academics, youth development and school culture.

Academic strategies relate to Common Core standards, which set expectations for what students need to know and do in each grade to be on track for college success. Schools could redesign course curricula to in- crease the number of students enrolled in four years or math and science, Advanced Placement and other high-level courses.

The youth development strategies emphasize building student resilience, commitment to life beyond high school, and restorative approaches to school discipline that prevent negative outcomes, like susbut pension. As part of these approaches, teachers and guidance counselors provide help on issues beyond academics and advise students and their families on school requirements, behavioral expectations and standards for college and career readiness.

For school cultural practices, ESI eligible schools explored policies that give voice to black and Latino young men and their families. Schools also explored new ways to increase the opportunities for black and Latino young men to gain real world exposure. Funding from ESI will go toward internship and other outside-the-classroom enrichment.

More than 80 schools were invited to apply for ESI funding for their success in closing high school graduation achievement gaps. The eligible schools will participate in the professional support and other activities provided through the course of the initiative. An outside evaluator will help monitor the schools’ strategies and measure how they have influenced student progress.

The results will be compiled and used in a research and development of strategies to be applied throughout the school system to boost achievement among black and Latino young men.

ESI is a key educational component of the city’s ongoing Young Men’s Initiative, a cross-agency effort aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino men. The Young Men’s Initiative was announced in August 2011 by Mayor Bloomberg and represents the nation’s boldest and most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men.

Support for the Young Men’s Initiative is being provided by the Open Society Foundations and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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