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Expanded Success Initiative
May 9, 2018
A $24 million New York City program was supposed to prepare more black and Latino men for college. But a new study found it didn’t.
"The aspirations were very high."
July 27, 2016
How can teachers recognize their own racial bias? A city workshop helps answer that question
City officials are encouraging discussions about how well-meaning teachers sometimes inadvertently perpetuate racial bias.
new school on the block
June 1, 2016
What the charter school emerging from New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative will look like
Chalkbeat sat down with South Bronx Community's trio of founders to discuss the new charter high school's unconventional creation.
April 15, 2014
Report offers picture of Expanded Success Initiative’s first year
The city’s effort to put more resources into schools with a strong record of preparing black and Latino boys for college got off to a positive…
October 7, 2013
In study, black and Latino students explain their paths to college
The Expanded Success Initiative Leadership Summit brought together students from the 40 participating schools in June. One student credited a specific teacher who taught English like a college-level course. Some recalled their parents not allowing them to spend time outside to avoid gang activity. Others remembered teachers who calmed them before taking the SAT. Those were some of the responses students gave in new study that worked backwards from male black and Latino students' success, looking at college-bound, academically successful high school juniors and seniors at 40 schools and asking, what worked? To find the answers, a group of University of Pennsylvania researchers in conjunction with the city interviewed more than 400 high school students and recent graduates who had at least a 3.0 grade point average, were involved in extracurricular activities, and planned to attend college (or were already attending). The students attended the 40 high schools selected last year to be a part of the Expanded Success Initiative, each with at least 60 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. The results are a fascinating look at the students' lives. You can read the whole study here, but we picked out some highlights:
June 7, 2013
To cap first year, Expanded Success Initiative convenes teens
At the year-end summit today of a city program to boost achievement among male students of color, inspirational speakers were only the opening act.
June 21, 2012
Schools picked to pioneer college prep program for young men
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott speaks at And thean Expanded Success Initiative announcement. And then there were 40. Earlier this year the Department of Education named 81 schools that could be eligible to lead one of the most significant educational programs in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Young Men's Initiative. Last month, 57 schools submitted proposals for the pot of funds attached to the program, called the Expanded Success Initiative. The funds would go toward programs to improve the college readiness rates of male students. The 40 schools that made the cut were named today. They will receive $250,000 each to pioneer new college-readiness strategies. Monitors will evaluate the progress the schools make over the course of the coming year and provide feedback for what may eventually become citywide policies. The schools were selected because they have already made strides serving youth of color, but they are still struggling to meet the city's new college readiness metrics, officials said. To be eligible, schools were required to have a four-year graduation rate above 65 percent, to have received an A or B on their most recent progress reports, and to have student bodies comprised of at least 35 percent are black or Latino males and 60 percent are qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. "You have done well in your high school graduation rate, but now we've redefined the message, along with the state," Chancellor Dennis Walcott told an audience of school leaders and students at an event today welcoming schools to the initiative. "It's no longer just about high school graduation, it's about college and career readiness, making sure all of our students can attain that high goal."
May 10, 2012
Polakow-Suransky tries out the teaching he's been pushing for
AP English students at Bronx Academy of Letters debate different types of affirmative action as top Department of Education official Shael Polakow-Suransky looks on. When the 18 seniors in Amy Matthusen's Advanced Placement English class entered Room 104 at Bronx Academy of Letters on Wednesday, they were surprised to see an unfamiliar figure at the front of the classroom. Instead of their teacher, they found Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Department of Education's second in command, who signed up to guest-teach in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Polakow-Suransky is leading the department's efforts to make instruction more challenging but hadn't taught a class of students since working as a principal in 2004. "When I thought about a good way to express my appreciation, I thought doing some teaching and getting a feel for what our teachers are working on day to day would be a powerful way to do that," he said. Matthusen's students had analyzed three essays about affirmative action, each arguing that a different kind of student should get an edge in university admissions. One argued for race-based affirmative action; another pushed for poor students to get a boost; and the third said admissions preferences could bring more male students to college campuses, where they are under-represented. Polakow-Suransky didn’t want to pull the class away from its trajectory. So after speaking with Matthusen twice, he prepared an activity that used all of the same materials. His twist: Students would argue the positions contained in the essays before a "Board of Regents," a group of students responsible for setting admissions policies for a hypothetical university.
May 4, 2012
Principals: Single-gender spaces can boost college readiness
When Principal Jonathan Foy wanted to improve college readiness for Eagle Academy's 500 male students, he added more advanced classes and staffed a college counseling office. Atleast two Brooklyn schools have done the same, and more, in a similar quest to boost achievement: At the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, boys can take field trips and converse with their male teachers after school through the "Young Men's Association." And one of the educational capstones of Bedford Academy's curriclum is Perspectives in Leadership, an elective taught by the principal to help male students to think about their roles in the world. The motivation behind each of these programs is similar, the high schools' principals say. It's the knowledge that only a small fraction of the city's black and Latino youth, particularly young men, are graduating from high school on time and ready for college. The Brooklyn high schools are among the 80-some schools that city officials and prominent education researchers say are already making strides towards solving the decades-old problem which has received new attention with the advent of the new college readiness progress metric and the mayor's Young Men's Initiative. Last week all three of them were awarded $10,000 by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, a national nonprofit, for their progress addressing the educational needs of young men of color. And two of them are among the 81 schools eligible to apply for the city's Expanded Success Initiative. The principals told GothamSchools they think one key to tackling this problem is creating single-gender spaces where young men are asked to think critically about their actions and plan for their futures.
April 24, 2012
Walcott touts Young Men's Initiative as DOE inches forward
Chancellor Walcott speaks at the Mayor's Young Mens Initiative Summit in Harlem. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott wanted attendees at the Mayor's Young Men's Initiative Summit to know that even programs with the best intentions can be tricky to execute. This lesson, he said, would be particularly important for city officials as they implement a sweeping new initiative to address the educational and economic disparities between male students of color and their peers. Walcott stopped by the day-long summit to represent the Department of Education, which is leading up the Expanded Success Initiative, one of several prongs of the Bloomberg administration's Young Men's Initiative. At a cost of $24 million, the project will bring researchers into schools that are succeeding with male students of color. But nearly nine months after it was announced, the department still hasn't picked which schools to show off. The city has assembled a shortlist of 81 eligible schools and will by the end of May pick 40 who want to participate — and receive a $250,000 bonus. To be eligible, a school must have a four-year graduation rate above 65 percent, an A or B on its most recent progress report, and a student body where at least 35 percent are black or Latino males and 60 percent are qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. It must also promise to implement even more aggressive strategies to help black and Latino male students. When he announced the Young Men's Initiative in August, Mayor Bloomberg promised swift changes to schools serving the highest proportions of black and Latino students. Already, the department has begun giving high schools extra credit when those students make progress. Schools have started to benefit from a literacy program and a middle school mentoring initiative, neither of which the department is administering. But the Expanded Success Initiative has been slow to start.
August 4, 2011
DOE dealt large portion of funds to narrow achievement gap
One of the largest pots of money in the city's new initiative to aid black and Latino young men is going to the Department of Education. Of the initiative's $127 million price tag, $24 million will be used to study and develop the best practices of city high schools that have best prepared male minority students for college and work. Billionaire philanthropist George Soros will foot the bill for the three-year program, called the Expanded Success Initiative. The funding will allow the Department of Education to hire a team of research consultants to study 40 high schools with a track record of bridging the achievement gap for black and Latino male students. Josh Thomases, the DOE's deputy chief academic officer charged with coordinating the program, said the city had not yet identified the schools that would be studied. “We’re looking for schools with a high concentration of black and Latino boys, with high poverty and Title I funding, but with an evidence of success,” Thomases said. “We’re agnostic to what kind of school it is,” he added. “We’re looking at the schools that have had success graduating black and Latino boys at a high school level and expanding it to other schools." Thomases, citing a study published by Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) last year, said that he would look particularly close at small high schools in New York City, which have shown higher rates of graduation and credit accumulation.
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