City Year commits to make a significant and measurable contribution to build the graduation pipeline through the first phase of its Long-Term Impact (LTI) goal.
City Year's Long-Term Impact Goal is that by 2023: 80% of students in schools where City Year serves reach grade ten on track and on time; City Year will reach 50% of off-track students in City Year's existing markets; and City Year will expand to cities that account for two-thirds of the nation's urban dropouts, adding between fourteen and eighteen new sites.
To achieve the Long-Term Impact goal, City Year has developed an organizational readiness and implementation strategy that is divided into two five-year phases. Phase One (2012 - 2017) focuses on making significant investments in organizational capacities and capabilities to annually increase its impact on students and schools while increasing scale within existing and new sites, and building a continuum of care in the highest-need feeder pattern schools.
Focusing on seven strategic priorities and a growth capital campaign, City Year will invest in initiatives and systems that will increase its annual impact while building the capacities, capabilities and resources to support significant growth. City Year will set annual milestones aligned with each priority to assess progress in achieving the LTI. These seven focus areas are: deepen impact in schools; deploying for national and city-wide impact; cultivating systematic change to maximize conditions for impact; building a pipeline of human capital for the education sector; strengthening infrastructure for scale and impact; preparing City Year's workforce to meet the challenge, and; building a resource engine to support the revenue required to deliver on the Long-Term Impact goal.
Since founding in 1988, City Year has scaled from fifty young leaders in Boston to more than 2,500 AmeriCorps members, serving in twenty-three cities and 236 schools and will soon be launching its newest site in Jacksonville, FL. It has affiliate programs in London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa. With its research-based service model - called Whole School, Whole Child - rooted in decades of promising practices, increasing demand from school leaders, and a national footprint capable of catalytic change in hundreds of schools, City Year is poised to make a breakthrough contribution to help build the nations' urban graduation pipeline. Achieving the Long-Term Impact goal will place City Year as an organization at the forefront of the national service and education sectors, positioning the organization to impact students in high-need schools even beyond City Year's direct reach.
City Year's Phase One plan to guide the organization in pursuit of the Long-Term Impact (LTI) goal focuses on seven strategic priorities to invest in systems and initiatives that will increase impact while building capacity, capabilities and resources to support significant growth. These priorities will enable City Year to increase impact, saturate feeder-patterns, and build a sustainable infrastructure in preparation for the second phase of the strategy.
1. Deepen impact on students and schools. Over the next five years, City Year will work to further expand and refine interventions with an emphasis on socio-emotional learning, extended learning time and academic interventions to complement its existing Whole School, Whole Child service model.
2. Strategically deploy for national and city-wide impact. City Year will partner with each site's school district to align the deployment of AmeriCorps members with a feeder pattern strategy to serve 25% of the off-track students by 2017 (and 50% by 2023). Nationally, City Year will work with community leaders to expand to markets that produce a disproportionate number of urban dropouts.
3. Cultivating systematic change to maximize conditions for impact. City Year will inform policy makers on specific elements of legislation that will increase resources and practices that accelerate its approach to transform low-performing schools, and partner with school districts to implement early warning systems and operating conditions as examples of systemic change that support the success of low performing students.
4. Build a pipeline of human capital for the education sector. City Year will support the transition of its AmeriCorps members to teachers and continue to provide support to students by engaging alumni in direct service opportunities.
5. Strengthen infrastructure for scale and impact. City Year will transform its overall operating model to deliver stronger impact through more regionalization, greater centralization and new information technology systems.
6. Prepare City Year's workforce to meet the challenge. City Year will ensure all staff and corps members are equipped with the knowledge, tools and training they need to deliver high-impact educational services.
7. Build a resource engine. Significant organizational growth will require annual increases in revenue to deepen our impact. City Year will take a social enterprise approach to create value for partners while launching its 25th Anniversary Campaign to generate the resources needed for scale.<br /><br />
Today, 2.1 million American students attend low-performing high schools where the odds of graduating high school are less than 60%. Yet, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2018 two-thirds of the nation's jobs will require at least some form of post-secondary education, and estimates indicate the nation will be three million college degrees short. Research from GradNation shows that 25% of all young people, and approximately 40% of African American and Hispanic youth, do not graduate from high school, which means that they will earn approximately $130,000 and $1 million less than high school and college graduates, respectively, over their lifetimes.
Improving the high school graduation rate requires smart investments in our nation's lowest performing schools and a new strategy that moves away from twentieth century 'one-size-fits-all' school design. In an average high-poverty school, as many as 54% of students need support outside their daily lesson, but most schools are designed to provide individualized services to only 15% of students. Low-performing, high-poverty urban schools need an approach that enables them to implement practices proven to meet students' academic and social-emotional needs. Yet low-performing schools suffer from an 'implementation gap' that occurs when school staffs' time and resources are insufficient to meet the intensity of student needs.
National service, and specifically AmeriCorps, is a human capital solution to the implementation gap. School leaders and teachers in these schools need affordable solutions to increase human capital - the people power in the school house - that can deliver individualized supports and evidence-based practices to lead hundreds of students back on track to graduation. Scalable, low-cost, and high-yield solutions are needed to transform the graduation challenge in America and ensure economic prosperity and global competitiveness for the nation.
City Year is a cost-effective, high-impact solution with the potential to help close the implementation gap.