Seven high schools produce 50% of DC's dropouts; City Year plans to serve those schools and their feeders


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           

Jerry Wohletz, City Year Washington, DC
(202) 742-7382/jwohletz@cityyear.org

Julie Rosenthal, for United Way NCA
(202) 486-3059/julie@jrcommunications.com



United Way of the National Capital Area Doubles Its Investment in City Year to Support More District Students’ Middle School Success


WASHINGTON (September 17, 2014) – City Year Washington, DC, an education-focused nonprofit that places teams of highly-trained AmeriCorps members in schools to provide extra support to students, is announcing its plan to grow its presence in the District of Columbia by serving the seven high schools that produce 50 percent of DC’s high school dropouts, as well as 26 schools that feed into the these high schools, in order to reduce the overall number of dropouts. United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) announced its support of this strategy and is doubling its investment in City Year Washington, DC to $200,000, which expands its support of City Year Washington, DC from one District middle school with an additional District elementary school, making United Way NCA the largest strategic investor in this plan to date.

Fifty percent of high school dropouts in the District come from only seven high schools, according to data from the 2012-2013 school year provided by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The data mirrors national statistics, which show that a small number of low-performing schools—on average, 12 percent—are producing the majority of the nation’s dropouts. The graduation rate in the District is 64 percent, with individual school graduation rates as low as 38 percent.

“The most impactful and efficient way to meaningfully increase the District’s graduation rate is by focusing on the lowest performing schools which are producing a disproportionate number of dropouts,” said Jeff Franco, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Washington, DC. “City Year AmeriCorps members provide students with a continuum of care from elementary school to high school and give them the extra support they need to stay in school.”

Specifically, City Year plans to focus on Ballou High School, H. D. Woodson High School, Anacostia High School, Cardozo Education Campus, Eastern High School, Columbia Heights Education Campus, Cesar Chavez Public Charter School (Parkside Campus) and 26 middle and elementary schools that feed into them.

For three years, United Way of the National Capital Area has made an investment of $100,000/year to sponsor a team of City Year AmeriCorps members at Kelly Miller Middle School in Ward 7 and the City Year partnership has yielded significant results. Namely, within this timeframe Kelly Miller has gone from being one of the bottom five middle schools in DC Public Schools to being one of the top five.

Specifically, using research from Johns Hopkins University and others, the corps members work with the school to identify students who are at risk of falling off-track and provide them with extra academic, emotional and social support. During the 2012-2013 school year, Kelly Miller students:

Displayed academic improvements that were among the highest in the District.
Achieved a 14.4 percent increase in math proficiency on the DC CAS, the District’s annual standardized assessment, compared to an average of 3.6 percent district-wide.
Showed academic improvement after working with City Year AmeriCorps members, with 93 percent improving their math scores, and 71 percent improving their literacy scores.

This school year, United Way NCA will double its support of City Year by also making a $100,000 investment to sponsor a team of City Year AmeriCorps members for Neval Thomas Elementary School in order to support City Year’s new feeder strategy into H. D. Woodson High School, which accounts for 8 percent of the District’s dropouts. By investing in Neval Thomas Elementary, which feeds into Kelly Miller Middle, United Way NCA’s expanded commitment ensures that students attending both schools will have support from a City Year AmeriCorps member from first through eighth grade as a result of United Way’s investment.

“We are so inspired by the amazing academic progress made at Kelly Miller that we are thrilled to expand our support to the elementary school level and support City Year’s new feeder strategy,” said Rosie Allen Herring, President & CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area. “Education has always been one of our three key pillars. Through our research, we know that by focusing our investments on middle school success, we can collectively impact the overall success of students by helping them to improve their attendance and grades in math and literacy as well as by helping to reduce instances of suspensions.  And, in our role as convener we plan to bring other community resources such as mentors to both schools. Additionally, we hope to expand our focus on middle school success to other counties in which United Way serves.”

This year, City Year Washington, DC’s 158 AmeriCorps members are funded to serve in 13 elementary, middle and high schools in the District, providing one-on-one and classroom support to 5,600 students. Ultimately, City Year hopes to secure funding to sponsor teams in 33 District schools and is actively looking for partners to invest in this feeder strategy. In addition to United Way NCA, current partners include: The Acacia Group, Capital One, Comcast | NBC4, CSX Transportation, DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Horning Family Fund, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman Foundation and Serve DC. Individuals or organizations who wish to learn more can contact Jeff Franco at jfranco@cityyear.org.


About City Year

City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988, that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. In 25 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, our teams of young AmeriCorps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.


About United Way of the National Capital Area

Focusing on the critical areas of education, financial stability and health, United Way of the National Capital Area and its nonprofit members not only provide immediate relief of social problems affecting the community, but also work to alleviate the underlying causes of these issues. Serving the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for nearly 40 years, United Way of the National Capital Area works to inspire acts of caring, deliver hope and improve lives. In total, United Way of the National Capital Area raises approximately $30 million each year to address the needs of the community. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.

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