KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- City Year, an education-focused national service organization that helps students and schools succeed, today announced the official launch of a high-impact program to build the academic and social-emotional success of students in five high-need Kansas City schools. In the City Year program, diverse teams of near-peer City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time alongside teachers, tutoring students one-on-one, providing in-class support and organizing school-wide programs to increase academic achievement and student engagement. (For more information, see the City Year Kansas City video.)
The program was launched in partnership with Kansas City Public Schools, the Office of Kansas City Mayor Sly James, the Missouri Community Service Commission/AmeriCorps, the Kauffman Foundation and many other business and community leaders. Last year, the City Year program was piloted with 16 AmeriCorps members in two Kansas City public schools.
After a successful pilot year, Kansas City Mayor Sly James said: "City Year has become a strong partner. The interventions in attendance, behavior and course performance City Year AmeriCorps members provide supplement our current strategies to transform low-performing schools by supporting students, teachers, and administrators in boosting student achievement."
With the pilot success, this school year fifty City Year Kansas City AmeriCorps members are supporting students at four Kansas City Public Schools (Central Middle School, Central Academy of Excellence, Northeast Middle School, and Northeast High School) and one public charter school (the Ewing Marion Kauffman School). Nationally, City Year is dedicated to keeping students in school and on track to graduate high school, and currently operates in more than 300 schools in 28 cities, serving more than 200 thousand students.
"Our city needs more passionate, diverse young people entering the education sector and the young people who serve with City Year fit the bill," said Corey Scholes, Director of Education, Kauffman Foundation. "What's exciting is that City Year AmeriCorps members will not only help the thousands of students they work with stay on track in school, but beyond their year of service the AmeriCorps members themselves will be a pipeline of talent for Kansas City schools and education non-profits."
City Year's "Whole School Whole Child" Model Yields Results
A recent third-party study by Policy Studies Associates found that schools that partner with City Year were up to two-to-three times more likely to improve school-wide proficiency rates in English and math, when compared to students and schools that did not have the benefit of a City Year partnership. In addition, a recent national study by MDRC found that schools that partnered with Diplomas Now, a collaboration of City Year, Communities In Schools and Talent Development Secondary, significantly reduced the number of students at risk of dropping out, according to research-based early warning indicators.
Locally, pilot year results showed significant gains in attendance at Central Middle School. For example, students City Year supported in attendance during the 2015-2016 school year attended school three weeks more than the previous year.
Kansas City Public Schools' Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell said, "It is the right time to bring City Year to Kansas City Public Schools. City Year is an established, scalable national service model that has a proven track record of results across the country. Early results show that City Year Kansas City has the ability to help our schools succeed and improve attendance and student achievement. I am excited City Year is growing its program to serve in more of our schools this year."
Cross-Sector Community and Business Leaders Champion City Year
The launch of City Year in Kansas City has been led by many community and business leaders, including lead investments from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Hall Family Foundation, Baum Family Foundation, Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, Hunt Family Foundation/Kansas City Chiefs, JE Dunn Construction, Sosland Foundation, William T. Kemper Foundation, Brandmeyer Family Foundation, Oppenstein Brothers Foundation, John and Terry Petersen, Polsinelli, and Hallmark.
"City Year is grateful to both our private and public sector partners, including the Kansas City Public Schools, the Office of Kansas City Mayor Sly James, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Missouri Community Service Commission/AmeriCorps, who worked so hard to make City Year Kansas City possible," said Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder, City Year. "It is a privilege for City Year to serve the students and schools of Kansas City."
Mark Donovan, President, Kansas City Chiefs and Board Chair of City Year Kansas City, said: "The business and philanthropic communities in Kansas City recognize that City Year's data-driven, innovative model can play a significant role in improving students' ability to succeed. The Hunt Family Foundation/Chiefs are excited to continue to invest in City Year Kansas City as they transition from a pilot to a full-scale program in 5 schools this year and serve even more students."
Kansas City Natives Fuel City Year Kansas City Team
"It is a great honor to help bring City Year to Kansas City, my hometown, and to work with our diverse AmeriCorps members here to provide excellent service to our public school students day in and day out," said City Year Kansas City AmeriCorps member Andrew Gillen, who is starting his second year of service with City Year.
Audra Clark, City Year Kansas City Executive Director, and also a Kansas City native, said: "City Year Kansas City looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with all of our public and private partners to help the students of Kansas City stay in school and on track to graduate high school ready for college and career."
Gillen and Clark are among many City Year Kansas City AmeriCorps members and staff who are natives of Kansas City and greatly appreciate the chance to serve their hometown communities.
Today's launch event at the Kansas City Public Library's Plaza Branch included the site's Opening Day ceremony, when City Year Kansas City AmeriCorps members recited the City Year and AmeriCorps pledges to publicly kick off their year of service in Kansas City schools. Opening Days are held at all City Year sites at this time of year and are sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, City Year's national Opening Day sponsor. A strategic partner since 2001, Comcast NBCUniversal has provided more than $87 million in cash and in-kind support to City Year. During that time, City Year has grown from nearly 700 City Year AmeriCorps members to a corps of 3,100 diverse young leaders.
About City Year:
City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide high-impact student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A recent third party study showed that schools that partner with City Year were up to two to three times more likely to improve on Math and English assessments. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. Learn more at www.cityyear.org, City Year's Facebook page, and on Twitter.
SOURCE City Year