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City Year receives grant to support network for school improvement

Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support and accelerate City Year’s learning across its national network of schools, beginning with pilot in Milwaukee

BOSTON (September 24, 2018)–City Year, in partnership with the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University’s School of Education, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the foundation’s Networks for School Improvement (NSI) portfolio, which supports groups of middle and high schools working together to identify and solve common problems to enable more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, to graduate from high school and achieve post-secondary success.

The $520,000 grant will support City Year’s work to connect and convene leadership teams from 10 middle schools to develop their capacity for continuous improvement, using early warning indicator data and leveraging the additional capacity provided by City Year AmeriCorps members to help schools close opportunity gaps and improve performance. City Year and the Everyone Graduates Center will pilot this work with Milwaukee Public Schools with an initial cohort of four to six middle schools, supporting their work to develop an evidence-based continuous improvement cycle with the goal of improving on-track performance indicators of eighth grade students, including attendance, behavior and course performance in math and English.

“Through this grant, we have a tremendous opportunity to enhance our partnership work with our national network of school partners and the unique role of our AmeriCorps members to develop a robust process for developing, testing and refining promising solutions to improve student outcomes, particularly for those students who are attending high-need schools,” said City Year President Jim Balfanz. “We’re grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this support.”

“We’re fortunate to build upon the strong partnership between City Year and the Milwaukee Public Schools to launch City Year’s NSI pilot in Milwaukee. This focus on building a community of schools to learn and improve is reflective of our overall vision for the work in this city–ensuring that our schools, in partnership with community partners, are working together across grades and schools to create conditions in which students can be most successful,” said Meralis Hood, executive director of City Year Milwaukee.

“City Year has been an important partner for Milwaukee Public Schools; through our collective impact efforts, they have served as a thought partner in helping us to think differently about how our schools work collaboratively with not just outside organizations, but with each other, to solve complex problems,” said Dr. Keith Posley, interim superintendent of schools for Milwaukee Public Schools. “The NSI pilot is an exciting next step for our work together in support of our students, schools and communities.”

City Year is one of 19 grantees in the first cohort of the foundation’s NSI program. Grantees will serve as intermediaries in bringing together groups of middle or high schools to use a continuous improvement process to significantly increase the number of Black, Latino, and low-income students who earn a high school diploma, enroll in a postsecondary institution, and are on track in their first year to earn a credential with labor-market value.


About City Year

City Year helps students and schools succeed. Fueled by national service, City Year partners with public schools in 29 high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide research-based student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate, ready for college and career success. A 2015 study shows 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 supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

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