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City Year San Antonio’s Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan

The 2021 – 2022 academic year marked our 25th year of partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). We are so grateful for our partnership with SAISD and feel privileged to serve alongside incredible teachers and work with students who are passionate and have endless potential! When we returned to school full-time for the 2021-2022 school year, we were able to see the impact of the pandemic across our nine SAISD partner schools firsthand. Students had the highest declines in academic achievement we have ever seen, behavior incidents were at an all-time high and our schools had limited capacity issues due to the record-high teacher shortages.

Impact of Pandemic on Student Success

The grade levels we serve (3rd – 9th grade) at our partner schools saw a 30% decrease in the percentage of students approaching grade level or above in math, a 13% decrease in the percentage of students approaching grade level or above in English (TAPR Reports), and an 18% increase in students needing instruction for behavioral needs (Devereux Assessments).

Academic decline, record-high behavioral issues, and teacher shortages meant that we had to be more flexible in order to meet the needs of students and school partners. Our 88 AmeriCorps members prioritized restorative justice practices, afterschool tutoring, and spending more time with their focus list students than ever before. In total, our AmeriCorps class gave 27,748 targeted interventions to help students get back on track.

This past year we did not have access to student test scores or grades in real-time which meant that we were not able to use data to drive impact, but at the end of the year, we were able to quantify impact with student outcomes. The majority of our focus list students in English and Math maintained the same level on the STAAR test from the previous year. Below is a snapshot of student progress from the past year:

Impact of Pandemic on City Year’s Programming

At the start of COVID-19, our traditional programming halted. Our corps members left for spring break and much to their dismay, never returned to their partner schools that year. Some AmeriCorps members became tech support for partners, others made attendance calls all day, and some led breakout tutoring sessions on Zoom. This type of support continued for nearly two years, and even now, as the dust settles, we are supporting partner schools in ways we did not pre-pandemic because the needs of students, teachers, and administrators are vastly different. What we did three years ago is not the most effective way to make an impact and support our students.

Shifting from a Reactive to Proactive Approach

We spent the majority of the pandemic in a reactive state. This was what needed to be done at that time, but now that our partner schools are able to clearly state the needs of their students, it is our obligation to strengthen our programming to ensure student success.

The pandemic changed the education landscape. While some changes, like teachers leaving the sector, have created challenges, other changes, will have a lasting positive impact on schools, students, and non-profit partners. One example of this is technology. Schools were forced to adopt technology quickly. This positively impacted the digital divide in America and created greater efficiency. SAISD was a leader in this work. During the pandemic SAISD purchased 30,000 Chromebooks and distributed one to every student, they created a website with lesson plans broken down by grade level and subject, and in partnership with 1Million Project Foundation committed to giving every high school student receive a free hotspot device or a smartphone and 10GB of high-speed LTE data per month for up to four years while they are in high school. These changes will outlive the pandemic, and as a result, all students at SAISD receive a computer to use throughout the year.

Technology also strengthened schools’ ability to track student data in real time. For instance, SAISD is working with City Year to ensure we have access to student data via SchoolZilla to inform our programming. This is a great first step to strengthening our programming, but having access to data like this is not enough, we need to understand the needs of each school, our partner teachers, and students and have systems that set up our site and students for success.

Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan Overview

For these reasons we created our Five-Year Pandemic Recovery Plan which outlines how we will ensure the students that we serve exceed pre-pandemic academic outcomes by the end of the 2026 -2027 academic year. We have defined annual goals for student progress for each of the five years and we will share progress with you (below is a snapshot of the outcomes and outputs we expect over the next five years):

Top Five Priority Initiatives to Ensure Student Success

City Year San Antonio has committed to the following 5 initiatives (in addition to Whole School Whole Child Programming – outputs above). These priorities were determined after an 8-month evaluation of our program and the immediate needs of students, partners, and AmeriCorps members.

1.  Increase AmeriCorps member stipend to ensure a year of service is an option for anyone regardless of demographic. Increase stipend by approximately $11,000 per service year for AmeriCorps members

2020 – 2021 Stipend: $14,289​
2022 – 2023 Stipend: $25,000

2. Creation and implementation of systems that allow for real-time data and analytics to ensure programming is monitored in real-time, that staff understands how to monitor and evaluate data, and that our activities and results are available to partners and stakeholders on a quarterly basis.

 Creation of a database of programmatic materials for tutoring, coaching, school partnership building, and afterschool programming that meets the needs of schools.

4. Strengthen college and career pathways for our AmeriCorps members by partnering with colleges and companies.

5. Playbook for school that includes key priorities (academic and otherwise), all other non-profits present on campus, and recommendations of how CYSA can increase impact. Our site will work to ensure we help wherever possible and make introductions to stakeholders when possible to ensure success.

City Year Circle of Champions

We are seeking strategic five-year investments to support this plan. Those who invest in this plan join our Circle of Champions. Circle members receive annual event sponsorships, a logo or name on our Circle of Champions webpage, additional media mentions, special event invitations, and distinctive name badges. We send regular updates to Champions regarding our progress toward goals. Champions can choose which events they want to sponsor with their pledge and make annual investment decisions. Our Champions are strategic investors committed to lasting student success!

A special thank you to our inaugural members of the Circle of Champions, Gayle and Walter Embrey, Joanne Furtek Cox, Bonnie Reed and Stu Schlossberg, and Marty and Rene Wender for your foresight and commitment to educational equity and creation of workplace pathways in San Antonio!

Set up a meeting with Jim Barshop, Managing Director of Development at City Year

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Interested in our Circle of Champions Join today! (no payment details required).

In addition to strategic investors, we are also looking for strategic partners who can support us by offering expertise to help us strengthen our programming. We are seeking experts in education, finance, social work, real estate, technology, videography, and more to help us get students back on track.

We hope you will join us in these efforts! Please reach out if you are interested in partnering with us to ensure student and AmeriCorps member success!

Students first. Collaboration Always.

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