2012 AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative Recipients

Learn more about the 2012 AT&T Aspire grants for education recipients.

In March 2012, we launched the AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative Request for Proposal (RFP), which focused on high school success and college and career readiness programs. AT&T was most interested in funding local programs that have strong, evidence based practices grounded in the What Works Clearinghouse Dropout Prevention: A Practice Guide and data driven outcomes demonstrated to improve high school graduation rates. The 2012 Local Impact RFP also featured a stronger emphasis on underserved populations.

The RFP closed at the end of April 2012 and the selection process was highly competitive. The schools, school districts and non-profit organizations that received the funding are making a difference in their communities by keeping kids in high school and preparing them for college, career and life success, by:

  • Serving high school students at-risk of dropping out of high school
  • Using data to demonstrate the effectiveness of dropout interventions
  • Embracing social innovation and community collaboration to extend the impact of their work

The 47 recipients of the Aspire Local Impact funding are:

  • ACCESS (Dearborn, MI)
  • Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
  • Boston Public Schools (Boston, MA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Farmington (Farmington, NM)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay (Green Bay, WI)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady (Schenectady, NY)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
  • Center for Companies that Care (Chicago, IL)
  • City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock (Little Rock, AR)
  • College Success Foundation (Issaquah, WA)
  • Common Ground High Schools (New Haven, CT)
  • Communities in Schools of Greater New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
  • Communities in Schools of Houston (Houston, TX)
  • Communities in Schools of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Communities in Schools of Marietta/Cobb County (Marietta, GA)
  • Communities in Schools of Nevada (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Communities in Schools of Richmond (Richmond, VA)
  • Communities in Schools of Wilmington (Wilmington, DE)
  • Donnelly College (Kansas City, KS)
  • Firewall Ministries, Inc. (Cooper City, FL)
  • Floyd County Board of Education (Prestonsburg, KY)
  • Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce (Bloomington, IN)
  • Guilford County Schools (Greensboro, NC)
  • Highline School District No. 401 (Seattle, WA)
  • Jewish Renaissance Foundation (Perth Amboy, NY)
  • JUMA Ventures (San Francisco, CA)
  • KIPP Delta Public Schools (Helena-West Helena, AR)
  • LSU Foundation (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Museum of Science (Miami, FL)
  • New Learning Resources District (Jackson, MS)
  • Pasadena Education Foundation (Pasadena, CA)
  • Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio, Inc. (Punta Santiago, PR)
  • Project GRAD Houston (Houston, TX)
  • Proyecto Pastoral (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Roseland Charter School (Santa Rosa, CA)
  • Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (Queens, NY)
  • Sumter School District (Sumter, SC)
  • Teach for America – Oklahoma (Tulsa, OK)
  • Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania - Netter Center for Community Partnerships (Philadelphia, PA)
  • United Way of North Central Florida (Gainesville, FL)
  • University of Baltimore Foundation (Baltimore, MD)
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford (Hartford, CT)
  • Urban League of Greater Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)
  • Urban Prep Academies (Chicago, IL)
  • Vallejo Unified School District (Vallejo, CA)
  • YMCA of Greater New York (New York, NY)
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation (Chattanooga, TN)








Auburn University

Auburn University's Building Individual Capacity for Success (BICS) program is based on the theory that at-risk students disengaged or disengaging from their school communities are at risk of dropping out of high school. BICS was implemented to address this problem by incorporating the following program components: professional development, mentoring and advocacy, leadership development, service learning, individualized goal setting and action research to address goals/monitoring of progress, and college/career readiness options and enrichment.

AT&T Funding will support 200 at-risk students at four high schools. These funds will assist Auburn University in reaching their overarching program goals of more than 75% of BICS students progressing to the next grade level and remaining in school each year of the programming, at least 60% of BICS students developing more positive, trusting relationships with their peers and adults, a 50% decrease in student behavioral and disciplinary referrals for new students, and at least a 10% increase in daily attendance rates.

AT&T has funded this program in the past. Program revisions have been made based on lessons learned and include a) the addition of larger student groups at four high schools (an increase of 30 to 50 per school), b) the requirement to have at least 2 local advisors, c) offering professional development to core groups of 8-10 teachers per school along with the advisors to increase the capacity of schools to address the needs of at-risk youth, d) a stronger emphasis on college/career readiness, e) elimination of the global awareness focus which has been replaced by additional awareness of cultural and academic enrichment possibilities within the region. and f) having graduate students and project co-directors meet with students, advisors and teachers regularly in their schools to supplement locally held programming for students.


Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay

While Green Bay Area Public School District's overall graduation rate was 75% in 2011, the rate for students of color was significantly lower. A similar disparity exists between low-income students (68%) and students who are not economically disadvantaged (89%). As a response to this academic achievement gap, the BE GREAT: Graduate program was created in 2010. The program aims for early identification of youth at risk of dropping out of school. These students are then paired with a Graduation Coach that deploys targeted interventions to re-engage them in the educational process. The Coach meets individually with assigned mentees each week and advocates on their behalf. Working with the student, parents, teachers and other social service agencies, the coach develops an individualized plan designed to keep the student in school and on track to graduate.

In addition to paying for Graduation Coach salaries, AT&T funding will also be used to fund college preparation activities. Students can participate in after school and summer programming that connects their high school experience with career and post-secondary educational goals. To increase college awareness and access, students can also participate in College 101 to research college degree programs, learn about financial aid options and participate in campus tours.

In 2010, the BGCGB was selected as one of five Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide to participate in an evaluation of the BE GREAT: Graduate program being conducted by Johns Hopkins University. The BGCGB has also been nationally recognized with programming excellence awards by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the last eight consecutive years.


City Year

City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization that partners with public schools and teachers to help keep students in school and on track to succeed. In 24 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, this innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members provide individual support to students who need extra care and attention, focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs.

City Year will use AT&T Aspire funding for its Whole School Whole Child initiative in Little Rock, Arkansas. Whole School Whole Child uses evidence-based strategies to deliver one-on-one and group interventions to struggling students to help them reach the 10th grade on-track and on-time, which research indicates makes these students four times more likely to graduate.

AT&T Aspire funding will allow City Year to expand its Whole School Whole Child program to J.A. Fair High School, considered one of Arkansas's lowest performing high schools because less than 60% of its students progress to 12th grade to graduate on-time. In addition to a focused support on off-track students, City Year will also work with all 436 9th graders as a part of Freshman Academy, helping them make the challenging transition from middle to high school. With AT&T's support of City Year, we can effectively leverage the strengths of our corps members to improve student attendance, behavior and coursework so J.A. Fair students will stay in school, succeed and excel.


KIPP Delta Public School

KIPP Delta Public School

Helena and Blytheville, AR
Background Information

Located in Helena and Blytheville, AR, KIPP Delta Public School students come from some of the highest-poverty counties in the country, which also, not surprisingly, have among the lowest rates of high school and college completion. Ninety-four percent of KIPP Delta's students qualify for free/reduced lunch, and over 95% are African-American. Students from these backgrounds are traditionally under-served in their schools and far under-represented in colleges and universities. Nationally, only 8% of students from these backgrounds graduate from college, while students from more advantaged backgrounds graduate from college at ten times that rate.

By opening schools in underserved areas with high drop-out and non-completion rates, KIPP Delta Public Schools is uniquely positioned to proactively work to address this need in the communities they serve. Working hand in hand with teachers, school leaders and executive leadership to help ensure these students are progressing academically and climbing the mountain to and through college, is our KIPP Delta KIPP through College counselor.

AT&T Aspire funding will support KIPP Delta's KIPP through College program which serves all enrolled students and instills the academic, professional and character skills needed for KIPP students to be successful in high school, college and the competitive world beyond. The program provides academic support services, college placement and financial counseling to students. AT&T Aspire funding will allow the current program to expand to include a cooperative learning and work study program designed specifically for students who are most at risk of not completing high school and climbing the ladder to and through college. AT&T Aspire Funding will allow KIPP Delta to fulfill their promise to ensure each and every student keeps climbing.


Vallejo Unified School District

Serving over 15,000 Bay Area students, the Vallejo Unified School District is committed to providing its students with access to high quality education, opportunity for higher learning, and support for success in school and beyond. With its mission of "Equity, Excellence and Educational Effectiveness" in mind, the school district places an emphasis on college and career readiness and is committed to stemming the high school dropout crisis.

Despite the City of Vallejo's financial struggles, the school district has increased student class attendance rates, grades, and overall graduation rates since launching its "Wall-to-Wall" academies initiative in 2010.

The Vallejo City Unified School District will use AT&T's contribution to expand the program's implementation of Wall-to-Wall academies that provide specialized learning in different focus areas to every high school student in the district. As part of the regular curriculum, these academies are designed to reduce the dropout rates, narrow the achievement gap, and increase class attendance. The academies will give the students the tools they need to succeed, helping pave the way for their college educations and future careers.


Roseland Charter School

Roseland Charter School is comprised of a high school (Roseland University Prep) and two middle schools (Roseland Accelerated Middle School and Roseland Collegiate Prep). The mission of Roseland Charter School is to create a positive learning environment where all students are encouraged and assisted to prepare themselves for high school graduation, college completion and ultimately leadership positions within the community. The Charter School was founded in 2001 by parents and School District educators, in collaboration with a myriad of community partners. The School was born out of a community vision of "raising the bar" to provide an academically challenging small-school environment to motivated students who are at risk of school failure.

The Aspire contribution from AT&T will support Roseland Charter School's Destination College program by providing its college-bound students with advanced learning tools and resources to support their high academic coursework.

Roseland Charter School will expand their current 9th grade AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program into the 8th, 9th and 10th grades as well as initiate innovative teaching strategies in math and science classrooms to improve 8th grade transition to high school, Exit Exam (CAHSEE) passage rates, graduation rates for high school, college acceptance rates, students placing into college level mathematics, the number of students pursuing a degree in STEM fields and college graduation rates. Components of Destination College include academic support and enrichment, data systems and adult mentors, as well as the use of technology and project-based learning.


Juma Ventures

Based in San Francisco, Juma Venture's mission is to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that young people complete a four-year college degree. In 1993, Juma became the first nonprofit organization to own and operate a commercial franchise-a single Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream franchise in San Francisco that provided a handful of job opportunities to homeless youth. Since then, Juma has grown into a comprehensive youth development program helping more than 1,300 low-income students annually to realize their goals for success in high school and higher education.

JUMA will use AT&T Aspire funding to support their Pathways program, which is designed to accelerate the high school graduation rates for at-risk, low-income 9th grade students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). A recent study by SFUSD revealed that only 49 percent of (SFUSD) 9th grade students graduate high school. Of those graduates, 70 percent enroll in postsecondary education. The statistics are even more staggering for African American and Latino graduates, with only 28 percent and 34 percent respectively eligible for college enrollment in the University of California and California State University systems.

AT&T Aspire funding will enable Juma's Pathways Program to expand to Mission High School, where the need is great - Mission High School historically ranks highest in drop-out rate in SFUSD. Juma's Pathway program is an innovative youth development program that strives to ensure young people accomplish their goals of high school success, college success, and transitioning to the workplace. The program encompasses the following key components for postsecondary success - workforce development, financial aid and academic support.


Pasadena Educational Foundation

Founded in 1971, Pasadena Educational Foundation is one of the oldest public school educational foundations in California. PEF's mission is to support, enhance, and supplement the programs, initiatives, and priorities of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). Governed by a board representing various segments of the community-business, education, parents, and community members from Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre—PEF has steadily grown over the years, raising over $6 million annually for the past five years.

College & Career Pathways in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) are increasing graduation rates and preparing students to leave the K-12 system both college and career ready. The Pasadena Educational Foundation will use the contribution from AT&T Aspire to support College and Career Pathways, high school programs that prepare students for successful careers and higher learning opportunities in specialized fields.

One pathway is the App Academy, which features courses and projects in mobile applications, web applications, and game development. The App Academy teaches students exceptional problem-solving techniques, the ability to properly manage their time in a rigorous educational program, collaborate with their peers, and enable them to have the self-belief to succeed in future academic and professional aspirations in any field.


Proyecto Pastoral

Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission was founded in 1986 by community residents and the California Province of Jesuits. It has grown into a highly effective community - building organization, whose mission is to provide training, education and social services with the Pico-Aliso/Boyle Heights district of East Los Angeles. Proyecto Pastoral coordinates five community based programs: IMPACTO, Comunidad en Movimiento, Proyecto Pastoral Early Childhood Education Centers, Guadalupe Homeless Project and Proyecto Pastoral's Thrift Store. Proyecto Pastoral serves over 2,500 children, youth and families annually through its five programs.

Proyecto Pastoral is committed to involving local community members in the planning, design and implementation of its programs. One third of the Proyecto Pastoral Board of Directors is comprised by local community residents responding to community identified needs enabling Proyecto Pastoral to make a significant impact in the lives of local families.

Funding from AT&T Aspire will bring Proyecto Pastoral closer to their goal of 85 percent graduation rates at Mendez Learning Center, serving Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood, by 2017.   AT&T’s contribution will support the implementation of the Mendez Success Plan, which seeks to increase graduation rates by 30 percent over the next two years.

While the Mendez Success Plan includes a broad combination of strategies such as multiple pathway programs, a training institute for youth workers in our community, and college readiness and transition systems, funding from AT&T will support the implementation of three key components of the plan: the establishment of early warning and intervention systems, a system of school and community team-based supports, and Linked Learning opportunities for youth.


Urban League of Greater Hartford

For more than 18 years the Urban League of Greater Hartford's Youth Achievement Program has successfully assisted hundreds of at-risk high school youth in the Greater Hartford, Connecticut region to remain in school, be promoted to the next grade, graduate on time, and develop social skills to avoid suspension and expulsion.

The AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative will enable us to provide dropout prevention services, over a two-year period, to an additional cohort of 35 Hartford Public High School (HPHS) 9th and 10th grade students who are at risk of dropping out of school, to increase the chances that they will earn high school diplomas and be prepared for college and careers.

The program will use the Check and Connect model, an evidence-based educational intervention proven to increase the likelihood that youth will stay in school and graduate on time. The program will assess participants' school engagement and will design individualized support and intervention plans to increase the likelihood that participants will accumulate credits toward graduation, especially in core subjects, be promoted to the next grade and reduce problem behaviors.


Communities in Schools of Jacksonville

Communities in Schools of Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Florida
Background Information

Communities In Schools is the leading dropout prevention organization in the nation, surrounding at-risk students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Founded in 1989, Communities In Schools of Jacksonville is the largest Florida affiliate and reaches more than 7,500 students in 40 Duval County Schools.

AT&T Aspire funding will support the placement of Site Coordinators in two of Duval County's persistently low-achieving high schools to serve ninth grade students who are at-risk of not graduating. Jacksonville has a high dropout rate of 2.3 percent, higher than the statewide dropout rate of 1.9 percent. The case management division will provide students with a caring adult who will take part in individual and group sessions to assess and respond to student's individual academic and social challenges. Site Coordinators will also establish partnerships with the community, parents and volunteer organizations to integrate services and support into schools to meet student needs. Last year, 86 percent of students in the case management program were promoted on time.

AT&T Aspire will also fund the implementation of a new Summer Bridge/STEM program for rising ninth graders during the summer of 2013 at the two high schools. The purpose of the two week program will be to provide academic support and enrichment with an emphasis on introducing students to high school science, technology, engineering and math, while also smoothing the transition into high school. Last year, only 32 percent of 11th graders at Nathan B. Forrest High School and 35 percent at Terry Parker High School passed the science portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), showing a high need for science based studies at the high school level.


United Way of North Central Florida

Based in Gainesville, FL, the United Way of North Central Florida has served Alachua and the five surrounding counties since 1957, with a mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. The economic seat of the region is Gainesville, FL, which is home to both the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. Gainesville is a unique community, in that it has a bi-model economic segmentation. While it has a highly educated and well-paid professional segment, it also encompasses a staggering segment of poverty, which is nearly twice the state average. Almost 30% of the children and youth in Alachua County live in families facing significant poverty-rooted issues. Of the general population of school children, 50% are eligible for free and reduced school meals. Of those living in poverty, African-Americans are disproportionately represented.

Alachua County's high school graduation rate has risen significantly in recent years, from about 68% in 2007 to about 78% in 2011. However, graduation and dropout rates among students from families in poverty continue to be lower than the average, and this gap has the potential to grow as the state of Florida introduces rigorous new graduation standards. Students from poverty face significant family and cultural barriers to learning that include such practical issues as a lack of adequate food, shelter, transportation and even clothing.

The United Way of North Central Florida has a strong partnership with the Alachua County Public Schools and will use its AT&T Aspire funding to deepen that relationship by funding the Check and Connect program. This evidence-based program places drop-out prevention specialists within the three high schools with the greatest population of youth at risk of dropping out. Each of the AT&T Aspire Check and Connect specialists will connect as mentors and counselors with 40 to 50 students and provide social service referral and family strengthening assistance to the families of enrolled students.


Miami Museum of Science

The Aspire award will be used to support the enhancement of the Museum's exemplary college readiness program for students in grades 9-12. Nationally recognized as a highly effective model for increasing the number of underrepresented students interested in and prepared to pursue STEM fields ASPIRE will serve 63 highly motivated, low-income, first-generation college-bound students from five of the lowest performing high schools in MDCPS, the fourth largest school district in the nation.

Key elements include ongoing college counseling services, a week-long college tour for 9th graders, entrance exam preparation, application assistance and sustained encouragement and support. The Museum works closely with Miami Dade Public Schools to track student progress and provides additional support where needed to keep students on track for college. This unique partnership between a science center, and a large urban district demonstrates what can be achieved through collective impact and a focused effort to assist at-risk youth to stay in school and pursue postsecondary study.

The award provided staff support for a full time Aspire counselor who will oversee a range of counseling services, expand mentoring support through the use of near-peer (college level students) tutors, plan and coordinate the college tour, building early awareness and self efficacy among students that college is in their future. In addition to providing ongoing assistance to navigate the college application process, the Aspire counselor will also work closely with families as advocates to keep students on the pathway to graduate from high school, ready for college and career. The Aspire counselor will identify scholarships and assist parents in the submission of the financial aid student application as well as identify and support students in the submission of scholarship requests.


Firewall Centers

It was the death of a 13 year old girl who overdosed on drugs during after school hours that spurred the creation of Firewall Centers. That was in 2003. Today, there are four sites in Broward County, Florida where the organization carries out its mission to instill character, values, promote academic success and establish long-term relationships with middle and high school students. Firewall Centers will use AT&T Aspire funding to support an expansion of its T.H.I.N.K. Leadership program, which is designed to provide youth who are at-risk for academic failure with the resources and guidance needed to improve their high school success and increase their readiness for college and career. Currently, 80 percent of students that attend the program live in single-parent households and over 80 percent receive free or reduced lunch. Statistically, these indicators place them at a higher risk of dropping out of high school and making other negative life choices. Most of these students do not receive academic, goal-setting or career-planning assistance at home because many of their parents have never graduated from high school or are underemployed themselves.

The key strategy of the T.H.I.N.K. Leadership program is to provide youth with multiple adult advocates that working together, establish the consistency, structure and relationship necessary to propel these students towards success.

The Academic Director of Firewall Centers oversees the program and works cooperatively and closely with teachers, counselors and parents/guardians to ensure that youth receive the academic assistance and guidance they need to graduate and move towards a successful future. Her work includes attending parent/teacher conferences, emailing teachers and speaking with school counselors and social workers to advocate on behalf of the students.

Firewall's Student Advisor creates personalized success plans that help all students assess their skills and interests as well as develop realistic academic and career goals. These plans include a complete student profile that allows the advisor to individualize each student's future track for high school graduation and fully prepare them for entrance into college or vocational school. The advisor also assists students in optimizing their school schedule, applying for college, financial aid and scholarships.

Each student is also assigned a Firewall mentor that provides daily homework help and one-on-one tutoring. A student-to-mentor ratio of approximately 10:1 is maintained thus allowing students to receive the individual attention they need to succeed. Firewall Mentors monitor student progress each day through Broward County's grade-tracking system, providing students


Communities In Schools of Marietta/Cobb County

Communities In Schools is the nation's largest dropout prevention organization. The mission of Communities In Schools is to champion the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school and prepare for life. By bringing caring adults into the schools to address children's unmet needs, CIS provides the link between educators and the community. The result: teachers are free to teach, and students - many in jeopardy of dropping out - have the opportunity to focus on learning.

Communities In Schools of Marietta Cobb County serves a large and diverse student population that includes Marietta City Schools with over 8000 students and the Cobb County School District with over 100,000 students.

The AT&T Aspire contribution will provide a site coordinator in the 9th grade at both Marietta and Osborne High Schools. The site coordinators will work with 9th graders and their families to help remove the non-academic barriers to the student's success in school.


Center for Companies that Care

AIM High, a program of Center for Companies That Care, is a long-term structured program dedicated to dramatically improving college graduation rates among at-risk, urban youth by matching teams of employees with minority high school students to ensure they graduate from college prepared for careers. Students begin AIM High in 9th grade and are supported by the program until they complete a four-year college degree. From 2012 to 2014, AIM High will work with 250 students from high school campuses on Chicago's South and West Sides, their parents, Chicago area businesses, and colleges across the nation. With funds from AT&T Aspire, AIM High will enroll a larger 9th grade cohort this year and add 100 low-income students.

AIM High's holistic, 8 Pillar Curriculum addresses known potholes on the road to college and incorporates personalized support and education to fill gaps left by overburdened schools and families. Students participate in: long-term relationships with a mentor team, monthly college and career-focused Touchpoint Large Group events, a weekly Leadership Institute, internships, college visits, an incentive program, the Early Warning Indicator process, and Alumni programming.


Urban Prep Academies

The Urban Prep Fellows Program is a one-year service opportunity for recent college graduates interested in working with urban youth at a network of all-boys, charter public high schools in the city of Chicago.

Fellows are recent graduates who work with students in small groups called "Prides", named after the Urban Prep mascot, the Lion. The Fellows' primary goal is to build bonds with their Pride members that create opportunities for intellectual, social, and personal growth. These relationships are essential in meeting each student's individual needs for academic and social-emotional development.

The program's innovative instructional approach has Fellows leading six 'Tutorials' - small 45-minute lessons with approximately four students - each day. This unique approach helps to radically improve the amount of personal attention that students receive, which in turn rapidly increases student engagement and success in school.

Fellows build deep relationships with students by supplementing their tutorials with after school tutoring, chatting in the hallways and lunchroom, and individual conferences about everything from music and movies to behavior and grades. Fellows also work to weave a network of support for the student through conversations with parents, coaches, other mentors, and teachers who can utilize their own relationships with students to promote their maturation and academic performance.

Urban Prep's teachers and staff report that one of the most difficult aspects of their jobs is to understand the issues and challenges that face each of their students. Urban Prep Fellows close this crucial gap by taking a 360° view of each student's life, circumstances, and interests. Fellows then share this knowledge to coordinate opportunities, programs and enrichment activities between the student, his teachers, the school community, and outside resources.


Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Franklin Initiative

Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Franklin Initiative

Bloomington, Indiana
Background Information

A program of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber's Franklin Initiative provides career awareness and workforce development services for youth in Bloomington in Monroe County, Indiana. The Franklin Initiative works with teachers and schools to offer real-world experiences that get young people excited about future education and careers by helping them realize the relevance and importance of their education to life and careers after graduation. Dropout prevention remains a key focus of the Franklin Initiative programming.

The Franklin Initiative's Graduation Coach Initiative, is a unique partnership with both local school districts that began in 2007 as a way of addressing rising dropout rates. Graduation Coaches are Chamber employees who work in-school in partnership with school staff helping high school students stay in school, graduate, and get a good job, or pursue continuing education. Graduation Coaches at Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, IN and Edgewood High School in Ellettsville, IN work intensively with a caseload of 50-60 students each.

Students involved in the program have been identified as at greatest risk for dropping out as indicated by low GPA's, low credit attainment, or poor attendance. Graduation Coaches monitor grades and attendance, build supportive relationships, provide one-on-one counseling, and connect with parents. Coaches help remove barriers to graduation and help students receive their diploma, or GED. The program uses Check & Connect®, an acclaimed research-based model for keeping kids in school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse.


Urban League of Greater Kansas City

Organized in 1919, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City is a community based not-for-profit organization governed by a volunteer interracial Board of Directors. The mission of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City is to achieve equality and promote socio-economic opportunity to improve the quality of life of African Americans and others. With a vision to be recognized as the premier race relations organization that sets the agenda to drive change in the areas of education, personal, professional and economic development, the Urban League's empowerment agenda focuses on four program areas: education; employment; race relations; and leadership development.

The Urban League will use AT&T Aspire funding to help support Project STEM: Future Leaders Action Collaborative. This effort combines academic skill building, leadership development, positive support networks, and college/career readiness training with STEM innovation to ensure that at-risk students in the Hickman Mills School District achieve success in high school and subsequently attend college or successfully move into the workforce.

Students will work closely with the Urban League staff to develop Individual Success Plans that outline academic, college and career goals. They will be engaged in individual and small group tutoring sessions designed to achieve content mastery and academic excellence in the fields of science, math, engineering, technology, reading, and language arts.

Other key program components include strong parental engagement, preparation for ACT testing/college entrance exams, annual Infinite Scholars Scholarship Fair, college tours, and an annual Project STEM Enrichment Camp, during which student teams will be tasked with identifying learning objectives, developing strategies, and problem solving.


Communities In Schools of Greater New Orleans

Communities In Schools' mission is pretty simple - to surround students with a community of support, and empower them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through a school-based coordinator, Communities In Schools connects students and their families to critical community resources, tailored to individual needs.

By providing students with a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, a safe place to learn and grow, a healthy start and future, a marketable skill to use upon graduation, and a chance to give back to peers and the community, Communities In Schools has become the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization and the only one proven to both decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates. Every year 1.2 million students drop out of school, losing their path to a better future. By empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life, CIS is building a stronger America, where every person is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the public education system in New Orleans has been transformed. Educational leaders are choosing CIS to be a critical component of their reform strategies because of the pragmatic approach CIS uses to "figure out" what is going on in the life of a student that is causing a barrier to school success, and then finding the community resources to augment the schools' services so that the student will be successful. In 2011-2012, CIS worked intensively with more than 850 students in seven schools in grades PreK-12th; more than 80% promoted or graduated, and less than 2% dropped out. Those statistics far exceed the local and national averages.

AT&T Aspire funding will enable Communities In School's program to expand to three high schools operating by Collegiate Academies, a charter school operator already being recognized for success in accelerating the educational achievement of students who often begin high school with educational and financial challenges. The upcoming school year will mean working one-on-one with CIS staff focused on helping these students complete school and prep for their futures.


Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited (LSYOU)

Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited (LSYOU)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Background Information

The Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited (LSYOU) program is a case-managed dropout prevention program for at-risk students that provides them with long-term, relationship-based strategies designed to foster academic achievement and workforce readiness.

The program consists of an initial five-week summer-in residence component before the students enter 9th grade, followed by support throughout each high-school year.

All students who enter the program are identified as potential dropouts based on poverty-level family income plus at least two of the following criteria: offender; pregnant or parenting; over-age for grade level; failing two or more classes; member of a single-parent family; and reading or math scores at least two years below grade level.

The Aspire funding will expand the New Orleans program to Baton Rouge and eight surrounding parishes.


Floyd County Schools

Floyd County Schools has a high school retention program guided by instructional staff, school level and district administrators, and research based strategies. The "It's All About Success" initiative is one of the next steps in the district's evolving process to meet the needs of students and improve academic performance, school climate and student retention.

"It's All About Success" will employ three strategies to provide targeted interventions. The initiative will provide support and enrichment designed to improve academic performance by:

1) Providing opportunities during the summer break for all incoming freshmen students to engage in targeted math, science, and reading enrichment programs, as well as a remediation Jump-Start Orientation Program;

2) Providing students small group support in test-taking and study skills through an advisor/advisee program in each high school, and engaging all high school freshmen in the WhyTry curriculum over the course of the school year;

3) Expanding opportunities for students to engage in additional and flexible credit recovery opportunities, including adding evening courses, transportation assistance and the pilot of one or more high school evening credit recovery classes.

In this once thriving Appalachian county, over 43% of children live in poverty, and 75% of enrolled students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. The school district is the county's largest employer. With high unemployment, the area has very few opportunities, which become even more limited for those who fail to earn a high school diploma.

"It's All About Success" will enable Floyd County Schools the opportunity to gather data and pilot services designed to increase academic achievement and dropout prevention. Funding of the project includes a significant amount of training enabling advisors to continue to implement the curriculum well beyond the two-year funding of the project.



ACCESS' Pathway to Success is designed to support the efforts of southeast Michigan's Melvindale High School and Frontier International Academy in improving high school graduation rates by applying proven intervention strategies and social innovation principles rooted in STEM and assigning graduation specialists to each school. The project is an effective, sustainable and coordinated dropout prevention program with goals addressing the gaps in services available to students during the regular school day and during out-of-school times.

Pathway to Success serves an at-risk population with multiple barriers to academic success, including segregation, limited English language skills, poverty and a family history of low literacy and educational attainment levels. In recognizing the importance of early identification and intervention, the project serves a minimum of 120 students in 9th grade and those who are not on track to advance to tenth grade.


New Learning Resources School District

New Learning Resources School District (NLRSD) is dedicated to the educational philosophy that considers the diverse needs of today's students and families. The School District's primary goal is to extend the students' foundation for academic and career achievement. NLRSD recognizes the need for an individual, motivational and intellectual environment for students who may encounter learning differences. New Learning Resources School District's ultimate mission is to provide a quality education for every student.

New Learning Resources School District will utilize AT&T funding to support students 9th grade through 12th grade in two school sites (New Summit School in Jackson, MS and North New Summit School in Greenwood, MS) within the school district by increasing graduation rates. New Learning Resources School District serves a diverse student population targeting at-risk students. The project will serve students by capitalizing on the New Learning Resources School District philosophy of individualized education designed to enhance academic performance, provide opportunity for academic recovery and overcome learning differences.

Support from the AT&T Aspire Program will allow for the incorporation of program elements that support accommodated learning environments designed to assist students in reaching their academic potential. The program includes the following elements: life-skills development, academic improvement, academic accommodations, computer assisted instruction and technology inclusion, academic counseling and graduation coaching, team teaching within the classroom, one-to-one and small group interaction, extended instructional or study time and accredited on-line classes available during extended and regular school day for accelerated credit accumulation.


Guilford County Schools: The Middle College at UNCG

Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, serves more than 73,000 students at 124 schools. The school district is a national leader in providing specialized schools and instructional programs, including non-traditional high schools that meet diverse student needs.

In the fall of 2011, Guilford County Schools teamed with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to form The Middle College at UNCG, a non-traditional high school for students interested in health, medical and youth development service careers who are disengaged, not reaching their full academic potential, or at risk of dropping out. The school is adding a new class of ninth-graders each year to reach a maximum enrollment of 200 students in 2014-15. The middle college high school allows students to attend class on a college campus while taking honors-level classes. Students may also earn up to two years of college credit and take Advanced Placement courses.

Students in this small school setting are accountable not only to teachers, but also to each other and their mentors, creating a web of social and emotional support that helps students feel a sense of belonging and an understanding that they are valued members of their community.

The course of study also includes weekly career-focused learning and internship opportunities in partnership with the business community. AT&T's Aspire contribution will be used to provide essential materials and supplies for The Middle College at UNCG and fund student transportation costs during the school's expansion.


Boys & Girls Club of Farmington

Boys & Girls Club of Farmington

Farmington, New Mexico
Background Information

Since 1960 the Boys & Girls Club of Farmington, New Mexico has become an effective leader in the field of youth development work in the community. AT&T is proud to support quality services that have a real impact in our communities. The Aspire funding will help to fund the expansion of their BE GREAT: Graduate program by incorporating the Check & Connect program. This evidence-based successful program with proven results is based on the foundation of strong mentorship, getting parents and family involved, providing individual attention, and strict oversight through regular monitoring.

Student engagement has emerged as a key ingredient of effective dropout prevention programs. The focus of this program will be on 25 students transitioning from 8th to 9th grade at the Farmington High school and 25 students transitioning at Piedra Vista High School. Both schools are located in rural New Mexico where the population is 30% American Indians, 23% Hispanic, and 45% Caucasian, with a 95% low income level.

Up to 50 high school staff mentors will engage with the students one hour per week for 45 weeks to establish a mutual, trusting relationship. These mentors will also provide guidance to the parents regarding school systems and community referral systems. The Boys & Girls Club will provide family activities to reinforce a home support structure. These program components will aid in decreasing the dropout rate and provide a path to high school success.


Case Western Reserve University Upward Bound Program

In the United States, one student drops out of school every 26 seconds. Nationally, students from low-income families drop out at a rate four times higher than students from higher income families. The Case Western University Upward Bound Program is committed to reversing this trend.

The Upward Bound Program is the oldest of the pre-college programs at Case Western Reserve University. Established in 1966, the program is designed to prepare low-income and potential first-generation college high school students for successful postsecondary studies. High school students who attend any one of four Cleveland public schools, grades nine through twelve, are eligible for participation in the program. The program is year-round and includes a six-week summer residential component and a well-developed academic year component. During the summer in a simulated college environment, students reside in university residence halls, receive intensive academic instruction in mathematics, natural sciences with laboratory, English/literature, reading, study skills, computer science and foreign language. They also participate in a community service project.

During the academic year, students participate in the Saturday Enrichment Program, which provides academic courses and instruction for passing the Ohio Graduation Test. Students also attend weekly tutorials and participate in workshops that focus on personal growth and development. College planning and placement assistance, the SAT/ACT review program (Math and English components), cultural activities, and individual/group counseling and advising (personal, academic and career) are active areas of the program year-round. Annually, the program serves 110 high school students. Services are free.


Teach for America — Oklahoma

Teach for America Oklahoma's mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity. TFA recruits outstanding leaders to teach in urban and rural areas, become lifelong leaders in pursuing educational excellence and equity, and ensure that low-income students are given the educational opportunities they deserve.

An astounding 100% of students at McLain Mid-High School in Tulsa are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The school continues to make insufficient annual progress and students lag far behind in Math and Reading according to the Tulsa Public School District. Teach for America plans to reverse that trend by using AT&T Aspire funding to add a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development (MTLD) to provide five highly trained and supportive corps members (teachers) at McLain so they will be able to make a significant impact on student achievement.

Each MTLD will be a model of instructional leadership and be assigned to a group of corps members committed to a two-year term. MTLDs will work directly with corps members helping them to understand the importance of collecting and analyzing data, and monitoring student progress. Additionally, MTLDs will be involved in the following activities: classroom observations, one-on-one meetings with teachers, collaboration with school leaders, analysis of targeted student data and hosting Teaching As Leadership (TAL) seminars.

Students in a corps members' classroom are expected to achieve higher academic outcomes than students in a traditional classroom. Corps members are able to maximize student performance by analyzing collected data and customizing it to meet individual student needs. With early warning signals, MTLDs work alongside the corps members, teachers, and school leaders to ensure the highest at-risk students receive targeted interventions and are prepared to graduate on time, enter college and have a successful career.


Communities in Schools of Nevada

Since 1998, Nevada's graduation rates have fallen an incredible 24.6%. According to the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) 2011 report, Nevada's graduation rate is 44%, ranking 50th in the nation. An estimated 133 Nevada students drop out each day, most students leaving during their freshman or sophomore years.

CIS-NV will use Aspire funding to grow the Fellows Academy at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas and to implement a Freshman Fellows Academy at Spring Creek High School in Elko. Both schools currently run successful Fellows Academy programs. The Elko School District graduation rate is reported by EPE to be a dismal 55% and the Clark County School District has a tragic 43% graduation rate.

The Fellows Academy boasts these successes: 100% of students decreased days spent in out-of-school suspensions; 85% decreased days spent in detention; 100% decreased the number of truancies; 71% decreased their number of tardies; 72% decreased absences; and 92% increased their GPAs. This success is due, in part; to a rigorous staff training program coupled with high performance standards. All CIS Site Coordinators and Case Managers - staff that work directly with the students - complete an intensive on-line training program that is comparable to a graduate-level course aimed at ensuring they demonstrate the requisite skill set for the position. Consistent, regular training is provided to help advance the skills of each Site Coordinator and Case Manager while efficacy and progress are closely monitored through collection of student data. The organization's local administration and advisory board as well as the state CIS office monitor the data continuously and aggregate data is submitted to the national office.

At Canyon Springs HS, this grant will fund an expansion of the existing program from 2 to 4-5 sections, allowing 2-3 sections for new freshman. The funding will provide for enrichment programs, such as a field trip to the local University, as well as expand our ability to collect and analyze data on the efficacy of this program. With the growth of this program, we will also expand our staffing to include a Case Manager designated specifically to provide wrap-around services to the students in the Fellows Program. The Case Manager will work directly with school staff and the staff of the feeder middle schools to identify students that will benefit from the intensive services and support the Fellows Academy provides.

In Elko, the Freshman Fellows Academy will directly assist 30-45 at-risk freshman students at Spring Creek HS, in 2-3 classes. The final numbers will be determined when funding and school district contributions are finalized. These students will be identified using their 8th grade CRT testing scores and Spring Creek Middle School staff referrals. Both programs will enroll students with identified risk factors, such as poor attendance, behavior issues, a challenging academic history, or other factors that put students at-risk for dropping out.


Sumter School District

Sumter School District

Sumter, South Carolina
Background Information

Sumter School District serves 17,000 students in grades preschool through twelve in 16 elementary schools, seven middle schools, three high schools, two alternative learning programs and the Early Head Start program. Sumter is mainly a rural county with a population of 100,000 people. At least 71 percent of residents are low income, below poverty level families.

The Aspire funds will be used to support an innovative credit recovery program designed to increase graduation rates for at-risk high school students in Sumter. The program will serve 105 students (35 at each of the three high schools - Lakewood High, Crestwood High and Sumter High).

The services provided through this program are fourfold. First, students will be linked with a graduation coach, who will be their mentor and guide them as they navigate the program. Second, students will develop goals and have an academic program designed specifically to meet their instructional needs with credit enhancement and recovery through small group and individual computer-based learning for credit recovery. Third, the program will be offered during school and afterschool with transportation home provided if needed. Fourth, students will enter a college readiness program that will encourage them not only to graduate from high school but will show them how to continue into post-secondary education. All students who meet their goals will be offered one of several technology incentives.


Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy

Founded in 2009 with an inaugural class of seventy-five, the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) provides Chattanooga area girls and young women with a rigorous college preparatory education focused on math, science, and technology in a supportive environment that nurtures self-confidence, inspires leadership, encourages critical thinking, and promotes academic excellence. CGLA continues to expand to serve grades 6-12 and offers a college-preparation curriculum, which emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

CGLA will use AT&T Aspire funding to advance the STEM Pipeline through innovative and rigorous enrichment to improve student academic and college-going outcomes. It will target all high school students (grades 9-12) and will impact a total of 204 students during the 2-year project period (84 in the 2012-13 school year and 110 in 2013-14).

The CGLA ASPIRE program will support core Academy services and offer additional services and support structures to improve the academic performance of students including rigorous a summer enrichment camp, STEM focused curriculum, college readiness courses and financial aid support, internship and mentorship opportunities and college tours.


Project GRAD

For more than 20 years, Project GRAD's mission has been to support a quality public education for students in economically disadvantaged communities, so that high school and college graduation rates increase. What began in Houston's Davis High School, Project GRAD now serves five low-income communities where 44,000 students are enrolled in public schools. Today Davis High School leads the entire district in having the lowest drop-out rate of comprehensive high schools, graduation rates have doubled, and college enrollments have increased 425%. The expectations of the entire community have changed.

AT&T's Aspire funding will support the Freshman Success Initiative (FSI), which will operate in the Project GRAD partnering Houston ISD (HISD) campuses and allow GRAD both to serve more students and to expand strategies to promote high school success for low-income, at-risk freshmen. The goal of this program is to provide support for 3,600 ninth graders to stay in school, complete necessary graduation requirements, and to propel them onto a successful college and career trajectory, with an added emphasis on high demand STEM careers.

GRAD's comprehensive college access programming employs research-based strategies proven to prevent at-risk students from dropping out of high school and to impact students' college and career success. Davis High School was known as a dropout factory when GRAD began in 1994, but now has the lowest dropout rate of any comprehensive high school in HISD - lower even than campuses with less than half at-risk and low-income students. College enrollment rates at all five campuses have increased by 300% overall. Focused on the community, GRAD works collaboratively to increase the numbers of students who graduate from high school each year, enroll in college, and complete college.


Communities in Schools of Houston

Communities In Schools of Houston (CIS) is based on the belief that programs don't change people-relationships do!

CIS of Houston's mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Beginning in 1979 on one campus in Houston, CIS now serves 97 Houston area schools in four school districts, several charters and special programs. Last school year, CIS of Houston reached over 36,000 at-risk students with essential dropout prevention services, helping youth stay in school.

CIS of Houston will use AT&T Aspire funding to support Dropout Prevention services designed to meet the needs of at-risk students. Whatever it takes, CIS keeps kids in school! Whether a child needs tutoring, emergency dental care, school supplies, someone to talk to, eye glasses, or a safe place to live, CIS is there to help. CIS believes that when basic needs are met, students can concentrate on learning.

AT&T funding will enable CIS of Houston to enhance its Dropout Prevention program by providing mental health professionals on two high school campuses. Mental health services will be provided in addition to CIS' proven model of studentcentered, goal-oriented, and solution-focused delivery. CIS is the only program providing a comprehensive approach empowering kids to stay in school and achieve in life.


YMCA of Greater New York

The YMCA of Greater New York City's Y Scholars Program is a high school success and college access program for students in grades 6th to 12th who come from low-income and very low-income households. In New York City, more than one-third of all students currently fail to graduate high school. Failure rates are considerably higher among students of color, who constitute most of the youth served by the Y's teen programs. Furthermore, less than half of the students who do graduate are academically prepared to succeed in college.

Y staff members operate the Y Scholars Program on-site at the schools that participants attend. During the 2011-12 academic school year the program serves 650 students at 13 public schools in all five boroughs. Participants must commit to at least 120 program hours per school year and to additional program activities during the summer. Programming is designed to help students achieve an extensive, pre-determined list of YMCA Grade Specific Outcomes related to academic and life skills development, and college access planning. The Y internally evaluates the program on an ongoing basis to track student performance and satisfaction, modify program design, as necessary, and assess whether the Grade Specific Outcomes are advancing college readiness.

The program's success is obvious -

  • 92.8% of Y Scholars High School Seniors have graduated
  • 84.2% of Y Scholars High School Seniors are entering college in the fall
  • Y Scholars participants maintain an average GPA of 86%
  • 100% of middle school students will be promoted on time

This school year the program is expanding, in part due to contributions from AT&T, to serve over 1,000 students in NYC.


Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady

The Teen Empowerment and Mentoring Program is a partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady and Schenectady High School. We serve Schenectady High School students on the brink of success that could benefit from having another caring adult in their life. Our mission is to empower our students to develop their character, competence and resilience through structured relationships with caring, positive adults with a goal of academic success.

The purpose of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady is to promote the social, educational, health, leadership, and character development of boys and girls during critical periods of their growth.


Jewish Renaissance Foundation

The Jewish Renaissance Foundation (JRF) is a non-profit organization that believes as citizens in a democratic society, we must respond to the needs of our neighbors and share our talents and resources. The JRF partners with both state, county, local municipalities, boards of education and other nonprofit agencies in New Jersey and services annually over 4,000 individuals and families.

The Jewish Renaissance Foundation (JRF), under its School Based Youth Services Program will be building a strong foundation in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines for at-risk Perth Amboy high school students, helping them graduate ready for careers and college. Through an early dropout intervention program JRF will provide afterschool classes to ninth and tenth grade students who are behind or at immediate risk of falling behind in Algebra, Physics, Chemistry or Geometry. In conjunction with the science and math curriculum at Perth Amboy High School (PAHS) it will employ a mix of enrichment activities and games designed to make learning fun and reward student progress. The key principle behind the program is the alignment of math and science courses, and in particular, the alignment between Algebra and Algebra-based Physics as a foundation for all of the other science and math disciplines. For example, freshman begin their science and math studies by taking Physics and Algebra together, then progressing to Chemistry and Geometry in their Sophomore year, Biology and AP Chemistry or Pre-calculus in their junior year and AP Biology or Calculus in their senior year. Programming will take place in the learning center at Perth Amboy High School's STEM Academy.


University of Baltimore Foundation

The overarching goal of the Truancy Court Program (TCP) is to reduce truancy by reconnecting students and their families with the school. The TCP achieves this goal by implementing a therapeutic, non-adversarial, holistic model that works because it builds connections among schools, parents/caregivers, students, a compassionate judge and mentors. Those connections engage or re-engage students and parents into the education process through a series of confidential interactions with the TCP team that foster strong relationships among the TCP judge, the student, the parent, the TCP/CFCC staff, the teachers, the social services provider and the TCP Mentor.

The TCP is strictly voluntary on the part of students and their families and consists of ten weekly in-school meetings in the fall and in the spring. The TCP operates using a team-based approach and capitalizes on the stature and authority of a volunteer Baltimore City District or Circuit court judge. Participants at each meeting include: a volunteer judge, a team of school representatives, a mentor, a University of Baltimore law student, a law school supervisor, the child and his/her parent. The TCP adopts a therapeutic, non-punitive and holistic approach that rewards students who demonstrate progress with incentives and family events.

In addition to the team that meets weekly with the student and his/her parent or caregiver, CFCC has established a Mentor program, a TCP Volunteer initiative that provides volunteer tutors, a "Kids and Theater" after school program and a partnership with the University of Baltimore School of Law Family Mediation Clinic that offers mediation to all participating students, their families and their schools. The TCP Mentor provides character-building sessions each week and offers guidance to students on issues such as time management, leadership and bullying.

The University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) will use AT&T funding to help develop and implement the Truancy Court Program (TCP) for 200 eighth and ninth graders in one K-8 school, one middle school and two 6-12th grade schools. AT&T funding will enable CFCC to expand the delivery of services to TCP participants, including a social worker/case manager and integrate truancy prevention into the school culture and operation, including school-wide trainings for administrators, faculty, and staff, parent workshops and school-wide assemblies.


Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania - Netter Center for Community Partnerships

The Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and two West Philadelphia neighborhoods, comprehensive high schools, received a $300,000 award from AT&T to support West Philadelphia ninth graders in elevating their academic performance and achieving on-time promotion to the next grade. The Netter Center's Academic Support & Enrichment Program is dedicated to stemming the high school dropout crisis.

For more than twenty years, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at Penn has worked with West Philadelphia schools and community partners to help transform existing public schools into innovative University-Assisted Community Schools that function as centers of education, recreation and cultural activities, social services, and community engagement for students, parents, and community members. Each day, hundreds of Penn students are working side-by-side with children and youth in local schools as tutors, mentors, and collaborative problem solvers.

Founded in 1992, the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships is Penn's primary vehicle for bringing to bear the broad range of human knowledge needed to solve the complex, comprehensive and interconnected problems of the American city so that West Philadelphia (Penn's local geographic community), Philadelphia, the University itself and society benefit. With the support of the AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative, the Netter Center will expand upon its existing college and career programming at University City and Sayre High Schools to operate a University-Assisted Academic Support & Enrichment Program for ninth grade students. Over the 24-month program period, staff coordinators, along with university students serving as graduation coaches and tutors, will develop a support system for nearly 700 ninth graders to help them succeed academically, increase their chances of earning a diploma and begin planning for post-secondary success.

Ira Harkavy, Penn associate vice president and Netter Center director, said this collaboration has been recognized for its mobilization of significant resources that support students during the school day and after school.

  • For example, in 2011-12, the Student Success Center staff at University City High School mobilized 90 Penn and Drexel students as graduation coaches.
  • This team helped 94 percent of the senior class graduate, 70 percent of whom had post-secondary plans and secured more than $740,000 in scholarship and grant awards.
  • Over the past three years, the school's AP and Honors course participation increased by 66 percent across grade levels and subject content. In addition, average daily attendance rose from 71 percent in 2008-09 to 83 percent in 2011-12. With the support of AT&T, we look forward to deepening our work with local partners to further improve the outcomes of youth at both Sayre and University City High Schools.


Glenn Casey, a senior at University City High School, says, "Being able to work with the Student Success Center has been the most significant experience of my life. It has given me experiences working in a professional environment, learning about colleges, and thinking about the career I want to have. I've grown not just as a student but as a person too. I can honestly say that the SSC has been very important to me and I am glad that every year the program gets better and that more kids will have opportunities even earlier than I did."


Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio, Inc. (PECES)


Punta Santiago, PR
Background Information

The purpose of P.E.C.E.S.'s and AT&T's Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative is to support & strengthen P.E.C.E.S. High School's evidenced-based academic and social support programs for students who have recently dropped out of traditional HS, and to prepare the school to enroll and graduate an additional 150 students in 2014 - increasing graduation rates in southeastern Puerto Rico. P.E.C.E.S. Inc.'s High School is an accredited educational institution that provides recent dropouts an alternate route to graduation by providing tailored academic and psycho-social support. All students who study at P.E.C.E.S. are Hispanics living in rural, low-income communities that have a negative attitude towards school. All applicants abandoned school between 9th and 12th grade, 77 percent did not complete 10th grade and 83 percent are on Welfare. Primary at-risk characteristics in our region include academic failure, low attendance rates and abandoning high school. However, most students also struggle with poverty, substance abuse, violence, alcoholism and/or a broken home.

P.E.C.E.S. HS works with the "toughest" students in the city, but its 94 percent graduation rates beat the city's overall 82.6 percent graduation rate (US Census). The activities to be implemented through this proposal are:

  • Improve communication and data sharing between the school and administration through the use of enhanced data management systems that monitor academic progress.
  • Improve protocols for substance abuse prevention and treatment in partnership with community based service providers that give support beyond school.
  • Improve technology offerings and infrastructure to enrich the curriculum.
  • Develop a standardized testing strategy to assess and monitor academic progress.
  • Expand career pathway program using the career academies model.
  • Systematic post-graduation follow-up of students.

AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative

  • College Success Foundation (Issaquah, WA)
  • Common Ground High Schools (New Haven, CT)
  • Communities in Schools of Richmond (Richmond, VA)
  • Communities in Schools of Wilmington (Wilmington, DE)
  • Donnelly College (Kansas City, KS)
  • Highline School District No. 401 (Seattle, WA)
  • Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (Queens, NY)
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford (Hartford, CT)
  • Urban Prep Academies (Chicago, IL)

College Success Foundation

The College Success Foundation (CSF) was established to provide support services for underserved, low-income students to achieve academic success, complete high school, graduate from college, become self-sufficient, and reach their full potential in life. In 2005, CSF created the Higher Education Readiness Opportunity (HERO) program to accomplish these goals and attack the problem of inadequate numbers of minority males applying for scholarships and attending college.

Currently the HERO program serves 800 male and female students in 7th through 10th grades in high schools and feeder middle schools in Washington state and the District of Columbia. AT&T funding will allow the expansion of the program to students in four high schools in the greater Seattle metro area identified as above the norm in dropout rates by the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions. More specifically, funding will be used to hire three HERO advisors to work directly with the 320 academically challenged 9th and 10th grade students, providing constant individual support and monitoring while targeting improvement in their academic and social performance.

Students are identified for the program by school administrators based on low grades, truancy, disciplinary issues and high potential for school dropout. Some of the activities provided to HERO students include academic monitoring, class scheduling, advocacy, parent involvement, PSAT and SAT prep, career awareness opportunities, and life skills development.

With over 11 years of proven experience, CSF has helped more than 2,400 low-income students graduate with at least a baccalaureate degree.