New grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support network of public schools focused on reducing disparities in postsecondary readiness and success

Press Release updated: Aug 28, 2018 19:20 EDT

NEW YORK, August 28, 2018 – New Visions for Public Schools announced today that it has been selected to receive a five-year, $14 million grant to increase postsecondary readiness and reduce disparities between the academic readiness of black, Latino and low-income high school students and their peers in New York City high schools. The grant, one of eight multi-million dollar grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will support the creation of a network of high schools working on the common challenge of equitable postsecondary preparation. The network positions New York City principals and school teams to lead improvement efforts, ensuring that those working most closely with students, families and communities play a central role in developing workable and scalable solutions.

The focus on improving academic opportunities and postsecondary achievement of black, Latino and low-income students reflects the shared prioritization of equitable outcomes by the Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools.

“I congratulate New Visions for Public Schools on this grant and I’m excited to work with them to make our vision of College Access for All a reality in New York City,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Our goal as educators is to graduate students who are ready to succeed in college and careers and address historic disparities in college access and success. I thank New Visions and the Gates Foundation for their partnership towards that goal.”

In the last five years, New Visions has helped partner schools improve on-time graduation rates by more than 10 percentage points and college readiness rates by more than 25 percentage points by focusing on the basics: establishing student-level goals, monitoring progress towards those goals and ensuring that students reliably receive support when they are at risk of falling off-track.

Over the next five years, New Visions will build on this approach, focusing more intensively on academic indicators of postsecondary readiness. Schools will measure progress based on whether students are maintaining a competitive grade point average, succeeding in advanced coursework and achieving college-ready scores on state Regents exams. While postsecondary success is the ultimate goal, by focusing on indicators measurable while students are still in high school, schools and New Visions will be able to set rigorous goals, understand barriers to higher student achievement and measure the impact of changes in school practices and student supports.

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to work with schools and the Department of Education to ensure more students are prepared for their choice of college and career,” said Mark Dunetz, president of New Visions for Public Schools. “Despite much progress, many low-income students and students of color leave high school unprepared for what's next. Changing this is essential to achieving more equitable outcomes in our public schools. As a former principal, I deeply believe that school leaders and teams of school-based educators must play a central role in changing the status quo. This effort secures the resources for them to do that.”

New Visions will launch this work during school year 2018-19 with a group of schools that applied to participate in this improvement effort. This inaugural cohort includes multiple district high schools along with charter high schools managed by New Visions, representing a unique partnership between district and charter schools working to address shared challenges. Over the following four years, New Visions aims to expand this work to a larger number of schools.

“Working with New Visions and a network of peer schools has been critical to the gains we have made in recent years,” said Carl Manalo, principal of Queens High School for Information, Research, and Technology (QIRT). “QIRT's improvement has been the result of large and small changes. Partnering with a group of colleagues dedicated to achieving more equitable outcomes is critical work and understanding what has and hasn't worked for peer schools will help all of us learn faster and work better.”

School teams, working with New Visions coaches, will build deep understanding of their students’ current levels of postsecondary readiness, develop and iteratively test changes to improve those outcomes and regularly collaborate to share knowledge gained. To catalyze these efforts, New Visions will make investments in its suite of school management tools that help principals and other school leaders make and monitor high-stakes decisions in their schools. These common tools will help provide the data necessary to validate improvements. As schools identify improvements, other network members can adopt and adapt these approaches, accelerating their own improvement.

New Visions for Public Schools was founded in 1989 and is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students, regardless of race or economic class, have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the rigors of college and the workforce. New Visions pioneered the model of small high schools in New York City, creating nearly 140 new district high schools and eight charter high schools; produces free open-source curriculum used by thousands of teachers in New York State and across the country; and runs a nationally recognized Urban Teacher Residency program to train new teachers.

For additional information, please contact:

Jefferson Pestronk
Vice President, Strategy and Development
[email protected]

Source: New Visions for Public Schools

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Preety holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies and is the former Deputy Director of Media Relations with the Modern Coalition.