Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced four new Student Success Centers (SSCs) – college and career planning hubs – opening citywide as part of College Access for All, a key initiative in the Equity and Excellence for All Agenda. Chancellor Fariña visited the new SSC at the George Washington Educational Campus in Washington Heights. SSCs support a strong college-going culture, which research shows is the most consistent predictor of students enrolling in college.
SSCs are partnerships between community-based organizations and multi-school campuses, and are staffed by school and CBO staff as well as Youth Leaders – successful upperclassmen and college students who receive ongoing training and support younger students and peers in college and career awareness, planning, and application activities. The SSCs are distinct spaces within their schools, with “Drop-in Centers” for students to access support from adults. They also host workshops and one-on-one meetings, for students and families. Family engagement is a critical component of this work, and increasing college awareness and access across the City.
“These new Student Success Centers are an important, common-sense tool on our path to College Access for All,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “They offer a number of innovative approaches to leverage resources within our schools and communities – collaboration among co-located schools, partnership with community-based organizations, and student mentoring and leadership.”
“College Access for All supports schools in strengthening their college-going culture, in order to ensure all students have many options to succeed in the world beyond high school. We know this requires a whole school community effort. That’s why I’m thrilled about these new Student Success Centers, which leverage the power of youth leadership and mentoring, in order to increase access to strong postsecondary options for our students,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.
The 15 schools served by new SSCs currently serve approximately 7,000 students. The cost of opening and managing the SSCs is $750,000 annually, which funds the development of the spaces, CBO contracts, and Youth Leader salaries. There are currently eight Student Success Centers across the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens serving about 10,000 students at 19 schools. At the Bushwick Campus and Franklin K. Lane Campus, the first two campuses with Student Success Centers that are models for the program, postsecondary enrollment has increased 14 percentage points and 11 percentage points respectively over the last four years – compared to 6 percentage points citywide.
The Equity and Excellence for All agenda aims to ensure that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college ready. Building on record-high graduation rates, record-low dropout rates, and a high-quality pre-K seat for every New York City 4-year-old, Equity and Excellence for All is creating a path from pre-K to college and careers for every child in every neighborhood in New York City.
Through College Access for All, by 2018-19, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus and every high school student will graduate with an individual college and career plan. The initiative has also eliminated the CUNY college application fee for low-income students, and made the SAT exam available free of charge during the school day for all high school juniors. College Access for All is also supporting new training and funding for 100 high schools to build a schoolwide college and career culture, and funding for 28 additional high schools to hire alumni “bridge coaches” to ensure graduating seniors follow through on their plans to enroll in college in the fall.
“Good Shepherd Services is proud to operate Student Success Centers; they provide students with the resources and support to reach their academic goals and make their college aspirations a reality,” said Sister Paulette LoMonaco, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services. “Investments in programs like these – and in organizations like us who provide them – are a down payment on the future of New York. It is an investment that will assuredly yield great dividends.”
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“When something’s important, we make sure there’s real resources and a dedicated space for it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “College and career planning are critical, and Student Success Centers represent the right approach. They incorporate peer mentors as well as professional staff, and they integrate services together in one space with a dedicated team instead of leaving them to be done on a piecemeal and ad hoc basis.”
“High school students need guidance and help as they consider pursuing a higher education and future professional careers. The Student Success Centers will serve as centralized hubs where students and their parents can access the information, mentoring and support they need to successfully apply to and get into college as well as learn about potential career tracks. These centers will help our students successfully access higher education and professional opportunities after completing high school,” said Congressman Jose Serrano.
“Improving the quality of education and mentorship available to students in Upper Manhattan was one of the main reasons I decided to run for the State Senate. I am pleased that Chancellor Fariña is making the George Washington Educational Campus a priority with the opening of this new Student Success Center. By partnering with community organizations and successful older students, our youth will be able to identify and pursue careers that fully engage them. I hope to continue to work with the Department of Education to break down the barriers that keep so many students from reaching their full potential,” said State Senator Marisol Alcantara.
“I applaud the NYC Department of Education for creating a multi-faceted partnership that further enhances the career-selection opportunities in our public high schools,” said Assemblyman Michael R. Benedetto.
“I am convinced that our Bronx students have remarkable talent, skill or intelligence but too often equally have insufficient opportunity and awareness. Therefore, I thank Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for selecting our district as one of the sites for a Student Success Center so that our local scholars can empower other future leaders so they aspire for college and a better livelihood. Ensuring equity in excellence through this partnership of community and academic partners continues to demonstrate how we are all #BuildingABetterBronx,” said Assemblyman Michael Blake.
“We are excited by today’s announcement of the Student Success Centers coming to NYC and to George Washington Educational Campus. It is our responsibility to ensure that our students have the tools, resources and support to thrive in their academic careers and beyond,” said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa. “I commend the Department of Education and Chancellor Fariña for taking this important step.”
“These new Student Success Centers will open up doors for thousands of college-bound high school students,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “College preparation is challenging. It can be especially daunting for students who do not have the benefit of seeking guidance from a friend or family member who has already navigated the complicated process. The support and training these SSCs provide will eliminate these hurdles and set many more high school students on the path to college. I am delighted to support the expansion of this important initiative.”
“George Washington Educational Campus is brimming with potential and all it needs are the tools to succeed,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “That is why I am thrilled that Chancellor Fariña and her team have the initiative to put a Student Success Center in the building, ensuring students have resources to connect them with the next steps in their lives and educational careers. I will continue to make GWEC a focus for my office as we continue to improve the quality of education in our community.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the NYC Department of Education to expand CARA’s Student Success Center model to schools throughout the city – the growth of the model, that has already trained hundreds of high school students to support thousands of fellow students, is a testament to the power of peer-to-peer programming to improve college access for first-generation-to-college students,” said Lori Chajet and Janice Bloom, Co-Directors of CARA.
“The Student Success Center has created a college-going culture at my school and I want to thank the Department for Education for its commitment to creating a citywide college going culture and for expanding Student Success Centers and believing in the ability of youth leaders to help our peers reach their dreams of attending college,” said Osasumwen Osa, a Youth Leader with Make The Road New York.
Below is a list of the schools with new Student Success Centers:
Mott Haven Educational Campus, Bronx
Bronx Leadership Academy II High School
New Explorers High School
Careers in Sports High School
Herbert H. Lehman High School Campus, Bronx
Renaissance High School for Musical Theater & Technology
Pelham Lab High School
Schuylerville Preparatory High School
Bronx River High School
Herbert H. Lehman High School
Westchester Square Academy
Longwood Campus, Bronx
Banana Kelly High School
Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research
George Washington High School Educational Campus, Manhattan
The College Academy
High School for Media and Communications
High School for Law and Public Service
High School for Health Careers and Sciences
As mentioned earlier, these new Student Success Centers (SSCs) – college and career planning hubs – opening citywide as part of College Access for All, will be a key initiative in the Equity and Excellence for All Agenda.