A City-wide Turnaround Model for College and Career Success

January 20, 2011  • Education Innovation Forum and Expo

Say Yes is a unique collaboration between Syracuse University, Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and Board, Syracuse Teachers Association (STA), the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, Say Yes to Education, Inc., the American Institutes of Research (AIR), and a diverse group of Syracuse-area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations. At the student level, the Say Yes model has a proven track record of closing achievement gaps between white and minority students, decreasing drop-out rates, and increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban students (e.g., 84 percent of Hartford Say Yes students were accepted to college compared to acceptance rates of 45 percent to 60 percent for graduating classess in other Hartford high schools). At the system level, Say Yes and its partners are demonstrating that it is possible to scale this model to impact every student within an entire municipal area, beginning with Syracuse, NY. There are five critical components to the Syracuse Say Yes model: 1) collection and use of objective data for continuous quality improvement at the student, school, district, agency, city, and county levels; 2) implementation of research-based whole school reform (WSR) programs that result in the delivery of rigorous and engaging college preparatory programming for all students; 3) effective and efficient delivery of comprehensive community services that are proven to minimize and/or remove the barriers to post-secondary access (e.g., extended day and year programs, physical and mental health, legal, family counseling, and social services); 4) creation and institutionalization of a new municipal governance structure that results in high levels of transparency and broad-based community and political commitment to sustain a universal college and career access agenda; and 5) availability of student-centered scholarship incentives and supports. Syracuse Say Yes is moving to fully develop and successfully implement this unique and powerful model, which is resulting in cross government alignment of breakthrough goals, strategies, staffing, funding, and, ultimately, college access and economic development outcomes at scale.

To learn more, contact Sonia Drohojowska.