Evaluating the Expanded Success Initiative

About The Expanded Success Initiative (ESI)

In New York City and nationwide, Black and Latino males are more likely than their peers to experience numerous negative educational outcomes, such as being suspended or expelled from school, being held back a grade, or dropping out. They are also less likely gain admission into academic honors programs, to graduate from high school, or to enroll in college.

In August 2011, New York City launched the Young Men’s Initiative, a combination of new programs and policy reforms designed to mitigate higher rates of poverty, incarceration, and unemployment among young Black and Latino men. Of the $127 million being invested in this effort, $24 million is dedicated to the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), which aims to increase college readiness and other key outcomes for Black and Latino male students in the City. A substantial part of that funding is supporting the development and expansion of programming in 40 NYC high schools, with the ultimate goal of identifying and disseminating successful practices that might be scaled up to other schools across the district.

About Our Evaluation

To gain an understanding of whether, and how, ESI benefits students, the Research Alliance is undertaking a mixed-methods longitudinal evaluation of the initiative. Our study aims to answer the following questions:

  • What services and supports are planned and implemented under ESI? What challenges do schools confront as they implement the new ESI services, and how do they address those challenges?
  • What is the impact of ESI on attendance rates, academic performance, progress toward graduation, and college readiness of Black and Latino young men?
  • How does ESI affect key social and emotional competencies, including persistence, response to challenge, "grit," and the level of "college knowledge" among Black and Latino young men?

To answer these questions, we are conducting interviews and focus groups with students, teachers, and administrators at all 40 participating schools. We are also surveying students and drawing on student records to compare ESI students’ academic and non-academic outcomes with those of students in similar high schools that did not participate in this initiative.

Ultimately, we hope to discover whether ESI’s model and the specific programs undertaken by ESI schools hold promise for improving college readiness and other important outcomes for Black and Latino males—including the potential to replicate successful strategies in other NYC schools and around the country.


Supported by the Open Society Foundations through the Fund for Public Schools.