The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, in collaboration with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, has been selected to conduct an evaluation of the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI). ESI is a key component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, a combination of programs and policy reforms designed to decrease rates of poverty, incarceration, and unemployment among young men of color. The research is supported by funding from the Open Society Foundations.
This academic school year marks the official launch of ESI, an investment of $250,000 in 40 schools over the next three years to implement school-designed strategies around academics, youth development and school culture practices that increase college and career access among black and Latino males. Last fall, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) identified 81 high schools already showing success in graduating black and Latino males from high school, and invited them to participate in a “design challenge” proposal process. From the 81 proposals received, 40 schools were selected.
“Over the next four years, we’ll be looking at what services and supports are planned and implemented under the ESI,” said James Kemple, executive director of the Research Alliance, housed within the NYU Steinhardt School Culture, Education, and Human Development. “Furthermore, we’ll examine the impact ESI services and supports have on students’ academic and non-academic outcomes, the challenges schools confront as they implement the ESI services, and how they address those challenges.”
The Research Alliance evaluation is underway this academic year and will conclude in the spring of 2016.
“This study will allow us to periodically assess what ESI schools are doing, how they are doing it, and provide feedback from year to year,” said Adriana Villavicencio, lead implementation researcher and research associate with the Research Alliance. “Ultimately, we hope to learn more about what increases college and career readiness among young men of color not only in these 40 schools, but in schools citywide.”
All schools that receive funding and supports through the ESI will participate in the evaluation. Findings from the evaluation will be published independently by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.