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District receives state My Brother's Keeper grant

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 13, 2016) -- The City School District of Albany has received a $346,226 My Brother’s Keeper Challenge Grant to help increase its efforts to raise achievement for all students, and especially boys and young men of color.


State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced the grant Tuesday, part of the state’s $10 million investment in supporting My Brother’s Keeper initiatives.


“We are grateful to the state for providing this additional assistance or our work to support all of our students and families,” said Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D.


The majority of the district’s MBK activities will focus on the five Priority elementary schools: Arbor Hill Elementary, Giffen Memorial Elementary, Schuyler Achievement Academy, Sheridan Preparatory Academy and Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST).


The district opted to focus on those schools because of their designation, student demographics and the importance of building a strong foundation in young students for future educational success.


The district will focus on three of the six MBK goals:


Entering school ready to learn
These activities will be targeted to the district’s 4-year-old prekindergarten population (about 700 students).


The district will implement an aligned PK-K literacy skills assessment for all prekindergarten students and incoming kindergarten students in Priority schools, as well as expand family and community engagement for student learning and development around early literacy and social-emotional supports.


Reading at grade level by third grade
These initiatives will focus on grades K-2 at the five Priority schools. The district will:

  • Create a Professional Learning Community comprised of Response to Intervention (RtI) coaches, reading teachers and teaching assistants at each Priority School

  • Support implementation of McGraw-Hill’s “Wonders” Reading Program and “WonderWorks” Intervention Program

  • Establish and implement a PLC comprised of Priority School leadership and district-level administration around a systematic approach that accelerates the intellectual development and academic achievement of disadvantaged students of color

  • Expand family and community engagement around literacy

  • Provide a targeted literacy enrichment program PK-2 as part of summer extended learning time program.


Reducing Code of Conduct violations and providing a second chance
The target population for this goal is all K-12 students in the district. The district will:

  • Create a PLC comprised of behavior specialists, social workers and psychologists in order to establish a team of experts to deliver, model, coach and support implementation of the district’s new Code of Conduct and Preventative Strategies Plan

  • Establish a positive school culture and climate by equipping students with appropriate social-emotional tools and skills

  • Expand family and community engagement around reducing Code of Conduct violations and providing a second chance.


Activities are designed to offer tiered levels of supports, so that highest-need students will receive the most intensive interventions.


Through assessment of need, intervention strategies are expected to focus resources and supports on students of color, leading to a narrowing of the achievement gap. Specifically, racial disparities in reading growth rates among students K-2 in Priority schools, and district-wide behavior referral and suspension rates are expected to decline.


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves more than 9,600 students in 17 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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