New Program Implementation and Communication Plan
As part of a leadership assignment, prospective leaders were asked to create a new school-wide program that builds a bridge between the school and its surrounding community. In order to do this, first, community and school issues, needs, and strengths were assessed. After assessing the collected data, a new school-wide program was created that satisfied some of the needs of both the school and the larger community. Lastly, a communication process was developed for soliciting feedback from all constituents on the new program and its development.
The following is the New Program Implementation and Communication Plan that was created based on the aforementioned areas.
Urban Assebly Academy for History and Citizenship New Program and Communication Plan
A. Assessing Community Issues, Needs, and Strengths
The Urban Assembly Academy of History and Citizenship for Young Men (UAAHC) is an all boys’ high school located on 240 East 172nd Street, Bronx, NY, 10457. UAAHC is a NYCDOE public education high school serving grades 9-12 in both general and special education populations. The school is part of Community Board District # 4. The Community Board District is made up of 50 unsalaried members who are vested in community welfare. The immediate surrounding community neighborhood of UAAHC is formally known as Concourse, Bronx. Its conception manifests through the vision of two young history teachers who taught in Harlem. Jonathan Foy and Kamau Ptah were young, charismatic teachers that took part in mentoring, coaching basketball and developing a rites of passage program at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Junior High School. Over a ten year professional and personal friendship, they vowed if given an opportunity they would develop a school that would address the academic crisis that plague Black and Latino boys, who often drop out and/or go to jail. It would emphasize history and the African proverb, ‘Know thyself” would become the mantra for students seeking a college readiness program. Upon completion of a Masters Degree in Administration at Bank Street College, Mr. Foy was accepted into the Principal’s Academy offered through the department of education. He sought his long-time friend, Kamau Ptah, at the time employed as a director for the Gear-up Program at the Nassau Community College. Both would spend a year developing a proposal that would charter an opportunity to create a school to address the crisis in education faced by men born of African and Latino descent. The school opened its doors in September 2004.
UAAHC is grounded in their guiding principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. The school mission is as follows:
UAAHC is a rite of passage that empowers boys to a high standard of personal and academic excellence wit a healthy self-identity as scholars and young men of character. The UAAHC educational journey guides our young men to an enlightened state of awareness for the value of education, community, brotherhood, creativity, and the return to their cultural and historical legacy. In short, the student recitation is, “retrieve the past in order to create the future”.
In the year 2000, the population in this community reached 139, 563. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, of the total population reported, 2,020 residents were White Nonhispanic, which represented 1.4%. In addition, Asian and Pacific Islander Non Hispanic represented 1.4% of the total population. The two largest subgroups are Black Nonhispanic and Hispanic Origin. Black Nonhispanics makeup 36.1% of the population totaling 50, 416 residents. The largest subgroup, Hispanic Origin, totaled 81, 505 representing 58.4 % of the population. 49, 193 residents were foreign-born which equals 35.3% of the total population residing in this community.
There are more females than males represented in Community Board District # 4. 53.5% (74,666) are female and 46.5% (64, 897) are of male gender. 55.3 % of the population receives government assistance, which equals 77, 191 residents. 19, 285 residents receive some type of Public Assistance such as Home Relief. 46, 053 residents receive Medicaid only and 11, 853 residents receive Social Security Supplemental income.
The median income of households in PUMA5 03708 was $23,745. Seventy-four percent of the households received earnings and 7% received retirement income other than Social Security. Seventeen percent of the households received Social Security. The average income from Social Security was $9,872.
From 2005-2007, 37 percent of people were in poverty. Forty-eight percent of related children under 18 were below the poverty level, compared with 40 percent of people 65 years old and over. Thirty-five percent of all families and 48 percent of families with a female householder and no husband present had incomes below the poverty level.
76,704 residents are 25 years or older. 57.2% of the population whom are 25 years or older are High School Graduates or Higher and a mere 9.0% of the population 25 years old or over are College Graduates or Higher. Of the 76, 704 residents who are 25 years or older, 16,899 have less that a ninth grade education; 15,958 people have 9-12 education but NO high school diploma; 21,561 are high school graduates with no equivalency; 10,984 have some college education but no degree; 4,609 people have an Associate’s degree; 4,943 have a Bachelor’s degree; 1,940 have a Graduate’s or Professional Degree.
Forty-three percent were dropouts; they were not enrolled in school and had not graduated from high school.
The total school enrollment in PUMA5 03708 was 43,000 from 2005-2007. Nursery school and kindergarten enrollment was 5,400 and elementary or high school enrollment was 30,000 children. College or graduate school enrollment was 7, 600. Of the students enrolled in elementary and middle schools, 48.73% of students in grades 3-8 are meeting/exceeding NYS English Language Arts Standards and 65.46% of students in grades 3-8 are meeting/exceeding NYS Mathematics Performance Standards.
The total population that is 5 years and older in this community is 125, 876. Among people 5 years old or older, 68 percent spoke a language other than English at home. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, 87 percent spoke Spanish and 13 percent spoke some other language; 52 percent reported that they did not speak English "very well."
66.6% of the population are proficient in English, thus 33.8% do not have English language proficiency. Of that percentage of Non English proficiency, 90 percent speak Spanish or Spanish Creole at home. 3.9% speak African languages, 2.5% speak French and the remaining 2 percent speak other languages.
Among the most common occupations were: Service occupations, 39 %; Sales and office occupations, 25 %; Production, transportation, and material moving occupations, 14 %; Management, professional, and related occupations, 14 %; and Construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations, 7 %. Seventy-eight percent of the people employed were Private wage and salary workers; 15 % was Federal, state, or local government workers; and 7 % was Self-employed in own not incorporated business workers.
From 2005-2007, for the employed population 16 years and older, the leading industries in PUMA5 03708 were Educational services, and health care, and social assistance, 28 %, and Retail trade, 13 %.
Issues/Needs and Challenges the Community Faces:
- Class overcrowding
- High drop out rates
- At-risk youth
- Academic under-performance in math and reading
- Should implement education reform for English Language Learners
- College preparedness
- Small percentage of college graduates
- Few educational, social, and economic opportunities available for youth to compete in a global market
- Significant poverty rates
- High unemployment rates
- Limited day care and Head Start programs
- Poor training and referral programs
- Little vacant land left
- Strong Community Affairs Department
- Bronx Museum of the Arts-crucial part of social history in the Bronx
- Clay Avenue Historic District-county landmarks
- home of Yankee Stadium
- There are 4 recreational and cultural facilities in the community.
- 82 Parklands in the community including the development of Grant Avenue Park, Joyce Kilmer Park and Claremont Park, which provide much, needed open space. More parks than any other district per 2 square miles
- 9 Public Safety and Criminal facilities including the 44th NYPD precinct, Bronx Criminal Courthouse, Bronx Task Force, and Engine Ladders 44 and 49.
- new Police Academy that will offer training
- 5 hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory facilities including Bronx Lebanon Hospital providing on-site healthcare to UAAHC
- Development of Bronx Terminal Market Benefits:
- An excellent opportunity to create an accessible market for outlets and other retailers
- Construction of a Waterfront mall with restaurants and shops to attract tourists
B. Assessing School Issues, Needs and Strengths
In Need of Improvement:
Four areas within the subset of the quality review were ranked “proficient“ within varied areas listed as “in need of improvement”. These include training, management systems and structures that support teachers in the use of school data to inform planning and instruction and to track the progress of students. Serving as a college-preparedness program, UAAHC could benefit from implementing academic reinforcements supplemented within the community. This would provide a variety of opportunities for students to access information and remain academically engaged outside of the school community. Efforts to put college opportunities in place included the College Now program in collaboration with the City University of New York. However, this program only provided access to students that received passing scores on the English regents exam that were in the top 10 percentile (85% or more). This also represented ten percent of the junior and senior class, very limited access in comparison to the rest of the student population.
UAAHC is an all boys’ high school that asserts its care and consideration of academic development in preparation of college opportunity. It has developed a strong cultural identity for the student population and help to facilitate a rite of passage program to cultivate a healthy sense of self and coming into manhood. While the College Now Program provides resources to ten percent of the population, more work is needed to close the achievement gap to the majority of the population who otherwise rank within the norms of city high schools. According to the data, much attention should be paid to teacher training in utilizing student data as benchmarks and entry points in instruction and differentiating their lessons to ensure it meets the needs of all students. Opportunities to support this task may include neighborhood programs, not yet identified that will offer supplemental instruction, homework help, and developmental activities that may enrich the student’s ability to learn.
C. Building the School-Community Bridge
Based on all the school and community data collected, the UAAHC Enrichment Center will be created to prepare young men to have the skills needed to be effective citizens, workers and leaders in the 21st century and ensure they have access to higher education. Providing opportunities for college preparedness with instructional activities offered from their first year of high school enrollment through the graduation process will reinforce the school’s overall mission. In addition, the program will implement academic systems that will increase overall student achievement, support the high expectations of the school, and create a tracking system noted in pre and post diagnostic assessment to calculate student academic growth.
Community participation in the education process is important to the success of schools and the community-at-large. Relationships among the schools, businesses, community agencies/ organizations and individual citizens should be encouraged whenever possible. Based on all the information collected, UAAHC will tie its relationships through professional shadowing, apprenticeships, internships, and community service opportunities for our students. The program in-turn provides the community with employment skill training, computer access, employment postings, and pre-registration access to adult learning centers at the City University of New York. Due to demographical statistics that report a surge of immigrant families locally, English language acquisition are core components directed to the parent body. The school will provide courses in order to ensure communication barriers are addressed. This can be done through the workshop model and/or computer software.
The Enrichment Center will be a collaborative effort made by the administration, educators, school counselors, students, parents and the community. Rather than sending our students to an outside source for transitioning their life after high school, we will have an in-house resource for them to access. We will create an on-site office where our students and residents of the surrounding community can address a variety of topics. This resource will serve as a vehicle for information and a community hub.
Action Steps for School Community:
- Provide an interest attitude survey about college
- Divide each grade level into heterogeneous groups and assign advisors.
- Designate supervisor/facilitator to create a schedule for training the advisors. Provide ongoing professional development to advisors.
- Create a sequential schedule of classes that address college orientation, exploration, readiness, and application.
- Implement the courses as the schedule allows, i.e. English or Elective credit. Ensure each course is offered over the school year and accessible to entire student body.
- Conduct surveys and create a blog that students and advisors can post questions and share experiences about career plans and higher-educational goals.
- Track student data regarding attendance, Pre Scholastic Achievement Testing and Scholastic Achievement Testing scores, number of college applications, and number of secured employment positions.
- Assess program annually for effectiveness and interest.
- Reevaluate after four years upon completion of sequential courses.
Action Steps for Community at Large:
- Gauge community interest in the UAAHC Enrichment Center by holding an assembly, taking a written poll, provide an online survey or passing out flyers to come to an introductory meeting. This can be facilitated during school hours, after school and on Saturdays.
- Use data gathered from the polling of the community to create scheduling, programming and staffing assessment.
- Designate a supervisor/facilitator to oversee and implement training. The training should include skills such as resume writing, mock interviews, listening skills, taking responsibility, arriving to work on time, and English language acquisition.
- Solidify and continue to strengthen the school-community partnership with the City University of New York in order to provide on-site General Education Diploma classes to community members.
- Implementation of the Enrichment Program
- Assess effectiveness of the program on annual basis. The criteria used to determine effectiveness will be evidenced through the number of participants, and secured employment opportunities provided by our resource.
The specific goals and objectives of the UAAHC Enrichment Center are for students and the community-at-large to demonstrate how to plan and make education meaningful and relevant. In addition, the program will prepare and guide to the right post high school education or rewarding employment. Lastly, the program will confer the need to take personal responsibility for the success of their own lives.
The program will capitalize on the cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of the school and community by collaborating with the City University of New York’s Black Male Initiative Program to strengthen cultural ties and support adolescent development. Another way the program will capitalize on diversity is through the participation of organizations, such as the Dominicana Alianza and Puerto Rican Family Institute. The program will also support the varying religious beliefs by partnering with the local religious leaders, churches, and mosques of the community.
There are many resources that the UAACH Enrichment Center can offer the community. To begin with, the school will have a program room in which there will be a community board set up in order to post any and all relevant community information including, employment opportunities, course schedules and offerings, and upcoming workshops and events. The UAAHC Enrichment Center will also provide the community with necessary skills and strategies in order to be productive citizens in this competitive global market in which they live. The programs fieldwork supervisor will serve as a not only as a point person for information, but also as an individual advisor to community citizens who need any additional support.
There are many possibilities for shared program resources between the school and the community. For example,
- NYC Police Exploration Program
- Politics- Bronx Court House (intervention/internships)
- Bronx Museum (internships for artist)
- Landscaping – Claremont Parks Dept.
- FDNY (internships)
- CUNY sites
- Bronx Lebanon Medical Center
The UAAHC Enrichment Center will utilize these local resources and city organizations from internships, community service and potential employments opportunities.
D. Communicating the UAAHC Enrichment Center
The communication process is essential and necessary in order for the UAAHC Enrichment Center to thrive. The new program will be communicated to school staff, students, parents, and the community-at-large. The school will keep in mind its audiences when communication this plan, such as school officials, teachers, parents, students, community leaders, the media, and the general public.
The program will be communicated to teachers through an employee monthly newsletter indicating all related upcoming, events, issues, workshops and training sessions that the program will hold. In addition, teachers will receive ongoing training and professional development in the skill areas needed to support the program’s goals and objectives.
In order to communicate the program to parents, the school will utilize all the routine methods of parental contact already in place and seek to maximize them for the benefit of the newly established program. Included in this process will be a “Message from the Principal,” and a “Message from the Superintendent” used as a self-mailer to be sent to parents’ homes. In addition, parent meetings, school events and workshop announcements will also be sent out as a mailer to parents’ homes. Another vehicle for communication is information provided through the school’s and district’s webpage and e-newsletter. During the start of each academic school year, parents will be asked to sign up for an e-newsletter that will give updates and information on the program.
In order to communicate the program to students, a program “kick-off” event will be organized during the first few weeks of school to gauge interest and support of the program from students. A bi-monthly rally in the auditorium can further gain the support and pride of students in this newly designed and implemented program. Brochures will be handed out to all students and prospective students at the school’s fair, which highlights the programs features, goals, and objectives. Furthermore, morning announcements will provide students with daily/monthly program updates. The school’s newsletter and website will be a strong communicator during this process. The website can provide immediate at-home and school access to program events and information. The newsletter will be a student-run newspaper, which will provide relevant and interesting information while always keeping in mind the audience-the students. Lastly, the school will continue to communicate the program to students through contests, such as essay contests, which will gain student appeal. Sample con tests can include topics such as “What are the benefits of college and how can college provide lifelong success?”.
The school realizes that grassroots efforts have always been particularly valuable in building support for schools. The school will identify 10 key community leaders, such as the Bronx Borough President, members of the Community Affairs Department, and members of the Community Board asking them to be strategic partners in our plan. These community members are vested in the positive development of the community and will lend their names and the support to the efforts of the program. Community leaders and members will be invited to luncheons, fairs, celebrations, and workshops. School board meetings will
The media will be used as a vehicle of information. The local public access television will be used to the greatest extent possible to announce program information. In this case, the entire community is the target audience. Strategic community leader partners will also communicate the program through public-access television.
E. Communication Process for Soliciting Feedback
To do a job well, constant feedback is needed ― from colleagues, supervisors, employees and clients. Asking others how they would do some aspect of your job better or for ideas helps you improve your own performance and makes them feel included in the process. Objective, constructive feedback will be essential to the continuing development, productivity and performance of the UAAHC Enrichment Center. We will strive to improve methods that elicit feedback that communicates success of our school program mission.
To begin, the program will permit the entire school family, including parents and students, to engage in shared analysis and decision-making through ongoing participation in school surveys and suggestion boxes which can be found in a myriad of locations throughout the school, such as the front office and the UAAHC Enlightenment Center office. The school’s website will also be utilized as a vehicle to elicit feedback from stakeholders as the program continues to develop and improve. Furthermore, the school will assess and act upon the results of the school surveys and Annual School Report Card. The school will use these results and data to continue to improve the program on an ongoing basis. Next, the school will celebrate not only its acclamations but also the recommendations as constructive criticism towards the development, improvement, and change of the program. The school will also sustain an open-mind when observing the life of the program. For example, the school will be ready to observe and adjust any communication plan procedures through interactions, formal and informal conversations, and appreciation of all constituents. Additionally, sign-in sheets will be available at every parent and community event to monitor and measure attendance. Surveys will be available to all staff members, community, family members and students may give feedback via the school’s website at any given time.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). State & county Quickfacts: Bronx County, N.Y. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from http://quickfacts.census.gov.
U. S. Census Bureau. (2000). Profile of selected social characteristics: Bronx County, N.Y. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_DP2&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U&-_lang=en&-_sse=on&-geo_id=05000US36003.
U. S. Census Bureau. (2000). American FactFinder fact sheet: Bronx County, N.Y. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/