On August 28, the Bank Street Education Center received a Networks for School Improvement grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will allow them to partner with Yonkers Public Schools to help more Black, Latino, and low-income students complete 8th grade math. The project is a continuation of the Education Center’s successful New York Network project, which focused on improving instructional practice in Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, and Yonkers.
The $700,000 grant will cover 16 months of work with 10 middle schools in Yonkers. The Bank Street team will partner with the middle school teachers and school leaders responsible for math instruction in each school to focus on advancing the ways students learn math. These teams will work to identify existing challenges in instruction, collaborate on a strategy to address those challenges, set a target for improvement, and replicate the parts of the process that had a positive impact on student achievement. This will enable the Bank Street team and participating teachers and leaders to engage in a cycle of “continuous learning” in which they will consistently reflect on and evaluate what is working and what is not.
Tracy Fray-Oliver, Deputy Executive Director of Programs and Implementation at the Bank Street Education Center, is excited to focus more deeply on creating better math outcomes for low-income middle school students of color in Yonkers. She said, “We know that success in algebra is a gatekeeper for college and career readiness, and we are excited to partner with educators and their students in Yonkers Public Schools to create a unified vision that involves learning through the challenges of instructional improvement to impact schools and students at scale.”
“We are focused this year on improving mathematics outcomes for our middle grade students in order to prime them for success in high school and beyond; we see our partnership with Bank Street and our commitment to continuous improvement as key levers in this work,” said Dr. Andrea Coddett, Deputy Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools.
The grant is part of the Networks for School Improvement portfolio, a new strategy by the Gates Foundation focused on supporting middle and high schools in their work to help students of color and low-income students succeed. After a competitive Request for Proposal process in January 2018 that saw submissions from a pool of around 530 applicants, the Education Center was selected to be a part of the first cohort of 19 organizations across 13 states. This project will enable the Education Center to continue its work in New York State to influence positive learning outcomes at scale and help students thrive in school settings and reach their full potential.