What if high schools collaborated to share innovations that promote college access?

In 2019, we renewed our support of a strategic partnership between three schools in East Harlem—Park East High School, Central Park East High School, and The Heritage School. The schools, which are close to each other and serve predominantly low-income youth, had historically pooled athletic resources into one sports team under the name “East Harlem Pride.” Our funding expanded this collaboration into school improvement and college readiness. Each school has a unique strength: Park East has a successful math program, Central Park East has an outstanding college guidance program, and Heritage has an arts focus. We support each school in meeting its own identified needs while also investing in shared professional development and teaching techniques so that the strengths of each school can be leveraged by the other two. The results of this collaborative are striking. Heritage’s college acceptance rate increased from 35% to 100%, and its college matriculation rate increased from 30% to 91%. Central Park East’s Algebra 2 pass rate increased from 69% to 82%. Heritage’s Algebra 1 pass rate increased from 26% to 38%. Park East’s 18-month college persistence rate increased from 77% to 89% and the percentage of its graduates enrolled in a four-year college increased from 48% to 68%. What started as one math teacher at Park East sharing effective practices for instruction with algebra teachers at Heritage and Central Park East has since expanded to collaborations among all core subjects, select AP courses, and assistant principals. The Young Women’s Leadership School has since joined the partnership.

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