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Extracurricular & Skill Development: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Skill Development programs are focused beyond the classroom, often developed for afterschool or mentorship programs. They address problems that pertain to at-risk youth, reduced funding for art education, a lack of social or leadership skills and unhealthy behaviors. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.


Higher Achievement
Higher Achievement
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Middle school students face extraordinary risk regarding their academic performance and social development. Many students disengage from family and school, and experiment with behaviors that are irresponsible and/or illegal. Grades and test scores often plummet during the middle school transition and continue to decline through the 8th grade, school attendance drops, and violence increases. According to the ACT, 80% of American 8th graders are off track for future college success.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Higher Achievement
Program Name

United States
Location

1975
Start date

Mike DiMarco
Program Director

@HigherAchieve[/su_pullquote]

Higher Achievement began in 1975 as a rigorous afterschool and summer academic program to close the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk communities. Their new strategy is building on that record of success, integrating their services into a whole school approach: from 5th through 8th grade, scholars spend 650 hours a year learning an advanced curriculum that is aligned to state standards. This commitment is in addition to attending school for the standard 900 hours a year. The program has had a measurable impact on test scores, grades, social/emotional skills, and long-term success. 75% of students improve their grade point average by at least one letter grade, 94% graduate from high school – two times the rate of their peers, and 76% graduate from college – four times the rate of their peers. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Mike DiMarco, Program Director” class=”top5″]We’re continually learning and improving to better serve our scholars and to impact whole schools. Right now, we are on the cusp of much bigger impact, and schools are calling on us to grow to many new sites. Our passion for helping kids is coupled with our professionalism and data-driven approach, which uniquely positions us to change the odds for kids who need us most. [/su_quote]

"Higher Achievement's program will solve the problem by establishing a cycle of opportunity for current and future generations, uplifting middle school and whole cities we serve."
“Higher Achievement’s program will solve the problem by establishing a cycle of opportunity for current and future generations, uplifting middle school and whole cities we serve.”

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Professional Friends
Friends of the Children
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING In 2011, nearly 2.2 million children in the U.S. under the age of six were living in extreme poverty with multiple risk factors. Existing support systems invest in reactive, low-intensity, short-term services that fail to empower youth to move beyond their circumstances. Children need relationships with trained adults who adapt to their specific needs and build long-term plans for success.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Professional Friends
Program Name

Portland, Oregon
Location

1993
Start date

Joe Bergen
Program Director

@FOTCnational[/su_pullquote]

The PF model identifies children early and provides 1:1 support from a Friend (mentor) for 16 hours/month, for 12 years, through high school graduation. Friends are salaried, trained professionals whose full time job is to ensure the social and emotional development, safety, and education of 8–12 youth. In the early elementary years, Friends spend half their service time working alongside children in the classroom. As youth progress through high school, Friends continue to monitor academic performance, advocate for services, and provide opportunities to explore post-secondary pursuits. Along the way, Friends work with youth to achieve established goals within five developmental milestone areas. In 2013, PF reported that 85% of their youth graduated high school (50% have a parent who did not), 97% avoided the juvenile justice system (60% have at least one parent who has been incarcerated), and 98% avoided early parenting (85% were born to a teen parent). LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Joe Bergen, Program Director” class=”top5″]We enter children’s lives early, while they’re still open to building positive and trusting relationships, and we stay with them for 12 ½ years. In the realm of social services, this is an unprecedented level of commitment. And, for some children, it’s the only thing that works. [/su_quote]
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Financial Mentoring
Moneythink
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING The financial industry spends $670 million on financial education every year, yet still 1 million urban teens graduate high school each year with little to no financial literacy. Lack of trustworthy financial information, jobs, and guidance leaves high-potential youth economically stranded as they enter the real world.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Financial Mentoring
Program Name

United States
Location

2009
Start date

Joe Duran
Program Director

@moneythink[/su_pullquote]

Moneythink provides an economic vaccination to teens through a combination of near-peer mentoring, practical financial lessons, and mobile technology tools. Students ages 16-18 work with their Moneythink mentors (all college students) through a pop-culture action-focused curriculum to start saving, apply for jobs and scholarships, and practice critical financial decisions before they have to make them in real life. In 2013, the program saw 7,500 students graduate; 65% stated feeling more prepared for financial independence. Recently, Moneythink partnered with IDEO.org to design a social platform, via mobile application, to encourage youth to engage in challenges about their financial decision-making. Moneythink is able to put a single student through 21 weeks of high-touch mentoring for just over $100. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Joe Duran, Program Director” class=”top5″]All of our programs are entirely operated and led by college students. College students are incredibly motivated, have flexible schedules, can relate to high school teens, and are full of optimism. They innovate on the job, build deep relationships with their students, dream dreams together, and bear the leadership torch as they enter the workforce as financial literacy zealots. [/su_quote]
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U.S. Afterschool Service Programs
BuildOn
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Every 26 seconds in the U.S. a student drops out of school. This education crisis in the U.S. perpetuates the cycle of unemployment, violence, and crime in America’s inner cities. Each year, dropouts cost the U.S. Economy an estimated $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue alone, and 82% of all prisoners in America didn’t finish high school.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]U.S. Afterschool Service Programs
Program Name

United States
Location

1991
Start date

Missy Shields
Program Director

@buildOn[/su_pullquote]

BuildOn’s education curriculum helps students understand the issues facing their local and global communities. Then, every week, buildOn youth contribute hundreds of service hours to their local communities to address these issues. Each year, select students and teachers from each afterschool program help construct a school in a developing country. The buildOn US programs model focuses on qualitative goals such as: academic and civic engagement, empowerment, and personal and social development/grit. The program, based in Chicago, New York City and Detroit, is currently growing at a rate of 15% each year, adding 100 new community partners in 2013 and continuing to average a 93-95% high school graduation rate. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Donovan, buildOn graduate” class=”top5″]Growing up in Detroit, I recognize that I wasn’t “suppose” to have made it. Statistics show that as a young black male living in an inner-city, I was destined for a path of high drug abuse, violence, imprisonment, and/or death. buildOn gave me the opportunity and the confidence to be a better person while giving back to my community and today I am a senior at the University of Michigan. [/su_quote]


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ExpandED Schools
The After-School Corporation
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Currently, 85% of K-12 children in the US are living in poverty, as measured by eligibility for free/reduced lunch prices. By the time a low-income student reaches 6th grade, he or she is likely to have experienced 6,000 less hours of learning time.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]ExpandED Schools
Program Name

New York City, New York
Location

2011
Start date

Christopher Caruso
Program Director

@expand_school[/su_pullquote]

At ExpandED Schools, the 6.5-hour school day grows by about three hours to give students the learning time and opportunities they need and to match parents’ work hours. The program helps schools partner with community organizations to maximize their resources by tapping into public and private grants, adding 35% more time at 10% of the cost. In 2008, TASC commissioned an independent evaluation of their 3-year pilot to expanded learning time in 10 NYC public schools. Evaluators found that 85% of teachers said learning improved, and schools that implemented expanded learning time with fidelity to their model experienced statistically significant improvement in school attendance relative and gains on state tests among 3rd-5th graders. Recently, the NYC Department of Education asked TASC to serve as a partner in scaling up their model to 20 new schools in the 2013-14 school year. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Christopher Caruso, Senior Vice President, ExpandED Schools” class=”top5″]ExpandED Schools are central to solving today’s most pervasive challenges in education. They engage students in a personalized and fun learning environment while maximizing public resources for education. [/su_quote]
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The Education Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.

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Photo credit: BuildOn

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