ESI Update – Week of May 12



ESI Update

Week of May 12



Principals and ESI Team Members,

This week marks 60 years after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In classrooms across the city and the country, educators are engaging our students to commemorate that defining moment in our nation’s history–to honor the struggle that led to that historic decision and the struggle for equal access to high quality education for all students that continues three generations later.

There is no shortage of sobering statistics that speak to the continuing struggle and the long way yet to go, and beneath every data point is a story wrapped into the larger narrative of this country’s future.  As a continuing part of the Update in the final weeks of this year, we wish to include some of those stories from the students themselves–their voices about the impact ESI is having on their education at their school.  You’ll see this in the section titled “Student Voices” below.  We hope that this inspires you to share student perspectives from your school to add to the collective voice of the initiative and our community.

As has been said in our Liaison and Leadership Meetings this year, the Expanded Success Initiative is not another pilot program, but a commitment to a social and moral cause.  As this week of remembrance draws to a close, we thank you for continuing to shape the stories that are our future. 


In this issue you will find the following features:

  • News and Updates: ESI  Liaison Meeting and June 12 ESI Symposium!
  • Opportunities: Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council Program, NYS STEM Incentive Program, RIT’S 24th Annual College & Career Program, Youth Empowerment Day, R2L NextGen Program!
  • School Spotlight: Teachers Preparatory High School!
  • Resources: Voices of History on Brown v. Board, and Helpful Resources to Share with High School Graduates!
  • Student Voices: William Seda from Explorations Academy!
  • Shout Outs: ESI schools that completed School Time Lab!

News and Updates

*This feature is intended to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in ESI. 

The NYC Dads Matter Awards

Do you know a great dad who resides in the five boroughs who has overcome challenges to play a positive and powerful role in the life of his child and community?

This June, the Mayor’s Citywide Fatherhood Initiative will present the Fourth Annual NYC Dads Matter Awards. The event will recognize 10 fathers from across the City who overcame the odds to become positive and consistent forces in the lives of their children.

Nominate an outstanding dad today! This person can be part of our ESI community or anyone you know who’s been a strong and positive influence in the life of their child. A selection committee comprised of community and government leaders will review the nominations and select 10 honorees to receive their awards in June.

Nomination Forms and Essays are due Friday, May 16, 2014.

To nominate an exceptional dad, complete this nomination form and type a three paragraph essay explaining how you know the potential honoree, the qualities that make him an exemplary father, and why you think he deserves a NYC Dads Matter Award. All nominees must be a father who actively participates in the life of his child, giving their health and welfare top priority. Please note that nominations are open to the public and posthumous awards will not be given.

Email the completed nomination form and three paragraph essay to: or fax to 212.312.0785.

ESI Liaison Meeting May 29

This year’s final ESI Liaison meeting will take place on May 29 at Open Society Foundations. During this session, participants will get a peek into the topics that ESI will focus on in Year 3 – a) Infusing a culturally responsive lens throughout the curriculum, b) Eradicating the school-to-prison pipeline and c) restorative practices: an alternative to suspensions approach.

Liaison meetings are an opportunity for ESI Point Persons to meet, collaborate, and share best practices across ESI schools. All ESI Point Persons/School Liaisons are expected to attend.

Where: Open Society Foundations, 224 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

When: Thursday, May 29th

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided 

ESI Symposium June 12

During this year’s ESI Symposium, participants will reflect on the work and strategies that have been implemented in Year 2 and teams from each ESI school will meet and discuss the vision and plans for Year 3. There will also be musical selections from our students and words of inspiration from a young man who is graduating from one of our schools.

Come out and join us for this annual celebration. To register, please click here.

WHERE:  Brooklyn Law School

Subotnik Center – 10th Floor

250 Joralemon Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

WHEN:  Doors open at 3:45 p.m.

Refreshments will be served.

National #proofpoint Day to Bring Visibility to First Generation College Students


Imagine a day where hundreds of thousands of Americans who are first generation college graduates (FG’s) and are walking the streets, boarding buses and subways, or driving to work or class wearing green to serve as vocal and visible proofpoints for the thousands of kids who have yet to begin the journey and for the thousands that are on the journey and may feel alone. Seeing yourself in someone is very powerful and can change the way a child and their family dreams.

National #proofpointday (May 30th) is an incredible effort to highlight first generation college graduates (and future FG’s and allies). Think of it as inspiring attention and appreciation and support for future and current first generation college goers the way Earth Day inspired attention to environmental ideas.

Join hundreds of thousands of FG’s; future FG’s and FG allies in wearing green on Friday, May 30th and/or posting a photo of yourself in your #proofpointDay green to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #proofpointDay to serve as a vocal and visible proofpoints—and influence the way a kid and their family dreams about their future.

Please visit to learn more.



*Check out these exciting opportunities for students and staff members! Please note: If you or your students take advantage of any of the opportunities we spotlight, take a moment to let us know

For Students

Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council Program

Coro New York Leadership Center, New York City’s premier civic leadership training program, is recruiting for its 4th cohort of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council Program (MYLC). The MYLC, in partnership with City Hall and the Department of Education, will develop the leadership skills of a diverse group of New York City public high school students to serve as an advisory resource to decision makers at City Hall.

Coro is now accepting applications from students that will be in the 10th or 11th grade the fall of 2014 that have demonstrated:

  • commitment to their community
  • leadership experience
  • good academic standing
  • interest in exploring social issues and city governance

Nominated students should be directed to to apply online and learn more about the program.  All applicants must have a written recommendation from a nominator. Because of the rigorous nature of the MYLC schedule, we ask that nominators choose students that are able to commit to all of the program dates listed on the website. Applications and letters of recommendations are due on May 30th. Please contact José Dobles, Program Director, at 212-248-2935 ext. 323 or via email at with any questions regarding the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council.

NYS Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program

New York State has announced the creation of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and  Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program which provides full tuition scholarships for students who graduate in the top 10% of their schools’ senior class, pursue an approved-STEM major at CUNY or SUNY, and commit to living and working in NY State in an approved-STEM career after graduation for five years. Students should visit the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) website to see all requirements and to initiate an application. As with other scholarship and opportunities, students should be advised to carefully review the terms and conditions of the agreement before applying.

Students who wish to apply for the program will need proof from their schools that they are in the top ten percent of their class. (To determine which students are in the top ten percent if your school does not finalize rank in STARS, see this guidance.)

For more information on the scholarship, see the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HSEC) website. For questions about ranking your students, contact your network academic policy point person. For other questions, contact Sugeni Pérez Sadler at

Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) 24th Annual College & Careers Program

RIT’s 24th Annual College & Careers program is an outstanding opportunity for high school students to explore, investigate, and sample academic programs and career paths. Join them this summer for a two-day overnight summer program at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.

This two day career conference is designed to help students, who will be entering their senior year in the fall, gain the experience and knowledge necessary to start making career decisions about their future. During the program, rising high school seniors will work with RIT students and faculty using their state-of-the-art facilities and technology.

Students can attend up to four academic workshops that include a variety of programs like Robotics, Game Design, Photography, Environmental Sustainability, Biomedical Engineering, Marketing and more. There are over 70 academic sessions to choose from. You are also invited to experience life as a college student by staying overnight in our residence halls, eating in the dining facilities and participating in a variety of social activities.

Dates for the 2014 College & Careers program: July 18-19 or August 1-2

Registration is now open. Space in the program is limited. Read more about College & Careers online or click here to contact them with further questions.

FREE Summer Art Program/SAT Prep/College Essay Classes at DreamYard Art Center

Based on the core values of Empower, Create and Connect, the DreamYard Art Center Programs work to build the next generation of artists and activists through artistic rigor, academic enrichment, and a commitment to social justice. The following programs are FREE Art/Academic Programs for the summer for high school students. Students from all over NYC are welcomed.  Lunch is provided for all students as are MetroCards for travel.

Note: More than one class can be taken at a time as long as dates/times do not conflict!

*Painting/Drawing Intensive

*Fashion Program

*SAT Prep

*College Essay Preparation

*Digi.Me: Art Technology Class

* ACTION Program: Youth Advocacy/Community Engagement Program

For more information about summer programs, click here. For a copy of the application, click here.

Registration is First Come, First Served.

Youth Empowerment Day

On Saturday, May 17, Municipal Credit Union (MCU), along with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), WBLS Radio, and Hot 97, present the 3rd Annual Youth Empowerment Day at UFT’s headquarters in Manhattan.

We encourage students from ESI schools to participate in this event which is designed to provide students with the opportunity to network with their peers and connect with various speakers and guests who have found success in different walks of life. The event will feature ESI Director Paul Forbes as one of the featured speakers.

For more information and to register, click here.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s R2L NextGen Program

9th, 10th and 11th grade students  are urged to apply to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) R2L NextGen program. CHCI will bring approximately 40 Latino high school students to D.C. to spend six days learning about how the Federal Government works, meeting key leaders, visiting historic sites, and developing a deeper understanding of how they can effect positive change in their communities and their nation. The program, which will take place July 27 – August 1, 2014, is completely FREE of charge to all selected student participants.

To be eligible, students must:
·         Be in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade at the time of application
·         Demonstrate interest in learning more about civic engagement
·         Reside in New York CityPlease click here for specific geographic requirements.
To learn more about the program, visit last year’s participants daily activities or this promotional Prezi presentation.
The deadline has been extended to Tuesday, May 27 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Students can apply by visiting apply.chci.orgPlease note that students must complete both a profile AND an application. Students must log back in to verify their email address in order to get started on the application.
For further questions, contact Evelyn Garcia Morales, Manager of Educational Enrichment Programs, at

For Staff Members

2014 Schomburg Summer Education Institute in Partnership with the Expanded Success Institute

ESI is thrilled to partner with the education department at the Schomburg Center this summer during their 2014 Schomburg Summer Education Institute (July 14th through July 18th)!  This year’s topics include: Freedom Summer, American Maroons and Resistance to Slavery, The Motown Sound: A Voice for Freedom, The History of Education in NYC, Book Arts and the Black Experience, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Hip-Hop History, Abolitionism in Brooklyn, and more.

Educators will gain valuable content knowledge and learn inquiry-based approaches to teaching history across the grades and across disciplines with the Schomburg’s rich primary resource collections, scholar lectures, interactive workshops, curriculum labs, curator talks and community walks.  Each teacher will take home books and extensive resource materials for their classrooms.  Teaching and learning activities at Black History 360° exemplify the Common Core State Standards and support the Danielson Framework for Teaching.

The ESI Team is supporting staff at our schools who are interested in attending the week-long institute by covering the $500 registration fee. The first twenty-five (25) staff members who commit to attending the Schomburg Summer Education Institute will attend for FREE! Please email Paul Forbes ( with your name and school if you are interested.



School Spotlight

Location: Brownsville, Brooklyn

Principal: Carmen Simon

Total student enrollment: 523 

Percent Latino/Latina: 13% 

Percent Black: 85

While a number of ESI schools have focused on core subjects like Math, ELA, and Science, Teachers Preparatory School partnered with Teachers and Writers Collaborative to focus particularly on improving the writing skills of their 9th and 10th grade students. As one of the culminating events of that partnership this year, Teachers Preparatory High School hosted their first annual literary anthology celebration, “Beauty in the Shadows” on Friday, May 9th. That day, more than 110 young men and women from grades 9-10 gathered to read poetry and prose pieces that they had crafted through their work with Sarah Dormann from the Teachers and Writers Collaborative.

The event was a success as many students rose from their seats to give voice to their thoughts and feelings, and their voices were celebrated by peers and staff members. Students and staff all received printed copies of anthologies containing all of the student writings, some tasty treats, and the admiration and applause of all who were in attendance. 

A poem from the anthology is included below. For more information about their partnership with The Teachers and Writers Collaborative or any other ESI related programs and strategies, please contact James Torta, the ESI Liaison at Teachers Preparatory High School at


“In Nature Itself” by Kayeef Kelly

I believe in love and happiness

I believe in sunshine after a long day of school.

I believe in the sun sparkling on water when I’m back home at the beach.

I believe that if you work hard enough at something you will succeed.

I believe in the leather skin of a basketball.

I believe in the sound the net makes as I shoot a jump shot.


Angle of the ball

Rotation on the ball

Perfect jump shot!

Making the ball go straight through the net

Creating that wonderful sound


I believe in nature

I believe in the sound of a light rain at night and how it puts me to sleep.

I believe in the smell of the air after a heavy rain.

Makes the air smell fresh and brand new.



Voices of History

Six decades after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, three people with unique experiences in fighting for integration and equality in public schools share their stories.

Helpful Resources to Share with High School Graduates

The last few weeks of high school are an exciting time for students. But it can also be overwhelming. Whatever path a student is considering, college or career, the summer after high school is the perfect time to start planning for the road ahead. This page lists some resources you can share with students that are fun, easy-to-use, and offer guidance for what lies ahead.



William Seda, 10th Grader at Explorations Academy

What do you think about the ESI program? “The ESI program is a really good program. It gives you a push and makes you want to be more than just a statistic and stay on the street. I was struggling in math–algebra and geometry–but got help from the peer mentor and peer tutors. They encouraged me and helped me with my work. Now I’m doing better academically.”

Where do you want to go to college? Either Rutgers University (went to the campus on an ESI trip and fell in love with the school) or John Jay College.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A police officer.

When you’re not in school, what do you like to do? Member of the NYPD Explorers Program. Recently selected to be a captain in the School Safety Division on Explorers. It’s a great opportunity because you get to work with young men and women who are having problems and/or have issues. “Oftentimes it’s just that they [young people] just need to be heard.”




Shout-Out to the following ESI schools that were selected, participated in, and completed the Office of Postsecondary Readiness’ (OPSR) School Time Lab (STL)!

  • East Bronx Academy
  • George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences
  • Queens Vocational and Technical High School
  • Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics

This week, each school presented on ways in which their school community will maximize access to courses and opportunities that are predictive of college and career readiness, by revamping their staff and students’ schedule and therefore optimizing on a fundamental resource – time during the regular school day. Congratulations!



“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe




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