ESI Update – Week of December 2nd

ESI Update

Week of December 2


Principals and ESI Team Members,

This has been an exciting week for NYC public schools as well as ESI schools. Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott visited one of our ESI Schools, Bedford Academy, to highlight the record number of students taking the SAT and AP exams, as well as the improved test scores. Since 2002, the number of city students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams has more than doubled and number of high school seniors taking the SAT has increased by 53%. (See ESI in the News below.)  Later that day, over 300 young men from 11 ESI schools met at the Schomburg Center to hear the stirring speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the songs of the civil rights movements. (See Shout Outs below) Wednesday, the good news continued with the mayor and chancellor proudly announced the four-year graduation rate for New York City public high schools in the 2012-2013 school years had reached an historic high of 66%. Since 2005, the percentage of students graduating college-ready has increased by nearly 50% from 32% in 2005 to 46% in 2013.

While we will all agree that this is all good news and that ESI schools have contributed to these record highs and increases, we also know that there is still much work to be done especially when it comes to improving college and career readiness rates for our Black and Latino young men. We hope that the gathering at the Schomburg Center will be the first in a series of opportunities for our young men to come together for learning and pro-social bonding experiences.

In this issue you will find the following features:

  • News and Updates: ESI Liaison Meeting!
  • Reminders: Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and Budget Reminder!
  • School Spotlight: Academy for Young Writers!
  • ESI in the News: Bedford Academy High School!
  • Shout Outs: Explorations Academy and Martin and Music!

News and Updates

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

ESI Liaison Meeting December 19

Liaison meetings are an opportunity for ESI Point Persons to meet, collaborate, and share best practices. The next ESI Liaison Meeting is Thursday, December 19th at Open Society Foundations. During this month’s session, Professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania will present on “Succeeding in the City” report and representatives from The Education Trust will present on an incredible resource for college counseling, College Results Online.

All ESI Point Persons/School Liaisons are expected to attend.

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

When: Thursday, December 19th

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided



Sponsors for Educational Opportunity

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a nonprofit organization that prepares low-income public high school students for admission to the nation’s most competitive colleges and then supports them during college. The program begins in March of the student’s 9th grade year and the program is currently in the process of recruiting for this Spring. The program is opening to both male and female students, but the organization is looking to recruit more Black and Latino men for this upcoming year.

Who Should Apply?

  • 9th grade public high school students in New York City
  • Students with at least a 77% GPA or 2.0 GPA

The deadline for New York applicants is December 13, 2013. For more information, click here. To apply, click here.

Budget Modification Process

(This is a Budget reminder from last week’s Update)

Changes to the invoice template:

  • The new invoice template is located on the wiki. This document is for organizations/consultants who do not have their own template. Otherwise, organizations/consultants should use their own letterhead or blank paper to prepare the invoice.
  • Signatures are no longer required on invoices, but must include dates of service, description of service, and remittance address.

If you submit an invoice with a signature on it, that invoice must be mailed to Charisse. It must be the original signature (no copies).

For additional questions or concerns, please contact Charisse Taylor at or (212) 356-3759.

School Spotlight

*This feature is intended to give you insight into what is happening in other ESI schools. We hope you enjoy your “visit”!

Academy for Young Writers

Location: East New York, Brooklyn

Principal: Courtney Winkfield

Total student enrollment: 383 

Percent Latino/Latina: 22%

Percent Black: 69%

Contracted Providers 2012-2013: Hip Hop 4 Life, Urban Word 

Promising Practices: 

Single Gender advisories in the 9th and 10th grade

After the Summer Bridge program for incoming 9th graders and rising in August, the ESI team at Academy for Young Writers and the administration collaborated to ensure that the ratio of male to female staff members on the 9th and 10th grade teams was proportionate to that of the student body. In order to create a “young men’s space” and “young women’s space,” it was imperative to us that the advisory teacher be the same gender as the students. Advisory sizes range from 10 to 15 students, and meet for 40 minutes, 4 days per week, during the school day. From student and teacher feedback, we have seen that students feel more comfortable expressing personal experiences, emotions, and questions within a group of peers and teachers of the same gender.  We have a total of 6 male advisories, and 12 female advisories.


Culturally Relevant Advisory Curriculum

In addition to having the logistical setup of the single gender advisories, we, as an ESI team within Academy for Young Writers, strongly felt that their needed to be a new, revamped curriculum that was both culturally relevant, highly engaging, and academically challenging. With the collaboration of the principal and assistant principals, the ESI team created 7 revamped, 4-week units. Each week contains one “Academic Counseling or Community Building Day,” in which each individual advisory decides on the day’s activity. There are also 2 conflict management days in each unit where the school counselors plan activities to teach mindfulness, self-regulation, and relationship building. Each unit also contains a technology component.

To learn more about these promising practices and the other ESI strategies that are being implemented in Year 2 at Academy of Young Writers, please contact Michelle Eisenberg at


ESI in the News

On December 3, 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited ESI school Bedford Academy High School to announce improved SAT and AP scores and record numbers of NYC public school students taking the test, At Bedford, the number of students taking the SAT quadrupled since just last year and the number of Bedford students taking AP exams has tripled since 2006. Click here to read one of the many news articles about the event.

Shout Outs

On December 3, 2013, over 300 young men from 11 ESI schools gathered at the Schomburg Center to see an amazing performance of the stage production Martin and Music. The Langston Hughes Theater was filled to capacity for the informative and inspiring performance. Shout Out to all the ESI young men and school staff who attended and were part of a truly memorable experience. Pictures and videos from the performance are memorialized here:

In November, 9th grade young men from Explorations Academy visited Dowling College and Hofstra University for a campus tour. The young men, accompanied by their 12th grade mentors, were given the opportunity to explore both college campuses, spend time speaking to current students, and ask many thoughtful questions about the acceptance requirements for both schools. Congratulations staff and students on making these events such a success!

Do you have a strategy, teacher, or program at your school that you wish to highlight? If so, send an email to for inclusion in our ESI Weekly Update.


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