Tapping Into Kansas City's Potential

In Kansas City Public Schools, the graduation rate is below the national average at only 69% of students graduating high school on time. Students who drop out earn roughly $1 million less than high school graduates. Furthermore, out-of-school, out-of-work youth collectively cost Americans about $1.6 trillion in increased social services and lost earnings and taxes over the course of their lifetimes (The White House Council for Community Solutions, 2012). City Year believe that all students have the potential to succeed, regardless of their circumstances, and partners with high-need schools to work with students most at-risk of dropping out.

Our Approach

Research from Johns Hopkins University shows that students who are at risk of dropping out can be identified as early as sixth grade using three early warning indicators – known as the ABCs – poor Attendance, disruptive Behavior and Course failure in math and English. A student who exhibits even one of these indicators as early as sixth grade has only a 25% chance of graduating high school on time.

On the other hand, the same research from Johns Hopkins shows that students who reach 10th grade on track and on time are four times more likely to graduate than their peers who are displaying early warning indicators in the 10th grade. City Year partners with school districts to place AmeriCorps members all day, every day for the entire year in the schools that need us the most. AmeriCorps members are a consistent, caring presence and provide students with one-on-one and small group support in the ABCs, helping students overcome challenges they face both in and out of school. And, in addition to working with individual students who are at-risk of dropping out, AmeriCorps members also provide support to help transform the whole school – including hosting school-wide events and activities to improve positive school culture, leading after school programming, and providing in class academic and behavior support so teachers can focus on teaching their lesson and can differentiate their instruction.

Here are examples of specific interventions City Year AmeriCorps members provide to students in partner schools:

Attendance Activities:

  • Morning greeting/morning welcome for all students
  • Incentive/recognition programming for students with good or improved attendance
  • Student and parent engagement events
  • Phone calls home to absent students
  • Attendance coaching (i.e. weekly check-ins to develop specific attendance plans in conjunction with students)

Behavior and Social-Emotional Support Activities:

  • Classroom, lunchroom, and hallway behavior support
  • Incentive/recognition programming
  • Structured behavior coaching and leadership development activities
  • Lunchtime/Advisory period mentoring (utilizing City Year’s 50 Acts of Greatness program)
  • After-school enrichment programming focused on pro-social behavior

Course Performance Activities:

  • Whole-classroom instruction support (enabling differentiated instruction)
  • Academic-focused student and parent events (e.g. Family Reading Night)
  • One-on-one and small group tutoring in literacy and math
  • After-school tutoring and homework support

Watch this short video to learn more about City Year's launch in Kansas City: