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NYC schools Pre-K through 12 engage students and families around early college awareness

Schools will participate in college and career events throughout January, DOE’s College and Career Month

NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña is joining middle school students from the Bronx and Brooklyn today to celebrate College Awareness Day. College Awareness Day, now in its second year, promotes a college-going culture across all New York City schools and encourages students to consider a range of college and career options. Schools serving grades Pre-K through 12 across all five boroughs are participating in special college and career-themed events and activities today, and these coordinated efforts will continue throughout January, the DOE’s first-ever College and Career Month.

These efforts are part of College Access for All, one of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives. Through College Access for All, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus by 2018, every high school student will have the resources and support at their school to graduate with an individual college and career plan by 2019, and every high school junior will be able to take the SAT free of charge during the school day starting this year.

“As the first person in my family to attend college, I know the importance of early conversations and planning around college and careers, and that’s exactly what College Awareness Day is doing,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Every New York City student must have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and we are making unprecedented investments in college and career access to make that a reality – especially for students who would not have had these opportunities in the past.”

For College Awareness Day, schools have been encouraged to participate in a number of college and career-themed events and activities, including:

  • Leading classroom or after-school college workshops and discussions with students and families
  • Students researching different college and career opportunities and present to their classmates
  • Inviting alumni, as well as college students, college professors and staff, and community leaders and elected officials, to discuss college and career planning with students
  • Staff members wearing college gear and decorating the building with college posters and graphics to promote awareness and conversations

DOE has provided schools with resources to support this work. In addition to these school-based activities, students and families from six middle schools are touring Queens College and participating in workshops about planning and paying for college today. Students from Pelham Gardens Middle School in the Bronx and IS 171 and Highland Park Community School in Brooklyn are joining Chancellor Fariña at Tweed Courthouse for a panel discussion on college awareness and readiness. The New York City Council is issuing a proclamation declaring January 11 as College Awareness Day, which will be presented by Council Members Daniel Dromm and Inez Barron at the Tweed Courthouse event.

As part of the DOE’s first-ever College and Career Month, 250 high schools are participating in special career exploration events and activities in January. All New York City high schools have received a toolkit with resources they can use for this month and throughout the school year, and the DOE’s College Access for All team is matching volunteers – including alumni and volunteers from New York City businesses and organizations – to visit high schools and host workplace visits and tours. The DOE is also hosting the first-ever citywide Summer Enrichment Fair on January 28, where high school students and families can learn about summer employment opportunities and participate in career skills and planning workshops.

Earlier this year, the City announced the highest-ever postsecondary enrollment, college readiness, and graduation rates. 55 percent of all students in New York City’s Class of 2015 (students entering 9th grade in Fall 2011) enrolled in a two- or four-year college, vocational program, or public service program after graduation. College Access for All is one of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence initiatives to ensure that, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college-ready. Together with other Equity and Excellence for All initiatives including Pre-K for All, Universal Literacy Algebra for All, AP for All, and Single Shepherd, College Access for All will support a continuum from early education to college and careers, and promote increased college readiness and access to postsecondary options across all five boroughs.

“As a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, I received a great education that enabled me to succeed in college,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “I would urge all students to consider college as a path to their dreams.”

“As educators and public officials, it is our duty to prepare NYC students for higher education,” said City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm. “For many adults, a college degree is critical to obtaining higher-paying jobs and financial security. By engaging and sharing our college experiences with children earlier, we encourage them to plan ahead and invest in their own futures. I am pleased to work alongside Chancellor Fariña in promoting this important campaign.”

“As the Chair of the New York City Council’s Higher Education Committee and former teacher and Principal for over 35 years, I see college not as a privilege but a necessity that must be made available to every child regardless of financial means,” said City Council Higher Education Committee Chair Inez Barron. “Free tuition to attend a quality college is a human right that must be recognized and demanded.”

“So much of our focus is on college readiness and preparation, but there’s something else that students need to get in our schools – interest and excitement in what comes next,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “College is only getting more important in our knowledge-driven economy, and helping our students get excited about that they can achieve is a critical part of giving them the tools to achieve it.”

“I commend the de Blasio administration for partnering with key stakeholders to bring these key resources to our youth,” said State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Research has proven that mentoring programs help students to achieve positive outcomes. This initiative is not only a necessary investment but it is testimony to the value placed on our young people: We also understand that our youth are the future.  Essentially we are building a stronger workforce and a better New York.”

“We know that the benefits of early work experience paired with knowledge of college options are both essential to putting young people on the path toward fruitful and rewarding careers.” said Darren Bloch, the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund. “The Mayor’s Fund is proud to support city students through best-in-class programs such as Career Pass and the Career Counseling Initiative, which are developing new avenues for young people to explore career pathways and better understand the education and skills required to successfully reach those career goals.”

More information on College Awareness Day and College and Career Month are available online.