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Say Yes Buffalo partners to increase college completion rates for Buffalo public school graduates with grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Say Yes Buffalo and partners Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo State College, SUNY Erie, Villa Maria College, Medaille College and the University at Buffalo will launch new initiatives to help Buffalo students make successful transitions from high school to college and ultimately complete a postsecondary certificate or degree. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a $2.9M, 22-month investment to support the newly established Buffalo College Success Network and other efforts to help students, with special emphasis on those from communities of color and who are from low-income households, make successful transitions from high school to college and ultimately complete a postsecondary certificate or degree.

The yearlong grant proposal submission process engendered the Buffalo College Success Network, inclusive of Say Yes Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools and the five local higher education institutions that admit the largest number of Buffalo students receiving tuition funding from Say Yes Buffalo: Buffalo State College, Medaille College, SUNY Erie, the University at Buffalo and Villa Maria College. Leaders from the aforementioned institutions worked collectively during the past 12 months to identify specific opportunities for investment that could further remove barriers to postsecondary completion for Buffalo students.

 

 

Q & A

Q: What is the Gates Foundation P – 16 initiative? 

A: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation envisions a future in which all U.S. students – from preschool to postsecondary – have access to educational opportunities that enable them to develop the knowledge, skills and agency needed to thrive as adults and contribute to their communities. To make this vision a reality, the foundation supports initiatives focused on ensuring that race, ethnicity and income are no longer predictors of outcomes and that all learners across the Pre-K to postsecondary continuum are on track to earn a credential that carries labor market value.

The foundation’s U.S. Program staff has been on a multi-year journey to learn more about a student’s education experiences from preschool through completion of a credential. The P – 16 Community Investment Team seeks to define exemplary P – 16 work and identify how the foundation can best impact the P – 16 field. A key part of their work includes two-year investments in the five communities participating in the P – 16 Community Investment Initiative: Buffalo, Chattanooga, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley and Tacoma. As the project moves forward and grantees implement strategies using foundation funding, the P – 16 Community Investment team will continue to grow its understanding of high-quality P – 16 work.

Q: What is P-16?

A: P-16 is a term used to describe the goal of creating a public education continuum from “P” which is pre-K, through “16” which is a degree beyond grade 12 of high school, up to and including a certificate, 2-year or 4-year degree

Q: What is the Buffalo College Success Network?

A: The Buffalo College Success Network is comprised of representatives from Say Yes Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools and the five local higher education institutions that admit the largest number of Buffalo students receiving tuition funding from Say Yes Buffalo; Buffalo State College, Medaille College, SUNY Erie, the University at Buffalo and Villa Maria College.

The Buffalo College Success Network is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating the strategies presented to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s P – 16 Community Investment Team.  The work of the Buffalo College Success Network will be led by the Say Yes Buffalo College Success Director.

Q: What are the goals of the Buffalo College Success Network’s P – 16 Gates Foundation Initiative?

A: 1.Increase postsecondary persistence for all Say Yes Buffalo scholars who access services with a focus on low-income students and students of color

2. Increase postsecondary enrollment for graduates of Buffalo’s Public Schools, with a focus on low-income students and students of color

3. Creation of a comprehensive P – 12 data system that has capacity to expand to P – 16

Q: What are the strategies to be implemented in reaching the goals?

A:  1. Increased case management for Say Yes students at all Buffalo College Access Network institutes of higher education to increase retention rates

2. Establish mental/behavioral health clinics on-campus at four institutions of higher education, SUNY Erie, Buffalo State College, Medaille College and Villa Maria College

3. Coordinated Data System between high school and higher education partner

4. Creation of seamless curriculum for transition from high school to college

5. Near peer mentor programming

Q: How long does the grant last?

A: The grant is for 22-months, beginning June 2019 – May 2020.

 

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