School of Education Promotes Access and Equity Through Youth Programs

The School of Education prepares professional educators to be effective teachers who create classroom communities that help all students become successful learners, and more importantly, believe in their aspirations above any perceived limits to achieve their greatest potential. Our work extends to students as well, and finds an expression in several college-access programs and partnerships.

Liberty Partnerships & Upward Bound

In Spring 2013, the Liberty Partnerships and Upward Bound programs moved to the School of Education from Dyson College of Arts & Sciences. The programs were a natural fit for the School of Education, as both provide a broad range of academic support services, workforce preparation, family engagement, enrichment activities, mentorship and college counseling to students identified as at-risk for academic failure, or students who aspire to be the first generation to attend college. Both programs work with approximately 250 high school students each, Upward Bound focuses on Boys and Girls High School, Clara Barton High School, Cobble Hill High School for American Studies, George Westinghouse High School, Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, and Williamsburg Preparatory High School, all in Brooklyn. LPP serves students attending four New York City public high schools: High School for Leadership and Public Service, High School for Health Professions and Human Services, High School for Economics and Finance and Pace High School.

These programs make success a reality for high school students, and allow these students to develop the skills necessary to fulfill their goal of attending college or work. Program graduates have gone on to attend highly competitive colleges, including the SUNY system, Columbia University, Cornell University, Barnard College, Mount Holyoke College, Pitzer College and a host of other private colleges and universities.

“This program is invaluable,” says LPP Director Shelly-Ann Richmond, Director of the LPP Program. “It is a necessary component in the lives of all our participating students. It gives them valuable academic, social and professional experience, and because of the affiliation with the University, it creates within them a level of familiarity that assists them in the transition from high school to college because they have been around the culture/environment of higher education for so long.”

Students thrive in these programs, which build leadership and academic skills while encouraging students to look and plan ahead to achieve their goals. They change in several ways, Richmond says.

“They become aware and passionate. They begin to see the value in what you have been telling them,” she says. “When you see the message ‘taking root,’ they just take off like rockets that are unstoppable.”

Pace brings a unique opportunity and expression for the goals of these youth programs. Richmond credits Dean Spencer’s leadership as an invaluable asset to their success.Having such great leadership differentiates the Pace programs from those at other sites, she says, “Because we are allowed the opportunity to be creative and explore with a level of freedom that is unparalleled.”

“In return,” she continues, “we plan programming that caters to our students’ needs and we see the results: they enjoy what we offer and tell other students about it. Our program is growing and our members become our greatest advertisers.”

The Pleasantville High School Pace Lab School

Our youth-access initiatives are not limited to our New York City Program. In Pleasantville, the School of Education has embarked on an innovative new project for the 2013-2014 academic year. The Pace Lab School, a program of the Pleasantville Unified School, is a transition program for 18-21 year old students from Pleasantville High School and other regional districts, housed on the Westchester campus of Pace University. The Lab School helps students focus on living and vocational skills, primarily through internships. "This program presents an important addition to the array of learning experiences for School of Education candidates," says Dean Spencer. The program launched on September 9.

Pace High School

Located in Chinatown in lower Manhattan, Pace High School is a collaborative enterprise between Pace University, the New Century High Schools Initiative, New Visions for Schools, and the New York City Department of Education. The high school is one of the top-ranking among New York City public schools and is highly selective in its admissions to its college-oriented, student-centered environment where curriculum is tailored to meet each student’s individual needs and goals. According to School of Education professor and Pace High School Co-Founder Art Maloney, EdD, it is the second most popular choices for high school among New York City eighth-graders, with as many as 6,000 applications for 120 seats.

“The popularity, I think, is attributable to its unambiguous mission as a college preparatory school, the relationship to Pace University and its consistent record of academic performance in terms of graduation rates, Regents Diplomas and college admissions,” says Dr. Maloney.

“I also give credit to an outstanding Principal and faculty who maintain high expectations and genuine accountability in a supportive and positive school climate. Pace High School has received a consistent ‘A’ rating since the school report card system was initiated several years ago.”

The student experience for a Pace High School student begins with a summer orientation in Pleasantville just before the start of the freshman year. As they progress through their high school career, students have access to university libraries and computer labs for research and schoolwork and may take courses at the university (as they qualify). Graduation exercises are held at the Schimmel Center on the New York City campus, and five deserving Pace High School seniors are awarded full-scholarships to Pace University each year.

The relationship between Pace High School and the School of Education goes even deeper. Between 20 and 30 School of Education teacher candidates complete student teaching, fieldwork and receive mentorship from the experienced high school educators. Pace High School, says Dr. Maloney, is further consistent with the School of Education’s values and conceptual framework in that “the school has an open enrollment policy to provide opportunities for students at all ability levels, a commitment to social justice, a caring community, a variety of community service programs, an imbedded advisory program and a staff of reflective and proven professional educators.”

This year, the School of Education is looking to further enrich the relationship with this special public high school by creating opportunities for more Pace University students to interact in the daily activities at Pace High School, and exposing the high school students to more of the higher education experience at the University. Pace High School is also a new program site for the Liberty Partnerships Program for the 2013-2014 school year. This expansion represents an interweaving of the School of Education's resources, for the ehancement of our programs and for the student experience alike.

Getting the Campus Experience

Students in all three of these programs got a chance to experience campus life in Pleasantville this summer.  Upward Bound and LPP students came to the Westchester campus for three days in early August for Residential Week, drawing the students’ Summer Academy experience to a close. Residential Week, offered students a chance to unwind and experience residential life on the Pleasantville campus, staying in dorms and dining in the cafeteria. They engaged in sports, college tours, workshops and enrichment activities as part of their college-prep programs. One highlight of the week was a talent showcase, which gave students a chance to exhibit their talents and hobbies for their peers, including step dancers, singers, spoken word performers, guitarists and actors.

Pace High School also conducted a three-day orientation at the Pleasantville campus in August. Students stayed in dorms, engaged in team-building activities and learned first-hand about what would be expected of them at Pace High School prior to the start of their freshman year.

The School of Education also partnered with Yonkers City Schools for the 2013 Summer Collegiate Academy. The Pace University School of Education was one of several regional colleges to participate in this program, in which eligible high school students from Yonkers schools can earn college credits by taking a condensed summer class and learn more about college living and opportunities. Two dozen high school students from Early College High School, Gorton High School, Palisades Preparatory, Saunders Technical and Trade High School, Yonkers High School and Yonkers Montessori Academy, enrolled in either a child development course  or an Adolescent Development course, taught by Dyson College of Arts & Sciences Professors Lea Ausch and Horace Batson, respectively.

The courses were held at Saunders Technical and Trade High School and students learned how to utilize different educational resources and gave technology-based presentations on the subject matter. Each instructor used an SOE student, Rania Aoud and Marien Nunez, as tutors to support student success throughout the course. The culminating event for the experience was a campus visit to Pace University's Pleasantville campus, organized by School of Education candidate Megan Haye. The high school students received a personal tour of the campus and participated in a panel discussion with several current Pace students about college and why they chose Pace University. The high school students in attendance were markedly clear about their visions and goals for a college education, and their personal expectations of themselves to achieve their goals.