"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Urban Assembly

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.urbanassembly.org

The Urban Assembly was founded in 1990 to address a wide range of poverty issues. In the mid-'90s we spearheaded a major planning effort to transform a 300-block area of the South Bronx.

That effort identified the lack of high-quality local secondary schools as a major concern and recommended creating three model high schools, each tied to a major local institution.

In 1997, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools, the Urban Assembly opened the first of these schools, the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, and in 2002 it opened the second, the Academy for Careers in Sports.

Based on our success, the Urban Assembly was invited to submit proposals for two more schools. In 2003, we opened the Bronx Academy of Letters, and, inspired by the commitment of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, shifted the organization’s focus exclusively to the creation and support of new small schools.

Twenty-one Urban Assembly schools are now up and running.

We are reaching into the communities where kids need us most and giving thousands of students the education they deserve. By every measure, our children are among the city’s most underserved.

94% of our students are African-American and Latino. 69% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs. 70% of 9th graders enter our high schools with scores below city and state proficiency levels in math. 64% are below proficiency in reading. 50% of our students speak a language other than English at home.

Our schools demonstrate that at risk students can achieve incredible success with the right learning environment, instruction and support. The Urban Assembly’s network-wide graduation rate is 76% — 15 points higher than the New York City average and seven points higher than the national average. Several of our schools have graduation rates above 90%.

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