A Fresh School
Year Brings New Schools and Big Successes from Last Year
Diplomas Now is starting the school year with two
new schools in a new city, Jacksonville, Fla., bringing our total
to 39 schools in 13 cities. We've also received several generous
donations from the PepsiCo Foundation, AT&T and the
Schusterman Family Foundation. On top of that, we are proud of
major successes from last year:
- In East Baton Rouge, La.,
all three Diplomas Now schools were removed from Louisiana's
academically unacceptable list.
- Rhodes Middle School in
San Antonio achieved the highest math proficiency rate in
- Clinton Middle School in
Los Angeles increased the number of eighth-graders who
passed their algebra final exams by 28 percentage points and
was named recipient of the 2013 Partnership School Award
from the National Network of Partnership Schools.
"I Am Diplomas Now" Campaign - Join Us in Showcasing
Our Incredible Students and Staff!
Diplomas Now is kicking off its "I am Diplomas
Now" campaign, during which we will feature
short stories on our website and social media outlets profiling
students and staffers from our three partner organizations. We
want to showcase the commitment and talent of our Diplomas Now
team and the major strides our students are making every day.
This campaign will help bring the Diplomas Now story
to life - by showing the faces and stories behind our many
successes. We encourage you to send us your suggestions of
students and staff members who should be highlighted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first person we'll be featuring is Darius Clay,
a student who recently shared the compelling story of his
experience at the Diplomas Now Summer Institute.
"I'm proud to say that I'm a product of
Darius Clay earned his diploma in June as part of
the first graduating class at Chicago Talent Development High
Clay says City Year corps member Jason Dones helped
him turn around his failing grades to become an honor roll
student and helped him with the college application process. He
says his Communities In Schools site coordinator Paul Fagen
suggested attending an aeronautical engineering camp at the
University of Illinois. And his school transformation
facilitator, Jackie Thomas, was "like a mother to me. When I
shared an accomplishment with her, her eyes would just fill with
joy. This only made me want to see that joy more. Therefore, I
kept achieving my goals."
"I'm proud to say that I'm a product of
Diplomas Now," Clay said. "The proudest moments of my
life have come through Diplomas Now. ... The impact that Diplomas
Now has had on my life has been immeasurable. Honestly, without
Diplomas Now, I might not be going to college."
Clay was accepted into nine colleges and is studying
accounting at Hiram College near Cleveland on an academic
scholarship and grants. "College life is great!" he
said when contacted recently for an update on his transition to
college. "I love it so far. The teacher's teaching method is
very vivid and understanding."
#IamDiplomasNow - Join the
PepsiCo Foundation Awards $1
Million to Diplomas Now for Two Chicago Career Academies
Two Diplomas Now high schools in Chicago are
starting career academies this fall, thanks to a recent $1
million grant from the PepsiCo Foundation. The academies at Gage
Park and John Hope are intended to introduce students to the
world of work and prepare them for college and careers.
"As the labor market becomes increasingly
competitive, there is an urgent need to ensure that corporate and
private partnerships are leveraged to provide students with the
support they need to develop key workforce readiness skills as
they continue progressing through high school," said Doug
Elmer, director of Diplomas Now.
At Gage Park, about 400 sophomores, juniors and
seniors are involved in two career academies: the ACE Academy, on
the school's third floor, stands for Academic, Cultural
Empowerment Academy, and the BETA, on the second floor, stands
for Business, Education, Technology Academy. ACE has three
pathways: humanities, social justice and J-ROTC. BETA also has
three pathways: entrepreneurship, equipment technology institute
and web design. Students in both academies wear uniforms, a big
switch from past years. And the career academies complement the
ninth-grade academy on the first floor for freshmen.
Read more here.
New Programs at Cardozo Give
Students Extra Help to Get to College
Two new exciting programs are getting off the ground
this fall to help more students at Cardozo Education Campus get
extra help to get into college - and pay for it! The two programs
- Strive for College and Scholarship America - are providing
tools, coaching and resources to enable students to get into
college, thanks to two new generous grants totaling $350,000 from
the PepsiCo Foundation.
Strive for College is bringing undergraduate
students from Howard University as one-to-one mentors to help
about 60 low-income Cardozo seniors with college readiness,
college and scholarship applications, and the financial aid
process. Students must be academically eligible for college.
Strive uses a comprehensive curriculum that guides students
through the college application and financial aid processes
during the course of the year. The interactive curriculum
sessions are focused on bringing students and mentors together
and building excitement and motivation. Learn more about the
organization at www.striveforcollege.org.
Read more here.
AT&T Awards $2 Million to
Diplomas Now Through Communities In Schools
AT&T recently awarded $2 million to Communities
In Schools to continue its Diplomas Now collaboration and provide
site coordinators at Diplomas Now schools. That allocation is
part of a larger $5 million grant from AT&T to Communities In
Schools. The site coordinators provide intensive support to
students who have the greatest challenges. Read more here. Thank you, AT&T!
Charles and Lynn Schusterman
Family Foundation Awards $2 Million to Diplomas Now
Diplomas Now also gratefully
acknowledges the recent generous contribution from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family
Foundation, based in Tulsa, Okla. The foundation,
founded in 1987, invests in a diverse portfolio of initiatives in
several key areas: improving public education in the United
States, strengthening the Jewish community and building the
quality of life in the Schustermans' hometown of Tulsa. Thank
you, Schusterman Family Foundation!
Diplomas Now is on Twitter!
Come chat with us and follow us for
the latest news about Diplomas Now, our partner organizations,
and the schools we work in. We invite you to tweet us pictures
and fun stories from your school - we'd be happy to retweet and
even post to the Diplomas Now Facebook page!
New "Sizzle Reel" of Diplomas Now Media
Hits Posted on Website
Check out the new "sizzle reel" of media
hits for Diplomas Now! This video showcases Diplomas Now's
partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation as well. Click here to watch!
- Listen to this story on
Columbus public radio station WCBE-FM about the Columbus
school board's vote to continue Diplomas Now in three
schools. Tune in here!
Bob Balfanz argues
that communities need to strengthen public-private partnerships,
such as Diplomas Now, in this Huffington Post commentary.