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REACH (Raising Educational Achievement Coalition of Harlem)
In 2012, TC launched the Raising Educational Achievement Coalition of Harlem (REACH). REACH aims to improve students' educational outcomes in a group of high-need PreK-12 schools in Harlem. It seeks to demonstrate how universities can effectively and strategically partner with public schools in sustainable and cost-effective ways to help address the needs of children and families in distressed communities.
REACH has been an active partner with New York City and New York State Departments of Education as they have expanded the role of community schools to strengthen children's educational outcomes. Since 2013, REACH has participated in state and city-funded efforts such as the Community School Grant Initiative, the Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention program, and New York City's Renewal Schools agenda as a lead community partner with area schools. In October 2019, REACH received a Full Service Community School grant from the U.S. Department of Education to deepen its work with two area schools.
The four schools that REACH currently partners with are P.S. 154 Harriett Tubman Elementary School, P.S. 36 Margaret Douglas Elementary School, Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School, and The Heritage School.
TC’s unique approach to school partnership is shaped by two interrelated principles. The first is the idea of "university-assisted" schools, which refers to deep and sustained partnerships, tight cohesion of efforts by school and university personnel, and shared accountability for student academic success. The second principle is “comprehensive educational opportunity," which brings into focus the range of specific factors that have the greatest impact on student development and learning. Those factors derive from research conducted by TC faculty and reflect TC’s expertise in teaching, health, psychology, and leadership.
REACH therefore implements a set of coherent and strategic actions that increases access to comprehensive educational opportunity. Through REACH, TC seeks to improve the educational outcomes of Harlem youth by working with principals, teachers, families, and students to design and implement coherent school improvement plans that address six key areas:
Teaching and Learning: Leadership – Support school leaders to develop, implement, and monitor an effective strategic plan for change and continuous improvement that addresses well-defined problems of practice and involves a school’s use of structures (i.e., schedules, assessments, etc.), resources (i.e., human, financial, etc.), and practices (i.e., inquiry process, supervision, and professional development—PD, etc.).
Teaching and Learning: Pedagogical Practices – Refine instructional practices within schools to improve student learning outcomes through research-based PD interventions, designed to build the instructional capacity of teachers and teacher teams in the areas of collaborative inquiry process, rigorous instructional planning and delivery, and pedagogical content knowledge.
Early Childhood – Identify opportunities and support children’s access to high quality, developmentally appropriate programs that prepare children to learn on grade level.
Expanded Learning Opportunities – Engage students in high-quality learning during and outside the school day responding to specific needs as evidenced by data, expose them to new and diverse experiences, support academic, social and physical development, and align to school-day learning.
Physical and Mental Health – Identify opportunities and support students’ development of health literacy, use of positive health practices and access to and utilization of community health services so that they are better prepared to effectively participate in their learning.
Family Support and Engagement – Cultivate knowledge, skills, and confidence of families to engage with schools so that their efforts to support their children’s academic and social development are consistent, coordinated, and meaningful.