Venture Philanthropy / Strategic Partnerships

East Harlem Pride School Collaboration

In 2017, the foundation renewed its support to three schools in East Harlem that had historically pooled their athletic resources into one sports team that competes against other schools under the name “East Harlem Pride.” Our funding seeks to expand the collaboration between the three schools, each of which has particular strengths that can be shared, into areas beyond athletics.

The schools, Park East High School, Central Park East High School, and The Heritage School, are close to each other and serve predominantly low-income youth. The foundation supports each school in meeting its own identified needs while also investing in shared professional development and teaching techniques so the strengths of each school can be leveraged by the other two.

Park East has a successful math program while Central Park East has an outstanding college guidance program and Heritage has an art focus. Each school is taking the lead on one component of the collaborative:

  • Park East is focusing on cross-school teacher and academic programming development, especially in algebra instruction.
  • Central Park East is partnering with College Access: Research and Action to develop a working group to share best practices from its college access program, and will organize two shared college trips for students from all three high schools.
  • Heritage is engaging its existing partner, Urban Arts Partnership, to aid in establishing unified systems and routines for after-school extended learning opportunities (including student selection criteria).

Throughout this three-pronged approach to school improvement and college readiness, the three schools are tracking improvements in academic performance (using pre- and post-test scores and Regents exam performance), grade promotion, attendance, in-school engagement, college applications, FAFSA completion, and college matriculation.

The collaboration has already yielded dramatic increases in qualifying scores on AP exams as well as the Algebra, History, and Science Regents, and college matriculation and persistence rates.