Bloomberg, who visited the city last week, donated $5 million to the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the organization announced, for a new education program that will provide students the opportunity to accelerate their high school careers and connect to post-secondary education and employment.
The program will focus on the city’s African-American male students--the population that has driven the city's graduation rates up and dropout rates down in recent years. Last year, a 6 percentage point increase in the city's graduation rate over last year, to 72 percent, was driven for the second year in a row by the traditionally at-risk, African-American male population.
“Baltimore’s high school graduation rate has improved in recent years, but is still far too low," said Jane Sundius, Director of the Education and Youth Development Program for OSI-Baltimore. "Many of our youth face economic hardship and would benefit from programs that allow them to move more quickly through high school and connect them directly to college and work opportunities.
The Accelerated Pathway Initiative is an innovative approach that we believe will help many more kids stick with school and see that a promising future is within their reach. Mayor Bloomberg’s gift will make these opportunities a reality.”
According to OSI, the gift from Mayor Bloomberg will support the development of the Accelerated Pathway Initiative over five years and will fund:
• planning and start-up support for four of the Initiative's program sites;
• mentoring and learning-to-work components at each site, to ensure that students have strong support and clear, expedited pathways to employment and post-secondary education;
• youth development activities at each site, to engage students and ignite their interest in rigorous preparation for future learning and work endeavors; and • data analysis, to assess program needs and effectiveness.