The Dudley Math Promise | City of Ideas

Posted 11/26/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Stark achievement gaps along racial and economic lines remain a defining feature of our nation's education system.  In 2009, 43 percent of White-eighth graders scored at or above Proficient on the math portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 12 and 17 percent of their Black and Hispanic counterparts, respectively, scored as well.

The consequences of this gap are evident across the life cycle and include much higher high school drop out rates, greater chances of entering college and placing into remedial/developmental courses, and consequently, much lower four year college completion rates.

In the workforce, the consequences are significant; for example, three out of four STEM jobs (72 percent) are held by Whites.

For the 2400 students attending schools in the Dudley area—the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School (DSNC), Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School (OGPS), Dearborn Middle School, Jeremiah Burke High School—mathematics coursework is often challenging if not insurmountable; access to effective remedial interventions, high-quality extra support in and out of school, and advanced coursework is limited; and adults are not informed and coached in the powerful ways that they can be supportive of students’ math success.  

The solution to this problem of access and success is a comprehensive, community-wide approach to mathematics education reform.

Project Proposed:
The Dudley Math Promise is a community-wide initiative which will ensure that all of our students succeed in Algebra, with a focus on reinventing systems which affect the success of black and brown boys in particular.  The project will be implemented in the Dudley neighborhood, referred to as the Dudley Village Campus.

The Dudley Village Campus (DVC), a union of all components of the community — residents, organizations, schools, governmental and institutional partners, businesses and service providers – works to guarantee all children sustained success in school. DVC leader Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in collaboration with the Young People’s Project (YPP) will initiative, develop, and support a neighborhood-level mathematics movement to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life.   At the same time, these young mathematicians will be involved in organizing efforts to eliminate institutional obstacles to their success and the success of the scholars that follow them.  

Following YPP’s carefully developed theory of change, this project will work at three levels:  with individual students in each of the DVC schools, with school leaders and educators as a cohort, and with community members to build new systems designed for better outcomes. 

High school and college age students will begin working to offer high quality STEM based learning experiences for elementary students at Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School (DSNCS).  These math literacy workers will also individually develop as learners, teachers, leaders and organizers through a continuum of experiences across three areas of work: Teaching/Learning, Neighborhood Organizing, and Education Policy and Advocacy. 

Through this work young people will expand their identity and sense of possibility, while also serving as role models and mentors for their younger peers.  In this way, they are challenging society’s perceptions and expectations of them, as well as expanding their own idea of their role in making change and supporting each other. More experienced peers work with younger and generally less experienced peers to create and collaborate in ways that are individually enriching, community building and culturally significant.

 In addition, the Math Promise will create spaces and experiences in neighborhoods and communities that promote learning, celebrate achievement, and strengthen connection and collaboration between students, parents, and community residents, organizations and institutions.  Community events, celebrations serve as natural spaces for students and cultural artists to develop and exercise leadership, and are tools for community building and collective action. 

In the DVC, these spaces offer unique opportunities for adults from many parts of the community to come together in support of helping our young people achieve greater heights in math.

Through this neighborhood work and with pedagogical guidance from the Boston Teacher Residency program, YPP will catalyze a neighborhood level shared instructional guidance system; enabling all adults to be working in alignment toward common goals and using common tools.

Role of Collaboration:
The nature of the Math Promise requires collaboration.  To conduct activities which are coordinated across students' lives requires partners working with families, educators and other who affect the day-to-day activities of our youth, in and out of school.

There are three primary partners for the first phase of Math Promise: DSNI, DSNCS and YPP.  Roles are as follows:

YPP will train and employ high-school and college math literacy workers (from the neighborhood and/or attending schools within the neighborhood) to engage, teach, and mentor 60 K-8 students over 20 weeks for a minimum of 3 hours per week during out-of-school time hours. 

DSNI will integrate planning for shared outcomes from the YPP work within the educator community of practice within the DVC.   This will be the platform for expansion of the YPP work to all of the DVC schools over the coming three years.

DSNCS will be both pilot school for the YPP work and key informant in terms of influencing other community based programming as it aligns to the outcomes for Math Promise.

All three partners will be working to develop and expand the use of a neighborhood level share instructional guidance system; bringing coherence to the youth's learning experience across the domains of home, school and community.

A Collaborate Boston prize will enable the Math Promise partners to launch the initiative and in turn, create a neighborhood which is supportive of success in math (and consequently, in many areas) for black and brown boys who live in Roxbury and Dorchester.   98% of the students at DSNCS are Latino and/or African American, and just under half of the entire school population is boys.

Outcomes will be measured on the micro (student achievement), mezze (school climate), and macro (neighborhood supports and community of practice) levels. 

Indicators of success will be identified and baselines captured in year one.   YPP staff will work with the DSNI/DVC Director of Data and Quality Assurance to refine and standardize existing evaluation tools. The Community of Practice will work in tandem, leveraging the efforts and expertise of others to accelerate successes, nurture innovation, and develop the capacity to prepare for scaling throughout the DVC and, potentially, throughout other place-based initiatives.

Other information:
This project is designed in the context of the Boston Promise Initiative, which is a strategic approach to revitalizing Boston’s neighborhoods. It is designed to catalyze significant change in the short term (3-5 years) and result in transformation over the longer term (10-20 years). The BPI approach will soon inform work in all of our neighborhoods - in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and through the Circle of Promise, making an impact on over 615,000 residents; especially our children.

The first neighborhood to launch the BPI approach is ours:  the Dudley area of Roxbury and North Dorchester.  In Dudley, the BPI partnership is building the Dudley Village Campus (DVC), a union of all components of the community — residents, organizations, schools, governmental and institutional partners, businesses and service providers. This emerging learning community will share a common mission: to guarantee all children sustained success in school.

Following the launch of the DVC (which is home to 18,345 residents, nearly 7,000 under age 24) the BPI partners are working with other emerging and existing place-based initiatives to develop new campuses (though they each have their own name/branding).

The BPI approach recognizes that in addition to excellent schools, enhanced and enriched learning, and opportunities for growth, every child has needs for other essentials. Our campus approach organizes and manages resources so that all children also have the following:

Basic needs met for food, shelter, safety, and health;
Caring consistent adults in their lives;
A positive peer group; and
Access to the wider world.

We know that children thrive in healthy, strong families and communities. We also know that transformation requires a community-led, multi-generational, and cross-sectoral approach.   This is what the DVC promises our young people.

Primary Contact:
Ros Everdell is Deputy Director of DSNI. She was previously Organizing Director and has been with DSNI since 1988. Her organizing work is known for its deep-rooted community engagement with a strong focus on youth development, education and partnerships. She helped to found the GOTCHA Youth Jobs Collaborative and the Boston Parent Organizing Network. She is featured in the book Streets of Hope by Medoff & Skar (South End Press, 1994) and the PBS documentary “Holding Ground” by Lipman & Mahan (New Day Films, 1995). Before coming to DSNI, she was the New England staff coordinator for the ’88 Jackson for President Campaign and the staff director for the Boston Rainbow Coalition. Prior to that, she worked as an organizer in New York City for ten years on welfare rights, food, hunger, and women’s issues. She holds a certificate from the Boston University Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and a Masters in Community Economic Development. Since 2004 she has been a field education supervisor for Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She is a former board member of Neighborhood Involvement in Community Education Daycare and of the Haymarket People’s Fund.

The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) is a nonprofit community-based planning and organizing entity rooted in the Roxbury/North Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston. DSNI's approach to neighborhood revitalization is comprehensive including economic, human, physical, and environmental growth. It was formed in 1984 when residents of the Dudley Street area came together out of fear and anger to revive their neighborhood that was devastated by arson, disinvestment, neglect and redlining practices, and protect it from outside speculators.

DSNI works to implement resident-driven plans partnering with nonprofit organizations, community development corporations (CDCs), businesses and religious institutions serving the neighborhood, as well as banks, government agencies, corporations and foundations. The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative has grown into a collaborative effort of over 3,000 residents, businesses, non-profits and religious institutions members committed to revitalizing this culturally diverse neighborhood of 24,000 people and maintaining its character and affordability. DSNI is the only community-based nonprofit in the country which has been granted eminent domain authority over abandoned land within its boundaries.

Partner 1:
Omowale Moses is the National Director and was a founding member of the Young People's Project (YPP), which works with high school and college students to utilize mathematics as a tool for personal and community transformation, seeking to “organize young people to radically change their education and the way they relate to it.”

YPP evolved out of the Algebra Project, which grew out of the civil rights activism of the Algebra Project's founder and winner of the MacArthur Foundation's Genius Award, Robert P. Moses, Omo Moses's father.

Mr. Moses was born in Tanzania, East Africa, in 1972. One of four siblings, he grew up in Cambridge, becoming a scholar athlete and leading his high school basketball team to a state championship in 1990. He attended Pittsburgh and George Washington Universities on full athletic scholarships. At George Washington, where he majored in mathematics and minored in creative writing, he received the Black Issues in Higher Education Sports – Scholar Award as well as the school's Creative Writing Award. In February 2010, NBC News and chose Mr. Moses as one of its “History Makers in the Making.”Mission: The Young People's Project (YPP) uses Math Literacy Work to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life, and in doing so involves them in efforts to eliminate institutional obstacles to their success.
Vision:  YPP envisions a day when every young person — regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class — has access to a high quality education and the skills, attributes, and community support s/he needs to successfully meet the challenges of their generation.

Partner 2:
Jesse Solomon is Executive Director of the Boston Plan for Excellence. He is also co-founder and Executive Director of the Boston Teacher Residency. He taught middle and high school math for ten years at the King Open School in Cambridge, Brighton High School in Boston, and City On A Hill Public Charter School in Boston, where he was a founding teacher, lead teacher for curriculum and instruction, and a member of the board of directors. While at City On A Hill, he founded The Teachers' Institute, a school-based teacher preparation program.

He has been an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a National Board certified teacher. Mr. Solomon holds a bachelor's in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) recruits talented college graduates, career changers and community members of all ages and gives them the tools to make an immediate impact in the classrooms of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Combining a yearlong classroom apprenticeship with targeted master’s-level coursework, the program offers much more than just an affordable route into teaching. BTR provides every Resident with the practical learning, hands-on experience and ongoing support essential to any successful career in teaching.

Partner 3:
Ms. Landry began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was a founding educator at Monarch Academy in Oakland, California, where she taught K/1 and 2/3 for five years. She went on to help plan another charter school in Oakland, Berkley Maynard Academy, where she worked as a lead educator, literacy specialist, and later the school’s principal. Ms. Landry graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Government and American Studies and earned an MA in Educational Leadership from San Jose State.

The Dudley Street School is designed with one goal in mind: success for every child. Our innovative school breaks free from traditional school practices that have left too many urban students behind.

We aim to graduate resilient, hard-working students who are proficient readers, writers, problem solvers, and thinkers. We have organized our school to ensure each individual student reaches these goals.

Our unique approach includes:

high academic expectations for all students.
a coherent instructional system that helps all adults work toward the same goals.
individualized learning and flexible grouping so students get the support they need when they need it.
more time for both students and adults to learn.
exceptional, committed teachers who collaborate to support every child.
shared leadership that empowers all members of the community to contribute to better outcomes for our students.
a full suite of social and emotional programs provided by community partners.
deep relationships and frequent communication with families.
a friendly, safe, fun, and nurturing environment for everyone!

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