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Students in the Yonkers Public Schools have an opportunity to take college-level classes through a number of different programs that aim to better prepare them for the more rigorous courses they will encounter in college.

Since Superintendent Dr. Edwin M. Quezada took office in 2016, he has prioritized directing resources into programs and other supports that will help ensure their graduates’ success once they leave high school.

About 26 percent of Yonkers students participate in one of the district’s several Dual Enrollment programs.

Students enrolled in the Smart Scholars program are able to take college courses through partnerships with SUNY’s Farmingdale State College, The College of Westchester, and Syracuse University.

Yonkers students also have an opportunity to take college-level courses through Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) programs offered at three high schools. Students in the P-TECH programs are able to graduate from high school with an Associate’s degree through a structured six-year program that includes deep relationships with local employers.

District leaders also recognize that many students need additional supports to be successful in high school, and ultimately ready for college.

Yonkers’s well-regarded My Brother’s Keeper program connects young men of color with mentors who provide one-on-one support guiding students in thinking about and preparing for college and careers.

Yonkers also participates in the Gear-Up Program, a federal initiative administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) and designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and excel in postsecondary education.

“College persistence can become a reality for any student when the entire learning community understands, is informed, and believes that a college or postsecondary education is attainable irrespective of child’s life circumstances,” said Quezada. “The process begins in kindergarten. School leaders must stay focused on the big prize: on-time graduation. Teachers are attentive to building strong foundational learning. Parents and guardians are educated about the opportunities as well as academic and financial resources available to their child. And students are expected to be decision-makers regarding their future. For under-served populations, resources must be readily available in multiple languages for parents. College acceptance and persistence can be daunting for families of first-time college-goers.”

Of the 1,126 graduates of the classes of 2012 and 2013 who went on to New York colleges and participated in the Tuition Assistance Program, 25% graduated on-time and 53% graduated within six years, rates that district leaders believe will improve for future classes that have had access to new supports and resources.

Ed Trust–NY is periodically highlighting how high schools and school districts across New York help their graduates to and through college. Learn more at edtrustny.org/ToAndThrough.