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District joins SUNY, community partners to launch Albany Promise

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 7, 2012) -- Students and families in three Albany neighborhoods are the focus of an ambitious new partnership launched May 7 under the leadership of State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.


The Albany Promise Cradle-to-Career Partnership brings together SUNY and the City School District of Albany with regional civic organizations, colleges and elected officials in a commitment to improve the education pipeline locally. The initiative will focus on Albany's Arbor Hill, South End and West Hill neighborhoods and four district elementary schools serving those communities -- Arbor Hill Elementary School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, Schuyler Achievement Academy and Sheridan Prepartory Academy.


About 150 people attended the morning launch ceremony at Giffen, which included a performance by students from the school's orchestra. An evening event also was held at Albany High School. The launch provided the partners an opportunity to release The Albany Promise 2012: Baseline Report To The Community, which provides a snapshot of current student academic achievement and well-being data such as kindergarten readiness, proficiency in English and math, and high school graduation rates. The report also includes statistics on bullying, substance abuse, missed classes and more. The metrics in the report were chosen to create a student roadmap to success. Subsequent reports on the partnership’s progress will be issued each year.


Click here to download an overview of the Albany Promise. You also can read more in the May 7 Times Union and the May 8 Times Union, as well as a Times Union editorial about the partnership.


“The launch of Albany Promise marks the critical first step toward a brighter future for all of Albany’s schoolchildren,” Zimpher said. “SUNY and the national Strive Network are proud to support this effort. The Albany Promise partners are to be commended for their commitment to working together to improve the city’s education system and ensure that every student in Albany has an opportunity for success within that system. Congratulations to all involved.” 


Zimpher co-chairs the Albany Promise along with Superintendent Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D., and Albany Common Council member Barbara Smith, who also co-founed the Albany Family Education Alliance.


"Our school district and our community owe a large debt of gratitude to Chancellor Zimpher for her leadership in concentrating the focus and efforts of this comprehensive group on building a brighter future for all of our city’s young people,” Dr. Colucciello said. “We are fortunate in Albany and the Capital Region to have so many outstanding partners who care so deeply about our children and families. I know the Albany Promise will make a difference for our community.”

“Albany Promise is an exciting and long-overdue initiative that relies upon the leadership and expertise of parents and community members in the target neighborhoods to design effective strategies for their children’s success,” Smith said. “Albany Promise brings a strongly collaborative and evidence-based approach to addressing one of our city’s most pressing concerns.”


Partners began meeting in February 2011, and have since developed a cradle-to-career education vision, mission and goals for the Albany community. The work will at first focus on the most economically challenged areas of the city in the three targeted neighborhoods, with their efforts ultimately brought to scale across Albany. Baseline data for the neighborhoods initially targeted by Albany Promise include:

  • Of the 2,834 eligible children ages 0 to 4, only 181 – or 6.4% – are enrolled in licensed, registered child care

  • 25% of fourth-graders are proficient in English language arts and 35% are proficient in math

  • On average, ninth-grade students miss 18 school days per academic year due to unexcused absence, suspension or incarceration

  • 45% of high school students passed the English Regents exam with a score of 75 or better

  • 58% of residents ages 20 to 24 are employed

  • 60% of children under age 5 live in poverty


“As mayor of the City of Albany, and a former teacher and school administrator, education is something I am incredibly passionate about, and I am honored to be a part of this important initiative,” said Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. “We must recognize that there are significant issues and challenges facing our students today. The Albany Promise 2012: Baseline Report is a vital tool to help us understand how to address these issues and best meet the needs of our students throughout their academic careers, and their lives. Every child and every situation is different, which is why the vast resources of this partnership are so important; together we can create an education revolution in our Capital City.”


Albany Promise partners will meet monthly to align and leverage the city’s existing resources to drive better results in education. They will evaluate the baseline report and work collaboratively to improve the metrics and give every child access to high-quality early learning programs and services; ambitious, rigorous and comprehensive education reforms; college- and career-readiness programs; and family and community supports, including improved family engagement in student learning through adult education opportunities.


SUNY is also an important partner in cradle-to-career networks that have formed throughout New York in Clinton County, Harlem, Rochester and Queens. In addition, many other neighborhoods in the state have expressed interest in pursuing this major education reform initiative.


Strive, a cradle to career framework that Zimpher helped create in Ohio, has increased academic achievement as well as kindergarten preparedness and college graduation rates in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky over the last six years. This evidence-based educational reform initiative has produced positive trends in college and high school graduation rates, fourth-grade reading and math scores and the number of preschool children prepared for kindergarten.


The national network launched in 2011 as a way to connect communities who are building cradle-to-career civic infrastructure using the Strive framework. The network enables members to share expertise, identify and adapt programs that work and develop effective tools and resources that can be brought to bear on specific challenges.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 468,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with more than 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and nurture all students to be responsible citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners to successfully compete in the global community by providing an academically rigorous and safe environment in partnership with parents, students and the community. The district serves about 8,700 students in 15 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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