Will Rochester “Say Yes” For Its Students

This article, Buffalo shows turnaround of urban schools is possible, but it takes a lot more than just money
Black and Latino students have seen the most dramatic improvements, significantly narrowing the graduation gap with their white peers
by Amadou Diallo states:

“BUFFALO, N.Y. — When 18-year-old Karolina Espinosa looks back to her freshman year at Buffalo’s Hutchinson Central Technical High School, graduation seemed like a long shot. “At the time,” she said, “both of my parents were incarcerated. I had trouble with reading, and I had problems with attendance.” But in May, sitting in the office of her school’s family SUPPORT specialist, Joell Stubbe, Karolina talked excitedly about going to Buffalo State, where she’s been accepted into the class of 2021.

Karolina credits the turnaround to her relationship with Stubbe. “She’s like my older sister,” Karolina said. “I don’t really talk about my problems … or deal with my emotions with people. I don’t even talk to my [real] sister about them or cry in front of her. And I do that with [Stubbe]. Without her I wouldn’t even be in school, honestly. I would have been a dropout.”

As an in-school family support specialist, Stubbe serves as a liaison between students, families and a number of health, legal and academic support services provided by local community organizations. Stubbe has a counterpart in every public school in the city, yet neither she nor her colleagues are employees of the Buffalo Public School system. Their positions were created by and are funded through Say Yes to Education Buffalo, a local chapter of a New York City-based nonprofit.

In Buffalo, a Rust Belt city still grappling with high poverty and an under-educated population, the results of the Say Yes program have exceeded expectations. Since its launch in 2012, the city’s high school graduation rate has climbed 15 points, to 64 percent, according to New York State education department figures, the highest rate the city has achieved in more than a decade.”

All children need someone they can trust and rely on.

This program provides students with the guidance they need.

Join the Movement to Save Our Children!

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