- 95% of our 2014 graduates were accepted to college.
- 84% of our high school students graduate within 4 years.
- 77% of our students are eligible for free/reduced lunch.
Our schools primarily serve a high-needs population from neighborhoods where access to high-quality education has historically been lacking. 77% of our students qualify for free/reduced lunch. 21% classified as having special education needs. Our students are predominantly Hispanic (43%) and African-American (31%).
Our students enter far behind grade level in key subject areas. Only 18% of our incoming 9th graders were proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and less than a quarter were proficient in Math. And only a about a quarter of our incoming 6th graders were proficient in ELA or Math. In all cases our incoming proficiency rates were lower than the citywide averages.
Our high school graduation rates significantly outpace the city average. Our network’s 2014 average 4-year graduation rate rose from 76% to 84%, which far outpaces the City’s 2013 rate of 66%.
We are helping to close the achievement gap. Our 79% graduation rate for black students in 2013 beats the 78% citywide graduation rate for white students that same year, and our Hispanic students came close to reaching that mark with a 2013 graduation rate of 73%.
College acceptances were very high among our graduates and approached our organizational goal of 100%. 95% of our 2014 graduates were accepted to college. Almost half of our high schools had 100% college acceptance rates.
Our 2014 graduates will be attending a range of colleges including Brandeis, Cornell, Dickinson, NYU, Skidmore, St. Lawrence, Vanderbilt, and Wheaton, as well as the full range of SUNY and CUNY schools, among others.
Our students’ college enrollment continues to increase. The 6-month college enrollment rate of our graduates went from 62% to 68%, moving closer to our strategic plan goal of 75%.
Our network schools consistently performed well on NYC Department of Education accountability measures:
- All but one of our schools (90%) received the highest or second highest rating in their most recent Department of Education Quality Reviews, compared to 54% of schools citywide. And 30% of our schools received the highest rating, compared to just 6.5% of schools citywide.
- 82% of our schools received A's or B’s on their most recent NYC Department of Education Progress Reports, compared to just 61% Citywide.
Overall our middle schools kept pace with the City on the State ELA and Math tests, and showed improvement from last year in both subjects. 27% of our middle school students achieved proficiency in the NY State English Language Arts (ELA) test, compared to 25% the year before. And 27% showed proficiency in Math compared to 24% last year. Average citywide proficiencies were 27% in ELA and 29% in Math. An analysis of performance by historically underserved subgroups—Hispanic and Black students—shows our students outperforming their citywide counterparts in both ELA and Math.
Teachers consider our schools “great places to work”. On the annual NY School Survey, 89% of our responding teachers reported that they look forward to coming to work each day. Teacher retention across our schools is high, with 85% of our teachers having returned in 2013-14. As a result of multiple years of high teacher retention, the average years of teaching experience for our network teachers has also gone up significantly from 4.5 in 2010-11 to 6.98 this past school year.
Our Crew Orientation program had a positive effect on school culture and provided students with opportunities for personal and interpersonal growth. All incoming 6th and 9th grade students participate in our 3-5 day Crew Orientation. 95% of students reported that they learned how to set goals and achieve them. 96% cited that they learned new approaches for taking on challenges and 96% said they learned how to overcome challenges as a group. In terms of school culture, 100% of Crew Advisors reported that the course helped support and develop school culture and character; and 100% of these teachers reported that felt better able to support their students academically, socially, and emotionally.
Our students produce high-quality work and real-world products. Our students are required to examine real-world problems that need real-world solutions. They must think critically and creatively, synthesize complex information, and find solutions to 21st-century problems. These solutions are reflected in the real-world products they create - like water quality analyses presented to local and national elected officials, a published guide for new immigrants to help them transition to American culture, playground design concepts presented to architectural firms with city contracts, and public transportation proposals for MTA and public officials.
Our schools are increasingly recognized for their innovation and as models for others. Metropolitan was selected to be a host school as part of the NYC Department of Education's Learning Partner program which partners middle schools that employ exemplary practices with either new schools or schools in need of improvement. WHEELS was profiled on PBS as a successful school where individualized attention, an ethos of support, and strong sense of community has helped propel its 98% Latino student body toward academic and personal success. Hahn was spotlighted by the UFT as a school offering a model for “how high schools can be places where parents, communities, students, educators and other stakeholders can collaborate to achieve the best outcomes for students”. And Joshua Steckel, BCS’ College Counselor and co-author of Hold Fast to Dreams, and several of his former students were featured on the Leonard Lopate Show and at a New School event titled "Working Towards College Success: Obstacles and Strategies."
Our schools are breaking ground in the area of performance-based assessment. Four of our schools—Baldwin, BCS, Leaders and Hahn—are part of the New York State Performance Consortium and receive waivers from the State allowing them to evaluate students using in-depth college preparatory projects in place of the Math, Science, and Social Studies Regents.
Our schools are leading the way in implementing school-based restorative justice practices. As highlighted in Chalkbeat, Validus runs a number of restorative justice programs, such as their Fairness Committee, aimed at rethinking school discipline and providing positive alternatives to the harsh punitive measures that can harm a young person’s self-esteem and academic achievement. In support of these practices, Baldwin principal Brady Smith, penned an opinion piece for the Gotham Gazette encouraging the new City administration to support the growth of restorative practices in schools. And on the prevention side, Leaders was spotlighted on ABC for their highly successful peer mediation program aimed at ensuring that low-level conflicts are addressed early on so that all students feel safe and supported at school.
"This Educational Leadership Award... really goes to NYC Outward Bound, which does truly extraordinary work in the field of education."
-Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
“NYC Outward Bound is…defying the lie, defying the myth, defying the stereotypes about what children can and cannot do.”
—Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
“NYC Outward Bound, we think the world of you. We think you are outstanding: all the energy, all the work and the vision that you have -- but more importantly, your partnership with the Department of Education will allow our students to grow and prosper and be successful adults."
-NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott
“This kind of innovative school…is an example of how all our schools should be.”
—President Obama after visiting an Expeditionary Learning school in Washington D.C.
“There should be an Expeditionary Learning School in every neighborhood in this country, as it is the only design, that I am aware of, where experience is at the center and the things which we experience are those we best remember.”
—Tom Vander Ark, former Executive Director, Education, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
“Outward Bound’s involvement with the creation of new schools has had a direct impact of the success of our students. I appreciate your support as we build on our vision for public education: that all students will be given the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.”
—Joel Klein, former Chancellor, NYC Department of Education
"In the years that I’ve been teaching, [Expeditionary Learning is] the single best model of learning for kids and the most satisfying model for teachers, because the kids are working on real projects, their work holds great value, and you are stretching them academically."
—Jennifer Wood, teacher
“When you walk through the NYC Outward Bound schools, you really do get the sense that these kids are working with very high expectations, that they really are being pushed and prepared for college in all the ways possible.”
—Adam Tucker, Senior Program Officer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The American Youth Policy Forum gave Expeditionary Learning a 5-star rating for linking community service to academics and building "an ethos …of service to others."