Menlo Park, CA – October 19, 2006 – The Center for a New Generation, an innovative after-school academic enrichment program founded over a decade ago by Peninsula philanthropist Susan Ford and then Stanford University Provost Condoleezza Rice, has been expanded to two new school in the Ravenswood City School District.
The program, which began in 1991 at the James Flood Magnet School in Menlo Park in 1991, has been operated at the James Flood by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula since 1996. The goal of the program is to increase the high school graduation rate in the Ravenswood City School District by helping middle school students prepare for high school and college; Currently over 50% of students in the district do not complete high school.
Since being established, the Center for a New Generation has focused on core subjects including Math and Language Arts. Electives such Art and Music have been offered to help students express their imagination and creativity. The Center, which serves K-8th grade students is open everyday afters school. In recent years, 100% of graduating eighth graders have been accepted to prestigious private high schools including St. Francis, Sacred Heart, Eastside College Prep or other college matriculation focused programs in the community. 100% of graduating
Until recently, the Center for a New Generation could only serve 130 students annually. Based on its success, the program has now been replicated at two more schools in the Ravenswood City School District – the Edison McNair Academy in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven Community School in eastern Menlo Park.
The curriculum at the Center for a New Generation has recently been improved after the Clubs introduced an innovative literacy curriculum developed by BELL (Building Education Leaders for Life), an organization started by Hispanic and African-American students from Harvard Law School. Founded in 1992, BELL now runs after-school literacy programs in schools in Boston, New York City, Washington, and Baltimore. It has a strong track record of proven success with students similar to those served by the Clubs
Today, the Center for a New Generation serves over 300 students and has a waiting list. Those waiting go to the organizations clubhouses where they find many of the same programs and support to help them with their studies and social development. The Clubs are currently exploring opportunities for additional sites both in the Ravenswood District and in Redwood City.
We are excited about our expansion and enhancement, but more so with the impact we are having says Clubs Executive Director Peter Fortenbaugh. It is important that children graduate from high school. He continued. Research has shown that just one high school dropout can result in over $500,000 in societal costs including welfare and incarceration later in life. This is about economics as much as it is about futures. It makes sense and is the right thing to do.
Susan Ford Dorsey, the co-founder of the Center for a New Generation program echo’s Fortenbaugh’s comments and is currently helping to raise funds to support the program. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also pleased by the expansion. She recently hosted several graduates from the Center for a New Generation at her office in Washington DC. She plans to visit the new sites on her next trip to the Bay Area.