Project U-Turn Fellowships

Posted by Philadelphia Youth Network on August 15, 2016

Project U-Turn is glad to announce two Fellowship projects that Project U-Turn collaborative members will lead, beginning this Fall. Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) and the Opportunity Network, School District of Philadelphia will each host a Fellow for the next two years to advance the Project U-Turn agenda.

The Project U-Turn Fellowship aims to advance the collaborative’s work to engage and reengage youth ages 12-24, so that they can earn a secondary credential and connect to post-secondary education or self-sustaining employment.

PUT Fellowship host sites were selected based on their ability to demonstrate the potential to utilize the Fellow to support changes in systems, policies and practices to better serve youth and whose projects aligned with Project U-Turn’s renewed goals and strategies.

Project U-Turn Goals
1. Increase the number of young people who reengage and complete high quality reengagement programs
2. Reduce the number of youth who dropout of high school

Applications are due Friday, August 26, directly to host sites. Contact information for each site can be found at the end of each Fellowship project description.

Opportunity Network, School District of Philadelphia
The SDP created the Opportunity Network as a specialty division aimed at improving the provision of schooling for Opportunity Youth who are at risk or already detached from school. The Opportunity Network is comprised of District-managed and external provider-managed education options that focus on educating formerly disengaged students through to high school completion in preparation for postsecondary credential attainment and/or self-sustaining employment. In total, the Opportunity Network educates more than 5,000 students each year across 28 school programs.

The Project U-Turn Fellow will work to improve the retention rates of reengaged students, leading to more students graduating from Multiple Pathways programs. Based on the most recent data from the District’s Performance Office, students who reengage with education by enrolling in one of the Opportunity Network Multiple Pathways programs (Accelerated and Dual Enrollment) have an average retention rate of 54%. That is to say, nearly half of reengaged students do not stay enrolled in a Multiple Pathways program from one school year to the next, and do not earn a high school diploma.

This Fellowship will require the Fellow to: publish data reports on the number of students enrolled in Multiple Pathways programs; develop relationships with Multiple Pathways programs; research promising practices for retaining reengaged students in school that can be utilized at the program-, District-, and City government- levels; and work collaboratively with Opportunity Network leadership to convene major stakeholders who support reengaged students.

The Fellow will work within the SDP Re-Engagement Center (REC), alongside REC staff, to ensure an ongoing alignment of efforts, activities and goals in support of improved reengagement strategies and program retention rates.

Fellow Requirements: Experience, Education, Skills, and Knowledge
• Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; Master’s degree preferred.
• Four years of full-time, paid, professional experience in alternative education, urban high schools or non-profits working with youth at risk of academic failure.
• Experience managing academic and social support programs inside high schools or school districts with a track record in data collection and reporting.
• Experience managing programs for at-risk, secondary school students with a strong customer service focus.
• Demonstrated knowledge of:
o the methods and techniques used in effective program planning, design and administration
o youth development for at-risk adolescents
o administrative and budgetary practices and procedures for federal grants, and
o the uses and capabilities of personal computers and their software applications.
• Ability to:
o assess the effectiveness of programmatic activities and to make recommendations for modifications as needed
o coordinate and oversee the work of staff and attain effective results
o maintain records, monitor program activities and prepare reports on a timely basis.
o work across complex systems to create effective programs
o exercise sound judgment and discretion in applying and interpreting policies and procedures
o communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and
o establish and maintain effective working relationships.

For more information and to apply for this Fellowship, contact:
Majeedah Scott, Director, Multiple Pathways to Graduation, School District of Philadelphia
(215) 400-6996

Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Founded in 1980, the mission of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) is to improve the lives and life chances of the region’s children through thoughtful and informed advocacy. We work to ensure that children have all the basic building blocks they need for success including quality education, reliable health care and a dependable support network to guide them as they grow. We push for change by publishing original research, mobilizing citizens and organizational partners and providing high quality direct services.

PCCY is seeking a Project U-Turn (PUT) Fellow to focus on three sub-populations of Philadelphia youth that are at a disproportionate risk of dropping and/or failing to re-engage:

Children with involvement in the child welfare system
Research shows that children who miss a lot of school in the early grades are at heightened risk of falling behind and failing to graduate, and they are the focus of this project. By focusing on DHS-involved children in the early grades, this project will develop a set of practical strategies to prevent attendance issues before they become major roadblocks to high school completion and life success.

Children with involvement in the juvenile justice system
Young people with delinquency placements face special challenges to re-engaging with schools upon their return to Philadelphia. This project will boost their successful re-engagement by developing a well informed set of strategies and recommendations around integrating students returning from juvenile justice facilities, including, for example, improving access to these students’ academic records to place them in appropriate courses.

Parenting teens
By focusing on the special needs of parenting teens, this project will develop a set of practical strategies to improve access to child care so teen moms stay in school.

Fellow Requirements: Experience, Education, Skills, and Knowledge
• Masters in education, social work/social policy, government affairs, public health, criminal justice or a related discipline or other professional degree (JD, MBA)
• 2 years working experience in a position with involvement with at least one of the populations that is the focus of this proposal
• Familiarity with the role and general operations of the major child serving systems in the city and state is desirable (e.g., School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia DHS, Philadelphia Court System, PA DHS, PDE)
• Ability to respond quickly and with good judgment to new opportunities, juggle multiple tasks and adapt plans in response to changing circumstances
• Strong data analysis skills including proficiency with excel
• Excellent written and oral communication skills including the ability to represent PCCY in meetings with project partners, members of the public and public officials
For more information and to apply for this Fellowship, contact:
Steven Fynes, Administrative Director
215-563-5848 x11

For general information about Project U-Turn and/or these Fellowships, contact:
Roxy Barnebey, Senior Associate, External Relations, Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN)

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