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Syracuse - Say Yes to Education


Business Issue:

Schaffer worked with Say Yes to Education – an innovative, non-profit organization whose mission is to dramatically increase the college graduation rates of inner city youth through supporting the students’ academic, social, and emotional development.

Consulting Action:

Schaffer supported a series of school-based Rapid Results projects that resulted in significant achievements in accelerating academic performance (i.e., improved reading, writing and numeracy scores), talent and social emotional development and operational efficiencies – including closing a $50M budget deficit.

These results were accomplished by supporting a series of project teams to accelerate District-wide performance. Through intensive work with Say Yes’ leadership team and staff, Schaffer helped strengthen the capabilities of the interdisciplinary teams responsible for providing support and advocacy in each of the schools.

One school, for instance, selected a Rapid Results goal of improving 5th grade students’ ELA writing scores by 2 or more levels (according to the New York state 6th grade ELA writing rubric) within 75 days. 

Illustrative Results:

ELA writing scores improved markedly. Within 75 days:

  • Students increased their average score from 8.75 to 12 (out of 15).
  • 19 out of 24 (79%) students improved at least 2 levels.
  • 21 out of 24 (87.5%) students showed improvement of at least 1 level.

Additional benefits noted by the team included:

  • Increased student engagement – students viewed themselves as writers.
  • Increased student stamina for writing assignments.
  • Students both appreciated and used feedback to revise their work.

Schaffer went on to help the City of Syracuse run a GE-style WorkOut to deliver universal health-care coverage to the thousands of school students who were uninsured. This involved coordinated efforts by the school district, government agencies, community-based organizations and religious institutions.

Say Yes to Education logo

Applied Schaffer Practice Area(s):