The Vassar College Urban Education Initiative (VCUEI) has been connecting Vassar College to the City of Poughkeepsie public school district since 2003. The programs are designed to increase educational opportunity for public school students in Kindergarten through 12th grade and to foster a connection between Vassar and its immediate community. Successful programming will serve school students from age 5 to 18, as well as parents, teachers, and other adults. In addition, these programs will be formative in the education and possible career direction of the Vassar students.
The Poughkeepsie City School district consists of approximately 4,300 students and struggles with many of the challenges of urban schools and is one of the most stressed school districts in the State of New York. 75% of the students are in families struggling economically and a higher percentage identify as a minority race or ethnicity. The high school graduation rate is 59% which is far below the State standard of 80%. Resources are limited and Vassar’s participation in the schools provides for access to some programs which the student would not otherwise receive.
- Improve student academic interest and social opportunities in the City of Poughkeepsie;
- Offer community access to Vassar resources including cultural resources, academic support, and technology;
- Model high school graduation and college attainment to increase interest and opportunity in attending college;
- Increase collaboration among institutions of higher education, local schools, parents, and students
- Teach Vassar students to deliver academic support and apply academic work to community settings.