In 1988, the then senior Governor Cuomo called upon the state to invest in critical support for youth and address the significant drop out rate by stating, “the failure of many young New Yorkers to complete their secondary education limits their opportunity for a life of fulfillment, prevents them from advancing into postsecondary education and hinders the State’s efforts to provide a well-trained workforce for business and industry in New York.” By 1989, Universities from across NYS responded to the legislative proposals put forth and Liberty Partnerships Programs were formed.
The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) is a community school model that brings together universities, K-12 school districts, and community support programs to provide comprehensive services to our most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth. LPP places full-time staff within the school districts to work directly with students; providing a range of services to ensure that each student graduates fully prepared for college, work and life. The LPP uses a case management model designed to deliver broad supports, tailored to each student. Support services include individual and family counseling, academic immersion and tutoring, leadership development, social and emotional skill development, and college and workforce preparation. Opportunities for enrichment occur regularly within the program to keep students engaged and to deepen the development of skills critical to success such as empathy, conflict resolution, communication, and team building. Our Liberty students give countless volunteer hours to their communities, take an active role in civic engagement, and participate in community service projects with lasting effects.
LPP has demonstrated success in creating a “culture of college” for our youth. Many of our students are the first in their families to graduate and go on to postsecondary education. These countless graduates make up our NYS workforce today and include lawyers, teachers, business, military, nurses, pharmacists, and technology leaders.
Thirty years later, and the need for LPP supports persist. Increased rigor and expectations matched by rising poverty rates and incidents of trauma make LPP services arguably more important now than ever. The LPP supports provide a tool for districts to incorporate critical social and emotional learning (SEL) to their students. Consider the National Resilience Institute report that states, “72 percent of children and youth will experience at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) before the age of 18.” Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are divided into three types, which are Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual), Neglect (physical, emotional), and Household Dysfunction (incarcerated relative, mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, divorce, deployed family member and loss of a parent). Everyday, the LPP serves students who come to school expected to learn but who are facing a multitude of home factors that make it seemingly impossible to focus and learn. The LPP, by providing these critical SEL supports, gives students the tools they need to be more effective and to succeed when everything seems stacked against them.
The Liberty Partnerships Program will continue to strive to be an elite program; providing timely, effective, comprehensive and quality services to students across NYS and as and integral part of the fabric of every school. Join us in our efforts.