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New Watertown Liberty Partnership Grant Awarded to Jefferson Community College

Jefferson Community College (JCC), in partnership with Watertown City School District and the Watertown Family YMCA, was awarded a $1.25 million grant from New York State to implement a year-round Liberty Partnership Program for the next five years. The Watertown Liberty Partnership Program (WLPP) is designed to engage intermediate and high school students in a series of support services that helps prepare them to graduate high school, become college students and succeed in post-secondary education. Liberty Partnership has several successful grant initiatives across the State.

“Jefferson Community College is proud to be part of another community-partnership program to benefit students from Watertown,” said President Carole A. McCoy. “We recognize the importance of early intervention as it relates to academic success in College and together, in collaboration with community partners, we can accomplish more to help students be successful.”

The partners will provide structured and individualized support services through a hybrid school-based, after-school and summer program model. A total of 200 at-risk students in grades 5-12 will be served in each year of the grant. Watertown is one of the most economically challenged cities in the State. Over 43% of children are living at or below 125% of poverty (U.S. Census, 2015), which correlates to lower graduation rates and post-secondary school success. The goal of the program is to increase secondary school persistence, increase high school graduation rates, and prepare students to successfully transition to postsecondary education and the workforce.

“The Watertown City School District is beyond grateful for the Liberty Partnership Program with SUNY Jefferson and the Watertown YMCA. We are thrilled to provide after school programs for our students in grades 5-12 with our community partners,” said Patricia B. LaBarr, assistant superintendent for instruction. “Together, we can make a difference! This is another win for our kids and community.”

"The Watertown Family YMCA is proud to be a part of the Liberty Partnership with JCC and the Watertown City School District" noted Denise K. Young, CEO of the YMCA. "Helping young people at risk achieve academic success is a high priority for YMCA youth programs and for our community. We look forward to this important work" stated Young.

Each student will be assigned a mentor who will work in close partnership with Watertown City School District guidance counselors and follow a personalized learning plan that sets goals and connects students with needed services, such as tutoring and counseling. Students will also be offered summer programs, day camps, internships and more.

About Liberty Partnerships:
The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) was established in 1988 under Section 612, Subdivision 6 of the Education Law to address the significant dropout rate among New York’s youth.

The Liberty Partnerships Program is included in the New York State Education Department’s Statewide Plan for Higher Education as part of its strategy to maximize the successful transition of middle and high school students, who are at-risk of dropping out of school, into graduates who are fully prepared for the rigors of higher education and the competitive demands of the workplace.

Through our Institutions of Higher Education, the Liberty Partnerships Programs offer strong school and community partnerships that deliver research-based programming to students enrolled in public and non-public schools that are identified as having a high risk of students dropping out of school.

As leaders in the educational community, our proven effective strategies treat students as active participants in their own learning and align with New York State Learning Standards, Common Core State Standard Initiative and other varied research-based programming resources that offer students multiple ways to master core skills for high school graduation, prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce.