Year in Review: 2013

2013 has been another extraordinary year for Project Rousseau marked by inspiring academic progress, college acceptances, personal growth, and drastically improved test scores across all of our chapters. We welcomed new partners and a new freshman class, and we welcomed back alumni in Friends of Project Rousseau, our alumni association.

We are so proud of all of our students and so grateful to all of the partners and supporters without whom their progress would not be possible.  Here are some of our favorite highlights from 2013:

Academic Excellence: Our mentees should be extraordinarily proud of their academic accomplishments this year.  Our nationwide graduation rate is projected to be well over 90% this year. We are working towards an extraordinary goal: a 100% graduation rate for the Class of 2014. We know that this will not be easy, but our seniors are working as diligently as they ever have to realize this goal.

We are also thrilled with our progress in standardized testing. More students are breaking 1,500 on the SAT than ever before, a particularly important milestone because a reading or math score of 500 is often what public colleges use as an indicator that a student does not need to take remedial courses. We also had a record number of students break 650 and 700 on individual sections of the SAT and on SAT Subject Tests. We look forward to building on this progress in 2014!

College Acceptances: With academic excellence naturally comes excellent college placements, and our Class of 2013 college placements and early acceptances from our Class of 2014 have demonstrated that.

More Project Rousseau seniors will go to private 4-year colleges this year than have Project Rousseau seniors from any previous graduating class. We are very proud to announce our first TWO IVY LEAGUERS! Congratulations to Allyson, Columbia University Class of 2018! Congratulations to Clare, University of Pennsylvania Class of 2018!

Community Service: Community service is a crucial component of our holistic approach to education. Our service projects have proven to be rewarding and empowering for our students. As a volunteer-run organization, we are so proud of all of our students who participated in service programs, which range from serving at homeless shelters and nursing homes to our annual Pie Day Thanksgiving celebration. A record 28 Project Rousseau students completed over 250 hours of community service in 2013.

Exchange Programs and other new learning experiences: We were so thrilled to spend two weeks with our exchange students from Rysensteen Gymnasium (Copenhagen, Denmark) in October. Building on a semester of virtual exchange programming, we took part in a number of great activities, including a “show and tell” to share about our respective cultures, a visit to Juilliard and the New York Philharmonic, and a community service program. Special thanks to Gabriel ’14 for designing and leading a walking tour of Manhattan for his Rysensteen peers! We look forward to visiting our exchange students in Copenhagen; more details will be available about this trip soon.

We are also grateful to organizations like Facebook, ADI, The Columbia University Astronomy Department, The Museum of Natural History, and Most Valuable Kids for the eye-opening learning opportunities that they provided our students in 2013. From our Spring Vacation Computer Science Camp to our visit to Facebook Headquarters and the Hayden Planetarium, our students had so many wonderful opportunities to expand their learning beyond the classroom.  We are so appreciative for the opportunities that these organizations give to our students, and we look forward to extending similar opportunities to our students in 2014.

We are blessed to have such a dedicated group of volunteers. Our mentors, tutors, chapter presidents, and board members are what make Project Rousseau everything that it is. We are also grateful to the teachers, therapists, social workers, healthcare professionals, and attorneys who serve as vital pro-bono resources for our students and the organization.

Thank you again to everyone who made 2013 such a memorable year for our students! We are looking forward to an even better 2014!

Check back tomorrow for a preview of some of what is in store for Project Rousseau in 2014!