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News Fall 2012

In this issue: YLA Goes Mobile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Bronx Digital Literacy Classes. . . . . . . . . . . 4 Urban Tech Launches New Website. . . . . . 5 Save the Date for 2013 Gala. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Urban Tech Thanks our Contributors. . . . . 7

Letter From the President

Pat Bransford

Dear Friends, What an exciting, yet challenging time it is for the team at Urban Tech. With more budget cuts coming from Boards of Education across the nation, the tools that we are providing schools to teach social and life skills have never been more urgently in need. We all continue to be witness to low graduation rates and loss of social skills by today’s students, while technology is playing a more vital role in their lives than ever before. For every smart phone, tablet or gaming device made accessible to our youths (at younger and younger ages), teachers and parents stand great chance of losing their passion and enthusiasm in the classroom. It is Urban Tech’s continued mission to reverse this trend and embrace a young person’s fervor for using technology as a learning tool to assist them in achieving success in their lives, in and out of school. Students at risk of dropping out feel disconnected and lack the social-emotional tools to be productive in school. Bullying and other disruptive behaviors are common side effects of this isolation. Research shows that 75% of 5th

and 6th graders with poor behavior, poor attendance and low achievement will not make it to the 12th grade. We have a proven new approach to reaching these students now. We have just recently announced and launched “Project Engage,” a new program to initially create up to 2000 Student Peer Leaders in schools across the country. Using the award-winning technology in our Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA), this program has the dual benefit of re-igniting the joy and passion students have for learning and mobilizing them to become peer leaders to other students at their schools. To create as many Student Peer Leaders in as many schools as possible, funding is necessary. So we have launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo(www.indiegogo. com/urbantech). Indiegogo is an online crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create fundraising campaigns to tell their story and get the word out. We appreciate all of you who have already donated to this campaign and encourage you to spread the word (and share the link) with your friends, families and business colleagues who share your enthusiasm for developing our children into future leaders of the world. As we will share later in this newsletter, we have a number of other very exciting initiatives underway, including the immediate development of an “Adap-

tive Learning” program with the Synaptic Global Learning team at MIT, an incredible Digital Literacy Training Program (including computer animation training) at MS223 in The Bronx and the redesign of the Urban Tech website. As we continue to build relationships with different Boards of Education, we are connecting with a group of 50 educators responsible for guiding all of the schools in the New York City school system and individual school principals. This year, we hope to develop partnerships with at least 10 NYCDOE schools and realize a minimum of $25,000 in YLA sales. I am delighted to report that we had our first official meeting with Chancellor Dennis Walcott. We spoke with him about how Urban Tech can help him real-

ize his goal of preparing students to graduate prepared for college, career and life success through the development of Social Skills – a 2012 NYCDOE goal. Of course, this is the essence of our Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA). We could not achieve any of our successes in building Student Peer Leaders without the incredible moral and financial support from you. Your acts of kindness continue to bring in new technologies and programming to schools in need with many students who remain at-risk. This is critical to students’ success in the classroom and upon graduation. We thank you again for your continued time and donations you have made, allowing Urban Tech to achieve our mission to transform lives.

Urban Tech’s Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA): Key Strategic Goals for Social Emotional Learning

YLA Provides Essential Skills For Success Learning courses are available individually or can be grouped to achieve the following building blocks for success:

Student Leadership & Team Building Bullying & Violence Prevention Self-Control & Respect for Others Health & Wellness Financial Literacy Educational Planning for College & Careers

Visit for more information Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •


Synaptic Global Learning partnership with Urban Tech to develop YLA for Adaptive Learning and mobile platforms Urban Tech has from its inception been at the forefront of education technology. Its flagship program, the Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA), was established in 1995 to demonstrate potential implications of innovative uses of technology to teach youth with differing levels of educational attainment. It was also designed to reach student populations who perform poorly in traditional classroom environments allowing them to master core curriculum at their own pace and literacy levels. YLA engages students through technology-rich curriculum including hundreds of interactive games and activities using contemporary music, colorful graphics and animation that broaden their critical thinking, enhance their writing skills and

promote the belief that “it’s cool to be smart.” Students who participate in YLA become motivated and inspired to improve their ability to learn, improve their retention rates, and get top grades in their classes. YLA is especially important because of the current lack of rich interactive curriculum dealing specifically with life/ leadership and academic skills in under-served communities. Young people today face tremendous obstacles to success, and without the tools to address these challenges, our kids don’t have a fighting chance. We also need to reach kids where they are spending their time, getting information, communicating with friends and accessing media.

Almost 1 in 3 kids own a cell phone Almost one in three children between the ages of 8 and 10 own their own cell phone, and the 13–17 age bracket is the fastest growing segment on smartphone adoption. The rise in popularity of smartphones has brought on a cultural shift in how children access and inter-act with information. On average, children between the ages of 8 and 18 who own their own smartphone use it daily for 33 minutes of talk and 49 minutes of media consumption. It has become the preferred method for consuming media and also extends to learning, with 62% of students reporting that they would rather use a smartphone than a laptop as a learning tool. To remain in the forefront of education technology and to scale up for growth, Urban Tech has been working with Synaptic Global Learning (SGL), led by Dr. Nishikant Sonwalker (Sc.D., MIT), to transform YLA’s rich content into mobile applications that can be delivered to iPads in the classroom and reach students on their smartphones. Urban Tech is adding greater customization to its current content using SGL’s “Adaptive Learning” technology platform to address the multiple


Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •

learning preferences, paces and performance goals of a broad spectrum of learners in inner-city communities; and include on-line personal tutoring (e.g. Khan Academy, etc.), social media and blogs to engage students and transform the one-size fits-all classroom to individualization and a 24/7, always accessible learning environment.

With funding, Urban Tech will develop mobile applications and continue to leverage technology for adaptability across a broad range of learning styles. Urban Tech believes that America is finally at the nexus of successfully extending the walls of today’s classroom to connect formal and Dr. Sonwalker informal learning modalities that address the needs of diverse learners. With this new partnership and development, Urban Tech will continue to provide tools to the nation’s under-resourced communities for

life skills, academic achievement and workforce development using Dr. Sonwalker and SGL’s revolutionary technology to provide a highly effective, efficient, and engaging pathway to improving delivery of education to millions of students. Our plan envisions growing virally with exponential growth in the next five years, reaching millions of users by 2017. This means scaling up YLA for easy replication, building and designing intuitive interfaces and imbedding virtual training for quick adoption.

“With funding, Urban Tech will develop mobile applications and continue to leverage technology for adaptability across a broad range of learning styles.”

Over time, the body of data from this network will be fed back into the system for tracking, evaluation, upgrade and refinement, and its ultimate goal, adaptive “collaborative filtering”—wherein the accumulated, anonymous data from tens of thousands of users begins to predict accurately the needs of any single user from the first click of a mouse, and then directs the single user’s learning accordingly, adjusting all along the way. As one public school teacher told the YLA design team, “My job is to continuously assess where every student is in relation to the 29 other kids in the class and then give them exactly what they need. But as a practical matter it’s just impossible to do the job I want to do. I need more me’s.” This level of customization and just-in-time assessment is something that Adaptive Learning software will provide.

Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •


Urban Tech launches YLA Digital Literacy Training Program at Bronx, New York’s Laboratory School of Finance & Technology – MS223 MS223 began the 20122013 school year with a new digital literacy training program to introduce a more advanced technology-based curriculum to its 8th grade middle school students. The technology-infused activities

students already know about PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. This advanced course includes shortcuts, graphic design, tracking capabilities, advanced formatting for things like certificates, newspapers, brochures, and coding. Students will en-

MS223 8th graders animate their project

are designed to promote new skills and further develop and refine current skills. The activities provide students with a basic understanding of new computing platforms, such as iOS applications on iPads, new software for Mac Operating System 10 (OS X), and the upcoming Microsoft Windows 8. Two new advanced software technology programs are being introduced to the students: Let’s Geek Out and Beginning Animation. Let’s Geek Out builds on what

hance their digital literacy skills and in doing so, will be introduced to new career and academic options for the future. This course also promotes independence, creativity, and curiosity. Students will be encouraged to think “outside the box” and develop computer skills that will benefit them greatly in their academic life and future professional lives. Beginning Animation introduces students to Digital Animation and Applied Video Arts. The course is designed for students who want to learn the

basic principles of animation but also increase their knowland applied video arts, using edge of touch computing touch computing. It aims to functions, camera operation, provide students with a basic and video editing software. understanding of the hardThey will also learn valuable ware and software tools inherteam building, problem solvent with the Apple iPad plating, and creative expression form, and how these tools can skills. help students express them In continuing our approach selves through the production of customization and personof high quality digital animaalization for each school to tion and live-action videos. help all students learn and Through hands-on lessons, continue to grow and develop students will learn fundamenin a positive way, we feel this tal principles of graphic denew program at MS223 will sign, coding and movement, be a great way of motivatand how these principals ing, engaging, and preparing translate into animating obthe students for success in a jects on a computer. global community. Looking MS223 students use iPads to study animation Through learning the into the future we recognize processes involved in creatwhat is going on in the extering their projects, students nal world and adapt our purparticipating in the program poses and strategy adequately will not only increase their to best serve the students and computer literacy knowledge, partners that we work with.

Craig Patches • Director, Multimedia and Program Development Craig Patches is responsible for the design, development and production of Urban Tech’s educational e-learning products and services, most notably as the co-producer of the Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA) program. He has 10 years of professional expertise directing and managing the development and deployment of technology-based educational solutions, specializing in curricula development, multimedia presentation and content management systems. Prior to joining Urban Tech, Mr. Patches worked as a storyboard artist and multimedia developer for an internet-based interactive educational software company. Mr. Patches holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts. 4

Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •

November 2012: Urban Tech Launches Its Brand New Website!

Our Mission Statement The National Urban Technology Center (Urban Tech), a not-for profit educational corporation, transforms lives through the power of technology by giving youth the capacity for positive behavior and academic success. Urban Tech achieves its mission by teaching students essential life skills, and by training and coaching parents and educators to support social and emotional learning. Urban Tech’s flagship programs, The Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA) and SeedTech®, are delivered online to enhance the capacity of schools and afterschool programs to reach and effectively teach all students.

Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •


Urban Tech’s Gala Update 2012 Urban Tech’s 7th annual Gala honored actor and philanthropist Blair Underwood, renowned philanthropist and corporate and community leader Dr. Reatha Clark King and award-winning journalist and CBS2 News Anchor Maurice DuBois. With the help of our generous sponsors and donors, we raised $300,000 to sustain and grow Urban Tech’s programs that provide crucial life/ social skills support to students and one-on-one mentoring of teachers in communities that have suffered the most in this economy. Proceeds from the event will allow Urban Tech to enhance and expand its award winning Youth Leadership Academy® (YLA). It will also help Urban Tech intensify its efforts to meet the demands of the new workforce by implementing adaptive learning approaches for individualized learning and focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

THANK YOU Your support helps transform lives through the power of technology!

Log onto our website! 2012 Gala Photos

Reatha Clark King

Blair Underwood

Maurice DuBois

Don’t Forget To Save The Date For Our June 2013 Gala - Check On Our Website

Coming Soon: A Completely New Look. Urban Tech’s

Youth Leadership Academy® YLA is a research-based education program that resonates with students ages 8-14.

Learn more by visiting >

Teaching Life & Social Skills Student Leadership & Team Building Bullying & Violence Prevention Self-Control & Respect for Others Health & Wellness Financial Literacy Educational Planning for College & Careers


Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •


Urban Tech Would Like to Thank all the Following Individuals, Foundations and Corporations for the Support of Our 2012 Gala FOUNDER’S CIRCLE Gwen and Gerald Adolph Pat and Tom Bransford Wells Fargo Foundation

CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE BTIG Valentino D. Carlotti Goldman Sachs Intel Corporation Dr. Reatha Clark King Dr. N. Judge King Bettina L. Klinger/ KlingerVision, Inc. Latham & Watkins LLP/ Sharon Bowen Pfizer, Inc./ Richard H. Bilello Rubenstein Public Relations, Inc./ Richard Rubenstein The Nielsen Company/ Don Lowery

BENEFACTORS Bobbie (Mrs. J. Player) Crosby EmblemHealth Executive Leadership Council Alia Jones-Harvey Keith Lloyd Custom Couture/ Tyrone & Vihara Whittle Marsh/ Jessica Isaacs Dr. Joyce Brown & H. Carl McCall The Starker Family Foundation/ Farrel & Steven Starker Kathy & Jeff Zukerman

PATRONS Holly F. & Richard Bilello Alvin Bowles J. T. (Ted) Childs Dawn Hankin-Cliette Erik A. Cliette Janine Dorsett &

Michael Robinson James Forsythe & Denise L. Quarles, Esq. Godfrey Gill Elizabeth & David Goldstein Ian & Jennifer Goodman Cara & Jeffrey Klein Lazard/ Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Lippman Family Foundation Allan E. Mayefsky Ira M. Millstein Morrison & Foerster Foundation Jacqueline & Kevin Nickelberry Sea Research Foundation Rori Shaffer/ Glendale Foundation Dr. Elgin & Gena Davis Watkins WorldWide Group Travel & Events

FRIENDS Barbara Alleyne Steven & Sande Berger Stephen C. Byrd Linda Davila Elizabeth & Robert Dobrish Toni G. Fay Barbara Forster Denise Marie Fugo Melissa & Casey Gard Lynelle Granady Fredrika Hill Loida Nicolas Lewis Hassell Niles McClure Brenda D. Neal Jean Marie Poster Vikki Pryor George VanAmson Dr. Elaine Walker Nancy Williams Janet & Joshelle Wright Nancy & Jay Zises


Dr. Susan Branche Dr. Sue A. Brown Norma & Leonard E. Davis Barbara Delany Hazel N. Dukes Nancy Folger Joyce K. Haupt Michael Kuslansky Alma Rangel Dana Reed Jean Jordan Fern Khan Jennifer Klein Donna Kristal Herman Lo Brian Sklar Raymond & Carol Stolz Sullivan Family Foundation Sheldon J. Tashman Ann Walker-Marchant Mr. & Mrs. Roger B. Vincent Margaret & Charles Williams Alfred and Diane Woods Lynn Zises


Jessica Isaacs Honorable H. Carl & Dr. Joyce Brown McCall John Starks/ John Starks Foundation Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Kathy Bransford Zukerman Keith Lloyd Couture Late Show with David Letterman Margot Jordan Photography Maurice DuBois National Basketball Association New York Knicks Patsy’s Italian Restaurant Pat and Tom Bransford Red Rooster Harlem Manhattan Auto Rubenstein Public Relations, Inc. Shutters on the Beach SOULCYCLE, LLC Stella and Dot Stephen Byrd Synthia Saint James Fine Arts The Helping Hand: Philanthropic Division of Judith Ripka The Institute of Culinary Education The Jewel Dunns River Beach Resort & Spa The Kimberly Hotel The Peninsula Spa by ESPA The Producers of Godspell The Producers of Mama Mia! The Producers of Rock of Ages The Water Club Tunstull Studio Fine Arts/ Glenn Tunstull Turn2 Foundation, Inc. WorldWide Group Travel & Events Yves Durif Hair Salon at the Carlyle

Diane Ashley Alia Jones-Harvey Ballet Beautiful Bedford Post Inn Bobbie (Mrs. J. Player) Crosby b michael AMERICA Bradford Renaissance Portraits Corporation Dawn Hankin-Cliette & Erik A. Cliette Cynthia Rowley, Inc. Norma Jean Darden David Perlin Eric Woods / Harlem Vintage Flywheel Sports Front Row Productions GM Diamond Group, Inc. Tim Glisker Paul Goerg Grandstand Sports & Visit our website for the latest Memorabilia, Inc. news and information Iman Cosmetics

Urban Tech News • Fall 2012 •


2012 Fall Newsletter  

Urban Tech Center

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