SUNY Old Westbury and Roosevelt Schools promote increased college attendance, success through new Scholars Academy

A student hand at a chalkboard covered with math problems

The State University of New York at Old Westbury and the Roosevelt Union Free School District have announced a new Scholars Academy, a cohort-based learning community designed to promote a college-going culture across the school district. The partnership is being funded by a five-year, $700,570 grant from the New York State Education Department. 

“Far too often, students from lower-income communities do not attend college or are ill-prepared for success should they get there,” said Calvin O. Butts, III, president of SUNY Old Westbury. “We are proud of this partnership with Roosevelt Union Free School District to offer the Scholars Academy to ensure students are ready for, and have the best access to, the life-changing growth a college experience provides.” 

The Scholars Academy begins this year with 25 ninth grade students who will be identified this fall. In each following year, a cohort of 25 students will enter the academy, bringing total participation to 100 students in the fourth year. 

 “We are extremely excited to continue our partnership with SUNY Old Westbury,” said Marnie Hazelton, superintendent of the Roosevelt Union Free School District. “The ability to afford our students with high quality and free access to attain college credits is a paradigm shift for our students and community.” 

The design of the Scholars Academy uses formative career pathways to assist students in exploring and orienting to potential career paths as they develop requisite skills and advance their college credit attainment. The program will offer students college-credit bearing instruction, either at Roosevelt High School or at SUNY Old Westbury, beginning in tenth grade with each student having the opportunity to earn at least 24 college credits upon graduation. A range of courses are planned, from English Composition and College Algebra to Basic Biology and Introduction to Law. All courses were evaluated and will be assessed continuously to ensure they satisfy both Common Core requirements and State University of New York General Education guidelines.

The academy experience will also include monthly workshops and seminars offered by the College to educate families and the Roosevelt community about the college admissions process and other higher education issues. 

The new Scholars Academy builds upon the already successful Smart Scholars Early College High School program run in partnership between Roosevelt Schools and SUNY Old Westbury for the past seven years. The Smart Scholars ECHS has provided ongoing exposure to college studies and experiences for almost than 250 students who have amassed in excess of 6,500 college credits before graduating from high school.