Succeeding in the City: A Report from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study

by Shaun R. Harper

Sep 30, 2013

Based on face-to-face interviews with over 400 black and Latino male students from 40 New York City public high schools, this report aims to understand how these young men succeeded in and out of school, developed college aspirations, became college-ready, and navigated their ways to postsecondary education. These high schools are part of New York City's Expanded Success Initiative, designed to increase college and career readiness among black and Latino males.
  • Among high school students, success was attributed to families that value education, as well as families and community members that set consistently high expectations.
  • Successful high school students often had meaningful relationships with teachers and other school adults who both supported and challenged them.
  • Many high school students avoided neighborhood danger by spending minimal recreational time outdoors and had academic reputations that exempted them from gang recruitment.
  • Most black and Latino male undergraduate students applied exclusively to public colleges in New York because they were the only schools to which they were introduced.
  • Some undergraduates struggled to transition from their supportive high school environments to the more independent college experience – e.g., in the areas of study skills, meeting deadlines, and test-taking – and few established substantive relationships with professors and administrators.