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PRESS RELEASE - 8/2/2017


Deb Levy, Director of Communications + Marketing
646 943 8712


Nonprofit ExpandED Schools encourages supporters everywhere
to send a note of encouragement to kids in high-needs schools 

New York, NY — Data from growth mindset studies reveals that students who receive encouragement show significant improvements both in their beliefs about their ability to be successful, as well as their actual academic performance. So ExpandED Schools, a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to closing the learning gap, is rallying people everywhere to send a note to 6th grade students in their network schools, offering advice and welcoming them to middle school.

Those hoping to make a difference in the life of an adolescent can simply click on this webform and fill in the blanks of a pre-written letter (similar to Mad Libs) to customize a message. ExpandED Schools will deliver these notes and a pencil to 6th graders attending one of five expanded learning schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Teachers will receive mini lesson plans along with the notes encouraging discussions about careers, geography, history and writing.

“Through these notes, we are opening the world for students by introducing them to new places and new career paths,” said Lucy Friedman, President and Founder of ExpandED Schools. “We are also letting them know that they are not alone. No matter where we’ve come from, we’ve all gone through adolescence. It is awkward. But it is also a time of great promise, with the brain developing at such a rapid pace and capable of remarkable growth.”

The organization, having studied growth mindset, piloted this campaign last year to great success, and delivered hundreds of unique notes to students in the Bronx. 

The notes came from people all over the country and even around the world, and included reflections of the sender’s own adolescent years, long-ago career aspirations and the best advice they had received at that age. Much to the organization’s surprise, the students were so touched by the notes that they wrote letters back, thanking complete strangers for their advice.

“It was really good for them to have an opportunity to reflect on others who have been in their shoes,” said Leo Singleton, a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher at Creston Academy, the school that received notes last year. “It helped to calm them when they were nervous and feel that everything was going to be okay.”




ExpandED Schools is a NYC-based nonprofit working to ensure that all kids, from every zip code, have opportunities to discover their talents and develop their full potential. The organization gives children more hours in the school day, more role models in the classroom and infuses the learning with arts, STEM, sports and character-building activities – the supports and experiences kids need in order to grow into caring, confident and successful adults. Since its founding in 1998, when it created the nation’s first citywide system of K-12 after-school programming, ExpandED Schools has closed the learning gap for more than 920,000 kids. To learn more, please visit ExpandEDSchools.org.