About Us

The National Urban Technology Center (Urban Tech) is a social enterprise committed to changing the game in education through digital story telling, critical thinking and social emotional learning. We create solutions for students that recognize their value to society, regardless of their social background, by providing an interactive curriculum that reflects the student’s personal experiences, ideas, and dreams. By utilizing animation, relatable language, popular music and gamification, Urban Tech is able to engage students on an unprecedented level. Students who have used Urban Technology have demonstrated improvements when it comes to social skills, emotional and physical health, digital literacy, financial education, and a variety of other subjects. Our standards-based curriculum adapts to the needs of the students and prepares them for 21st century careers while providing personal support to teachers and parents in an effort to improve student education.

Our online Youth Leadership Academy modules, developed for children K-12, are engaging programs for students to develop social, emotional, and communication skills while building 21st century digital literacy experience. We started 21 years ago in Bed-stuy, Brooklyn, and have since expanded across the nation. You can find out more about our initiative to bridge the digital divide in the links below.

Since 1995, Urban Tech has been dedicated to bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities for success in disadvantaged communities. With its SEEDTECH Program, founded in 1995, Urban Tech focused on providing underrepresented populations living in poverty with the technology and leadership skills they needed to build better futures for themselves and their families. Through SEEDTECH, juvenile offenders transitioned from a life of crime to academic achievement and community service, and senior citizens became trainers in SEEDTECH centers to provide intergenerational support to young people.

In 2000, Urban Tech launched the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) to provide students in those same communities with social and emotional skills to improve personal growth and leadership. YLA has trained 600,000 students in afterschool programs through NYCHA, and in 500 schools across the country. A evaluation of YLA found a 26% increase in attendance rates, 46% increase in reading scores, 40% increase in math scores, and a 67% increase in graduation rates after introducing the curriculum, as well as increases in self-esteem, self-efficacy, and pro-social behaviors.

Today, bullying presents a threat to the progress YLA represents. Last year, almost 160,000 students skipped school each day to avoid being bullied. Over three million students are bullied each year and face long-term mental and physical health problems as a result, including major depressive disorder, while students who bully are more likely than their peers to face academic challenges. Importantly, studies show that as many as 57% of incidents can be prevented by teaching bystanders to recognize bullying when it occurs and to prevent and intervene in the bullying cycle using restorative practices that include the whole community.

To seize that opportunity and help parents, students, and teachers advocate for themselves and one another in the face of bullying and violence, we launched Dignity for All (DFA), a whole-school, research-based bullying prevention curriculum based in trauma informed care. DFA provides the knowledge required to identify bullying; exercises in empathy and reflection to recognize the emotions and experiences of others, and to regulate one’s own emotions; and the tools to create restorative behavior practices for safe and supportive school communities.

In 2018, we implemented DFA into its first pilot school in Brooklyn, NY. At the start of the school year, 63% of students indicated that they had been teased, lied about or socially isolated. After completing the first phase of DFA, in only ten weeks’ time, reports of the same behavior had decreased to 29%. We aim to provide results like these for students across the nation.

Our Mission

Urban Tech is a social enterprise committed to changing the game in education by creating solutions for students that:

  • Creates safe and supportive learning environments;
  • Use animation, familiar language, music, and games to enrich their experience and engage them in learning.
  • Utilize animation, their language, music and games to enrich and engage students in learning;
  • Use social skills and standards-based curriculum adapted to their needs for academic improvement;
  • Provide opportunities for improved health, digital literacy, financial education and 21st century careers;
  • Invest in their schools by providing support to teachers and parents to further support student education.

Why This Matters

The Current Crisis in Education

According to a study in 2013 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), youth and adults in the United States are far behind in proficiency areas such as literacy, mathematics, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The study found that among 16 – 24 year olds in 20 countries, the US ranked:

  • Second to last in average literacy rates
  • Last in average proficiency in basic mathematics
  • Among the last in average youth problem solving proficiency

Among 16 – 64 year olds the United States ranked:

  • Fourth to last in literacy
  • Second to last in basic mathematics
  • Among the last in average adult problem solving proficiency

Although globalization and advances in technology have increased the capacity of our educational systems to prepare youth and adult learners for success in school, career, and life, we continue to see signs that we are not closing the gap fast enough. High school and university dropout rates continue to soar and the gaps between the “haves” and “have nots” continues to widen.

Meanwhile, forecasts by the Center for Education and the Workforce suggest that if the economy maintains then 2018 will hold more opportunities for educated workers than ever before. For example:

  • US economy will create 46.8 million job openings – 13.8 million new jobs and 33 million “replacement jobs”
  • Nearly two-thirds of these 46.8 million jobs – almost 63 percent – will require workers with at least some college education.
  • About 33 percent will require a Bachelor’s degree or better, while another 30 percent will require some college or a two-year Associates degree.

What It Means For The Future

The vast majority of these jobs will also require high levels of analytic, critical thinking, technology and communications skills. Numerous studies and national surveys point to social emotional learning (SEL) as critical to student success in each of these areas; however, the barriers to these skills have been left out of the discussion on improving the outcomes of America’s schools, and must be addressed. In a new national survey, data conclusively shows that teachers across America believe that SEL is critical to student success in school, work and life. We must work together to assure that SEL skills are integrated in academic curricula and become the linchpin of school environments.

 


 

TEAM | CONSULTANTS | SUPPORTERS | ANNUAL REPORT: 2014-2015, 2016-2017| NEWSLETTER

 

National Urban Technology Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Tax ID #: 13-3826279. For more information, contact Patricia Bransford, President at (212) 528-7350 [email protected]