CUNY K16 Initiatives



The City University of New York’s Office K-16 Initiatives supports the partnership between CUNY and the New York City Department of Education—the two largest education systems of their kind in the country.  As part of the University’s recently announced strategic framework, CUNY pledged to work with its partners to help ensure that a larger number of entering students are prepared, starting with early education and assisting them up to and through high school.

CUNY K-16 Initiatives work with the Office of Research, Evaluation and Program Support to better understand program trends and outcomes through research and program evaluation. Click here for statistics on some of our programs.


CUNY K-16 Initiatives creates innovative pathways for young New Yorkers to envision and achieve success by engaging strategic partners in confronting systemic educational inequities.

CUNY’s Office of K-16 Initiatives recognizes that one of the best predictors of college success is entering prepared for college-level studies. We are home to a group of innovative programs that share a common goal: helping NYC public school students make a successful transition to college, careers and life beyond. We support the city’s commitment to equity by ensuring high quality transition programs help eliminate achievement gaps between racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups. Our programs are nationally recognized for their commitment to long-term student success.


Collaboration is fundamental to our work. Only in partnership with the NYC Department of Education are we able to offer programs that support students through the transition to college.  Leadership and faculty on CUNY campuses are also integral to the process of planning and implementing programs that strategically support students in attaining their long-term goals.


Our College Counseling Initiatives ensure students across the city receive high-quality college advising in high school and when transitioning to college. We run a Counselor Professional Learning Community for high school guidance and college counselors and co-direct the College Bridge for All program in partnership with the DOE. College Bridge for All places highly-trained college students at high schools from April to August to support graduating seniors to successfully enroll in college.

College Now logo


K-16’s largest program, enlisting 18 colleges and nearly 425 NYC public high schools in its mission to help prepare students for success in college. The program provides a variety of opportunities, including college-credit courses, college-preparatory courses and activities, experiential-based summer programs, and access to campus facilities and cultural offerings.


(CAT) is an international leader in the arts-in-education field, providing participatory drama workshops and residency programs to more than 15,000 young people, teachers, and parents each year. In addition to direct service and professional development programs, CAT promotes and disseminates its unique methodology through the M.A. in Applied Theatre, in partnership with CUNY’s School of Professional Studies.


The CUNY Affinity Group supports a network of NYC public schools that share a commitment to preparing ALL students for success in college and/or their chosen career path. The CUNY Affinity Group fosters teacher and leader growth through convening educators from across the network to learn from and with one another. The CUNY Affinity Group offers individualized and responsive services to meet the diverse needs of each school, including instructional coaching, curriculum development support, and access to CUNY K-16 Initiatives. The Affinity Group routinely looks at common and uncommon measures of student success to assess efforts and refine the work.

CUNY Explorers

Under the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence agenda and College Access for All Initiative, the New York City Department of Education and CUNY are partnering to implement CUNY EXPLORERS to ensure that every middle-school student is exposed to a college-going culture and has the opportunity to visit a college campus at least once in grades six through eight to promote high school, college and life success. CUNY sees middle school as the foundation for success in high school, college and career.


CUNY LINCT (Lessons in Navigating College Transition) is a comprehensive, school-based program designed to support student, teachers, and counselors in NYC public schools. The program goals include: supporting the deeper development of academic literacy and math skills, and providing resources for HS teachers and counselors to help students navigate the college application and matriculation process.


The CUNY Tutor Corps in Math and Computer Science brings students from CUNY colleges into middle and high school classrooms, helping them become highly effective tutors and teaching assistants in the mathematics and computer science classrooms of 180 schools by 2020.  The Tutor Corps is a partnership between CUNY, the Office of the Mayor, New York City Department of Education (DOE), and others.

Debating U.S. History (DUSH)

The Debating U.S. History (DUSH) program consists of a US History curriculum and professional learning community designed to transform the traditional Regents-assessed NYCDOE 11th grade U.S. History and Government Social Studies survey class. The course embeds academic literacy instruction in an inquiry-oriented course that prepares students for the demands of college-level study in the social sciences. It encourages students to perceive history not as a story to be remembered, but events to be interpreted using documentary evidence. The curriculum aims to ask difficult questions that US historians still grapple with, complicating conventional stories and taking a clear-eyed look at injustice, social conflict, and change so that students can better understand their present world, how it got that way, and what might be done to influence its trajectory. DUSH provides a comprehensive set of all materials needed to teach the year-long course as well as 6 professional development day-long workshops and classroom visits to participating teachers to help them implement the program and adapt it to their needs.


The Early College Initiative at CUNY develops and supports innovative public schools in New York City that provide students from a broad range of backgrounds the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree (or up to two years of transferable college credit) at no cost to students and the their families. The schools are designed to provide this opportunity to students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. Each of CUNY’s 17 early college schools is developed in partnership with a CUNY college, offering a coherent program of study to ensure students’ success in high school, college and beyond.


A product of the partnership between the New York City Department of Education, The City University of New York, and the Office of the Mayor, Graduate NYC is a citywide initiative dedicated to significantly increasing college completion rates throughout New York City. By scaling promising, high-impact practices and facilitating collaboration between philanthropic, educational and nonprofit institutions, Graduate NYC magnifies the effectiveness of the college access and success sector as a whole.

NYC Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF)

The NYC Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) is the largest high school research competition in NYC and is sponsored through a partnership between the NYC Department of Education and CUNY.  NYCSEF’s mission is to celebrate and highlight the innovation of New York City’s high school scholars conducting STEM research, while inspiring enthusiasm and appreciation for scientific inquiry.


The STEM Research Academy is a two-semester program consisting of a spring pre-college science course and a summer research experience, designed to provide students with an opportunity to build essential literacy and numeracy skills while engaging in authentic inquiry activities.

Close Menu