Katy, TX (July 27, 2016) Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), a national leader in dropout recovery and prevention, has begun building classrooms inside of Katy Mills mall that will be open to students this fall. The non-profit is partnering with the Katy Independent School District to build Simon Youth Academy at Katy Mills and to adopt Martha Raines High School into its network. A Grand Opening Ceremony will be held on September 22.
SYF, a non-profit founded by Simon Property Group employees, partners with public school districts to build dropout recovery academies inside shopping malls. SYF provides the space rent-free and funds the construction of the Academy. Katy ISD will staff the school and refer students who are not on track to graduate. Long-time educator Heather DeVries will serve as the Coordinator of the Academy.
“We’re thrilled to be entering the Katy community,” SYF CEO Michael Durnil said. “Every school district has students who are struggling in the traditional classroom setting. Katy ISD does a wonderful job meeting the needs of all students, and we hope our partnership will allow them to do even more.”
Simon Youth Academy at Katy Mills and Martha Raines High School will be the 27th and 28th programs in the SYF network. SYF provides ongoing support for these schools by providing professional learning opportunities for teachers, annual enhancement grants of up to $5,000, and enrichment opportunities for students.
Additionally, SYF provides scholarships each year to Academy graduates, worth up to $40,000.
“Having SYF as a partner will take our alternative education programs to the next level,” Chief Academic Officer Dr. Christine Caskey said. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the foundation and Katy Mills as we strive to help every student graduate.”
“People in Katy already come to the mall for outstanding shopping, dining, and entertainment. Soon, students will be able to come here to complete their education,” Katy Mills General Manager Don Massey said. “It’s an educational opportunity we’re proud to provide to our community.”
About Simon Youth Foundation
Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit, exists to help at-risk students who are on the verge of dropping out of high school stay in school. Through 26 Simon Youth Academies in 12 states and Simon Youth Scholarships, and in partnership with local public schools, SYF has maintained a 90 percent graduation rate at its Academies since inception, graduated more than 14,000 students, and awarded more than $16 million in scholarships. Learn more at syf.org.