"Defying the Odds" for Students in Newburgh, NY

by San Miguel Academy of Newburgh


San Miguel Academy's (SMAN) population is underserved males at highest risk of dropping out in NY's highest drug and gang filled city. SMAN is a 5-8th grade, 11-mo. extended 6 dy/wk program. Working toward healing the whole child is essential to the student's educational success. Place and Project-Based Learning, experienced outside of Newburgh, is a major component of our curriculum. Graduation rate is 100%, with 100% accepted into secondary & post-secondary programs through Graduate Support.
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SMAN is non-tuition driven and relies on contributions from individuals, corporations & foundations. Without intervention & advocacy for the whole child, low income students drop out, become entangled in gangs, drugs, & teenaged parenthood. Students arrive at SMAN up to two years behind in school, with lack of self-esteem, limited knowledge of the world & learning. SMAN is an oasis in their neighborhood, providing safety, role models, child/family counseling, experiences that transform lives.


The SMAN model includes learning through Place and Project Based Learning at our educational partner sites in the Hudson Valley to broaden experiences, increase literacy, with a methodology which stresses the process of problem solving, engaging the mind of the under-resourced urban child, enabling him to think outside the confines of limited experience. Our school model supports family and child counseling, Graduate Support for high school placement & support and a College Access Program.

Long-Term Impact

Without intervention, less than 30% of these students would graduate from high school. The success is measured in that 100% of our students graduate from 5th-12th grade on time and 100% of our graduates have been accepted into post-secondary programs. The impact on the community of Newburgh is felt as these students have higher levels of learning and training as they become employed, productive members of their city. 140 families have entered the doors of SMAN and this # will increase annually.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


Our school website
CBSnews.com video on San Miguel Academy students

Organization Information

San Miguel Academy of Newburgh

Location: White Plains, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.newburghsanmiguel.org
Project Leader:
Louise Harris
Newburgh, NY United States
$6,096 raised of $10,000 goal
55 donations
$3,904 to go
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