New York City public schools posted a four-year high school graduation rate of 75.9% in 2018. While that’s a record-high for the city, it still trails far behind the national average of 84.6% (2016-2017). The Business of Sports School (BOSS), a NYC public high school with a focus on sports management and entrepreneurship, will perform on par with the national average this spring, though; graduating +/- 84% of its 2019 senior class. Co-chair Steve Horowitz (partner, Inner Circle Sports) says that the program works – the urban H.S. is graduating kids at far higher clip than the city average – because Principal Dr. Joshua Solomon has been able to successfully “weave education in with sports, personalities, internships and swag.”
For those interested in supporting the Business of Sports School (and mingling with a who’s who of the NYC sports world), their 10th anniversary celebration will take place on Thursday evening at the New York Athletic Club. Tickets to the fundraiser can be purchased for $150. BOSS is also always looking for mentors. If interested, please email email@example.com.
Howie Long-Short: When BOSS was first introduced, administrators had to explain to prospective students that its mission wasn’t to turn kids into pro athletes. The school operates on a standard NYC public school curriculum, simply applying a “sports edged theme” to its math, science and English lessons. Horowitz said that “it’s simply been a way for us to get through to the kids, to get them to focus their attention on academics using something they have a passion for [sports].”
BOSS is graduating significantly more students than other NYC schools on the same curriculum, so it’s worth wondering what it is about their approach that’s resonating with the kids. My sense is that by communicating information in a manner that allows students to make the connection between academics and the business world, teachers have created a more engaged classroom. The collective of local industry professionals – often in their mid-late 20s or early 30s – that donate time to work with the students, serve as proof that hard work yields the results they desire. Of course, the quality of the faculty and the interest they take in the students’ growth cannot be understated.
Industry professionals who work with the students are teaching skills (as opposed to theory) applicable to the business world (think: sneaker design, graphic design), so it’s not surprising that the school has found success placing 80% of Jr. and Sr. students into internship programs (BOSS students have the contacts and knowledge base). But even those without internships are gaining valuable experience on location. Contacts on the Board and Committee have opened doors for BOSS classes to visit Madison Square Garden, the CBS production studio during the Final Four and SNY. Considering 88% of BOSS students are “first generation college”, it’s likely many have never had exposure to a professional office environment before.
The school’s Industry Advisory Board and Young Professionals Advisory Committee are also mentoring students – not just on “how to think through finding the right sports business job, but then getting them ready for college and post-graduation.” Horowitz says that the program includes training (in collaboration with Morgan Stanley) on how to dress (for interviews), shake hands and make eye contact and a career day where students have the chance to inquire about the skill-sets needed to pursue various sports related careers.
The BOSS’ graduation rate is particularly impressive considering the school’s enrollment is determined by a lottery without regard to background or academic record (as opposed to a gifted program).
Fan Marino: Horowitz mentioned personalities, but he was understating the star power just a bit. The long list of high-profile speakers that have been through the BOSS school over the last several years includes Adam Silver, LeBron James, Steph Curry and Jamie Foxx.
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