Total of 215 Community Schools will serve over 108,000 students across the city
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery today announced the expansion of the Community Schools Initiative to 69 new schools this September, providing students with expanded learning opportunities, robust family engagement, an explicit focus on social-emotional development, and enrichment programming through partnerships with community based organizations (CBOs).
This expansion will bring the total number of Community Schools citywide to 215, exceeding the City’s original projection of 200 Community Schools by 2017. The new 69 Community Schools are funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) grants, which awarded $25.5 million per year for up to five years.
New York City is the largest Community Schools system in the nation. In September 2017, more students will be enrolled in NYC Community Schools than the entire student populations of Baltimore or Denver. The Community Schools Initiative recognizes that in order for students to achieve academic excellence, schools must support the whole child, as well as their family. This research-based model provides an integrated focus on academics, health and mental health services, youth development, expanded learning opportunities, and family supports are critical to improving student success.
“Equity and Excellence is about evening the playing field for our students, and Community Schools help to do just that,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To reach success in their classes, our students often require some extra support outside the classroom. This expansion allows us to provide additional after school activities, mental health counseling, enhanced family engagement, and so much more.”
“It’s essential that we invest in the whole child, and through the Community School model, we are bringing additional social emotional supports, mental health services, and deepening family ties,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Schools are anchors for the entire community, and by embedding high quality Community Based Organizations into schools, we can meet the needs of students and families. With this expansion, these game-changing resources will benefit more than 108,000 students in all five boroughs.”
“For students to be successful, they and their families must have access to a full range of resources that support everything from financial stability to strong physical and mental health. A great school not only recognizes this, but is able to integrate these services into the very fabric of the way that school operates,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “The community school model makes it possible for every school to be a great school. The expansion to 69 new schools this fall will knock down more barriers to high student performance in classrooms across the City and better position kids to succeed in school and in life.”
“The Assembly Majority has been a fierce advocate for community schools because we recognize the importance of taking a holistic approach to education,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “By addressing all the needs that students have from health and emotional support to family engagement, we can be sure that students have the greatest chance of being successful. More community schools means more opportunities for our students to succeed.”
Community Schools provide a range of resources, with the core elements being: expanded learning time, health and wellness services, enhanced family and community engagement and targeted attendance improvement strategies. The core structure of a Community School includes a defined community partnership with a community-based organization (CBO), a dedicated Community School Director, shared leadership and accountability and enhanced data tracking to preemptively address challenges like absenteeism. Based on the local need, and availability of additional resources, Community Schools may also offer a range of services, including School-Based Health Centers, vision screenings, food pantries and adult education courses.
Additionally, the Community Schools Initiative plays an important role in Renewal School initiative. Hand-in-hand with targeted academic interventions, each Renewal School is a Community School. This work addresses challenges of poverty, chronic absenteeism, health challenges so students and staff can focus on improving academic outcomes.
The Coalition for Community Schools— an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education – has also selected the New York City Community Schools Initiative for its 2017 Awards for Excellence. They also recognized PS 188, The Island School, for one of three Individual Community School Awards.
This citywide expansion includes 25 CBO partners at the 69 schools. CBOs were selected by schools, based on proven experience working in the community, demonstrated capacity to coordinate partners and deliver comprehensive services through a dedicated on-site Community School Director.
In the Fall of 2016, the NYS Education Department released a RFP for 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) Funding. NYSED allocated $47.9 Million in 21CCLC funding to NYC, with $25.5 million awarded to the NYC DOE directly and additional $22.4 million awarded to non-governmental organizations. The 21CCLC grant supports school-CBO partnerships, afterschool and youth development and the DOE aligned proposals with the Community School Strategy to ensure that funding will support expansion. The Office of Community Schools worked with Superintendents to identify schools that met the priorities of each proposal and demonstrated capacity to partner with CBOs.
Community Schools are funded in a range of ways across the City. Through the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, through an AIDP grant and through NYS Foundation Aid and City Funds.
This work is also supported through a host of public-private partnerships and the philanthropic support of the Wallace Foundation and others as facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools; the New York Community Trust, via the National Center for Community Schools; and through the generosity of Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Warby Parker, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.