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eyes on NYC
July 19, 2017
New York City’s community schools guru on the program’s massive expansion and why the schools are ‘here to stay’
Starting this September, over 100,000 students will be in New York City's community schools.
inputs and outcomes
June 30, 2017
Are we expecting too much from community schools? Former U.S. Education Secretary John King weighs in
We asked King whether community schools should produce clear academic gains or if improving access to social services is enough to justify the approach.
An education U-turn
June 21, 2017
Shut out but scraping by: Inside the struggling schools excluded from New York City’s biggest improvement efforts
Many schools are left to cobble together their own supports -- with varying degrees of success.
June 15, 2017
I had an anxiety attack in school, and a social worker saved me. What about the students without one?
Right now, somewhere in the Bronx, there is a young girl like me, having her first anxiety attack, a Brooklyn junior writes. Is there a social worker for her?
June 5, 2017
New York City has doubled down on its approach to high-need schools. A new study says that bet could pay off
"In the long run you’re going to get a payoff of all different kinds."
June 3, 2017
Coming soon: a new mega-study on community schools and an award for NYC
The study from the Learning Policy Institute will summarize 125 other pieces of research about the approach, which floods schools with resources to meet their students' personal needs.
May 23, 2017
Trump’s education budget could be bad news for New York City’s ‘community schools’ expansion
"I’m not confident that the funding will continue given the federal political climate."
May 15, 2017
Memphis schools have space. Boys & Girls Clubs have programming. Now they just need money to put clubs in three schools.
Grappling with under-enrolled schools and significant neighborhood needs, Memphis school leaders seek to fill some empty space by partnering with the Boys & Girls Club.
May 12, 2017
Community schools are expanding — but are they working? New study shows mixed results
New York City’s announcement this week that it is doubling down on community schools indicates a firm belief that the program is working.
May 11, 2017
New York City set to expand ‘community schools’ program to include 215 schools
"This is a model that is a game-changer."
February 7, 2017
Can keeping students longer help them thrive? A charter school explains why it’s adding grades
Haven Academy, the city's only charter school designed to serve children in the child welfare system, is set to expand.
moving the goalposts?
January 26, 2017
New York City is now focusing on academic progress at its lowest-performing schools. Here’s why some experts say that’s a problem.
"What they’re really saying is that schools should be showing outcomes in the second year of implementation, which is not realistic."
December 15, 2016
Chronic absenteeism is lower in New York City charter schools than in district schools, report finds
“I think attendance is a measure of school culture and school quality more than anything else."
October 25, 2016
‘Turning a kid’s lights back on doesn’t make their test scores go up’: one principal on social services in schools
"The thing I’m nervous about is the speed at which they’re going to expect to see results."
September 6, 2016
New York City among districts with high student absenteeism
Half of all chronically-absent students were concentrated in 4 percent of school districts, including New York City, according to a report by Attendance Works.
January 21, 2016
As blizzard looms, thousands get free coats at community schools
As temperatures drop and a blizzard looms, the city announced Thursday that 13,000 young students will receive new winter jackets paid for by private donors.
In this together
November 12, 2015
Jeffco coalition to teachers: you teach, we’ll take care of poverty
A coalition in Jeffco wants to boost student achievement by focusing on family services, after school programs and parent enrichment.
October 21, 2015
Do schools need to tackle poverty or boost teaching? In that debate, Buery calls for truce
“I think for a long time in our society we have used those set of challenges as an excuse not to do anything ... I think often we overcompensate now."
September 24, 2015
As city acts on their cause, community school advocates carve out a new role
As the city sets up nearly 130 new community schools, proponents of those schools want to make sure the work is done right.
a five-borough tour
September 9, 2015
On her 50th first day, New York City chancellor tours schools carrying out her vision
Chancellor Carmen Fariña stopped at “community schools,” dual-language programs, pre-kindergarten sites, and her old school on Wednesday.
August 18, 2015
Decatur Township finds support from community center, school partnerships
The district has embraced the "community schools" concept, where relationships with community organizations help feed, clothe and give back to local schools.
July 1, 2015
Jesse Register on his legacy as director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, and advice for the future
In an interview with Chalkbeat on his last day on the job, Nashville's outgoing schools director talks about what he's learned — and offers advice for his successor.
June 24, 2015
City announces free eyeglasses for community school students
The city will spend $10 million over the next four years for the screenings, and the eyewear company Warby Parker will supply glasses to every student who needs a pair.
a chance for renewal
June 24, 2015
A school community grows stronger
As the year winds down, Brooklyn Generation School — part of the city's "Renewal" program — has found new ways to help students deal with trauma. Part three of Chalkbeat's series.
May 4, 2015
Now aiming for 200 community schools, city unveils a plan to get there
The plan offers a way for community schools predating de Blasio's efforts to benefit from the new attention and resources being devoted to the model.
Breaking the Cycle
May 4, 2015
In areas with high rates of domestic violence, teachers to get special training
Teachers at "community schools" in eight neighborhoods across the city will receive the training, which is still being developed.
April 7, 2015
City to use Americorps to staff struggling schools with mentors
Americorps will spend $5.8 million over the next two school years to send 300 civil service members to work on de Blasio's community schools initiative.
February 4, 2015
Fariña offers advice to leaders of city’s future community schools
Chancellor Carmen Fariña told principals, superintendents, and nonprofit leaders on Wednesday that the stakes are high as they work to grow the city’s number of community schools.
State of the City
February 3, 2015
No education news in State of the City speech, as de Blasio celebrates pre-K
Mayor Bill de Blasio took another pre-kindergarten victory lap in his State of the City speech on Tuesday, which focused on affordable housing.
January 2, 2015
Best of 2014: Expanding program links students to social services
Communities in Schools operates in Nashville and in two Achievement School District campuses in Memphis
December 10, 2014
As city creates 128 new community schools, advocates call for official guidelines
Even as they applauded Mayor Bill de Blasio for promising to convert 128 schools into service-rich “community schools,” advocates urged the city on Wednesday to adopt formal guidelines to make sure the schools have similar standards and practices.
A Big Bet
December 5, 2014
City’s community schools plan stirs doubt among supporters
As the city tries to turn around 94 struggling schools by converting them into community schools, some proponents of that model worry the plan could fall short.
December 1, 2014
Partner groups will help 45 ‘community schools’ transform into service hubs
The city named 45 schools on Monday that will partner with 25 partner agencies, which will help the schools offer a host of new support services for students and their families.
December 1, 2014
MAP: 45 planned community schools and partner organizations
Forty-five schools will partner with 25 community organizations to provide a variety of new services to improve student attendance rates and prevent dropouts, the…
November 13, 2014
What Mayor de Blasio’s school-improvement plan is missing: a goal
Education professor Aaron Pallas: The mayor failed to deliver a clear message about his goals for the school system — and that ambiguity may leave us with the same, traditional ways of measuring success by test scores and graduation rates.
a plan emerges
November 3, 2014
94 struggling schools will get extra support, but could still face closure
The city will spend $150 million to turn around more than 90 struggling schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday, and is prepared to reorganize or close schools that don’t succeed after getting additional help.
November 3, 2014
Read Mayor Bill de Blasio’s speech outlining a $150M plan for school improvement
The city will spend $150 million to turn around more than 90 struggling schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday, and is prepared to…
September 24, 2014
For de Blasio, a blueprint for launching community schools in the city
A new report provides Mayor Bill de Blasio a blueprint for how it should proceed with plans to establish 100 community schools during his first term. The 81-page report suggests overhauling Department of Education bureaucracy and the city’s new “Children’s Cabinet.”
July 17, 2014
Dozens of education advocates and leaders start planning community schools
Mayor Bill de Blasio gathered a group of nearly 70 influential advocates and education leaders to an advisory board to help form plans to create 100 community schools during his first term.
Health and Happiness
June 19, 2014
On community school tour, Fariña finds signs of success beyond test scores
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña roamed the halls of P.S. 5 in Inwood Thursday morning, marveling at the suite of academic and support services it provides students and their families, just one day after the city announced that dozens of other schools will begin to offer such services next year.
June 19, 2014
Union announces three school community centers, adding to city's push
The announcement from UFT President Michael Mulgrew comes two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would use a $52 million grant to add health centers, job training and other services to 40 schools.
June 18, 2014
City launches $52 million plan to turn 40 schools into service hubs
The city will spend $52 million in state funds over several years to convert 40 schools into community hubs with medical and dental services, nutrition and fitness programs, tutoring, job training, and other assistance for students and their families.
June 17, 2014
Five quick facts about the city’s community schools initiative
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña are set to announce the launch of a community schools initiative in the Bronx, but plenty…
Hoping for Hubs
May 19, 2014
No action yet on de Blasio's community schools plan, but advocates stay hopeful
Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to turn 100 schools into full-service community hubs. But so far the city hasn't set aside funds for the plan or announced a timeline for its roll out.
October 18, 2013
Recent Fannie Lou Hamer HS grad featured in PBS documentary
A recent graduate of Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the South Bronx is one of six students from across the…
August 1, 2013
De Blasio lays out education policy platform
Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is setting out four priorities in a speech this morning at CUNY’s new Institute for Education Policy, led by former State Education Commissioner David Steiner. Here they are, according to a press release from the de Blasio campaign: 100 New Community Schools in Four Years Schools can be more than just places of education – they can be vital epicenters of the community where students and their families receive the services they need. Bill de Blasio’s plan will streamline government bureaucracy and work with community stakeholders to develop 100 new community schools in his first term. Great Leaders to Lead Great Teachers in Every School Great schools need to be led by great leaders. Bill de Blasio’s plan will create a career ladder for new principals that have proven leadership potential and provide them with the resources and support they require to succeed. For those schools that are struggling, a Strategic Staffing Initiative will dedicate additional resources to the facilities that need it most.
May 31, 2013
UFT picks nine more schools that will add web of social services
UFT President Michael Mulgrew visited the health clinic at Sunset Park High School, one of six community schools this year, on the first day of school. The union is adding up to a dozen additional schools to the program for the fall. The United Federation of Teachers won't wait for a new mayor to expand the school model that the union says could be key to boosting student success. This fall, at least nine and possibly as many as 12 schools across all five boroughs will turn into "community schools," offering a full range of social services to students and their families. They will join the half-dozen schools that already transitioned to the model this year, using a combination of union, city, and private funding. The UFT has made the community schools model a priority in the lead-up to the city's mayoral election. Touting the model as one that could mitigate against the many obstacles to academic achievement that poor children face, the union organized several trips to Cincinnati, where all district schools use partnerships with businesses and non-profits to provide an array of supports including early childhood education, classes for adults, food banks, and health, dental, and vision services.
January 24, 2013
City moves to close Cypress Hills school at heart of federal grant
Students who participate in the Beacon after-school program at J.H.S. 302 in Brooklyn served healthy food after learning about nutrition. The nonprofit that runs the program wants to help the school improve, but the city wants to close it down. (Photo: Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation) As the new year began, J.H.S. 302 in Brooklyn thought it was on the right track. Principal Lisa Linder had worked with a local nonprofit to apply for a federal grant to flood the low-performing school and the surrounding neighborhood with extra help for students and their families. In late December, the nonprofit, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, found out it would get $371,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to move forward with the project. Then the other shoe dropped: The city Department of Education announced on Jan. 7 that it planned to close J.H.S. 302. The news has thrown the nonprofit partnership into question — and it has also put J.H.S. 302 at the center of a tug-of-war between two competing visions about how to improve struggling schools.
January 15, 2013
Quinn says city schools need collaboration, not competition
City Council Speaker and mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn visited a school with UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. In her first major education policy address, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn signaled that she would depart in significant ways from Mayor Bloomberg's approach to running the city's schools. Instead of pitting schools against each other, as Bloomberg's policies have, Quinn said she would push them to collaborate. Instead of directing funds to pricey consultants, she said she would look for solutions within the system. And where Bloomberg spurred rapid growth in the city's charter school sector, Quinn said she would keep the sector at its current size. But on other issues, Quinn suggested that she would take a cue from the Bloomberg administration. For example, she said she would improve "customer service" to help families resolve problems but said only that she would “engage parents in relevant decisions and keep them in the loop.” One of Bloomberg's first school policy changes, back in 2002, was to add parent coordinators to each school. But he has drawn sharp criticism for excluding parents from policy decisions. Quinn's ambitious list of education proposals includes extending school days, coordinating city services to provide comprehensive health and social services in schools, boosting literacy instruction, slashing some state testing, and buying a million tablets to replace textbooks.
January 2, 2013
Commission recommends broad overhaul, with few specifics
The high-profile commission charged with overhauling New York's public schools released its first set of recommendations today, endorsing several popular education reform policies but shying away from declaring a position on others. The full report, titled "Putting Students First," is below the jump. Governor Cuomo, who created the commission, stopped short of endorsing its recommendations, but did express early support for several ideas, including teacher performance pay and the community school model of using schools to offer supports beyond academic preparation. Other recommendations include expanding pre-kindergarten for students in poor districts, strengthening teacher and principal preparation programs, and extending the school day and year. The commission did not address some prickly issues, such as teacher evaluation. Chairman Richard Parsons said that was by design, citing a recommendation from State Education Commissioner John King that the commission wait to take up the topic until its next report, scheduled for next fall.
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