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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.
priority on community
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.
the road to city hall
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.
January 2, 2013
UFT tours get mayoral hopefuls weighing "community schools"
All four of the likely Democratic candidates for mayor, seen here with Republican Tom Allon during an education policy discussion in November, have traveled to Cincinnati with the United Federation of Teachers to view "community schools." Among the thousand visitors from across the country who streamed through Cincinnati's Oyler School in the last year were all four of New York City's likely Democratic candidates for mayor. They made the trip at the invitation of UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who has been touting Oyler as the epitome of a school model that he hopes New York City's next mayor will promote. The trips have been held up as evidence that the candidates are all trying to win the union's endorsement. But just as significant as why the candidates made the commute is what they saw when they got there. Cincinnati has turned all of its more than 50 district schools into “community schools” that rely on partnerships with businesses and non-profits to provide an array of services. The school buildings stay open until late into the night and on the weekends, providing early childhood centers, adult education, access to gyms, translation services, tutoring, and food banks to the general public. Local hospitals embed nurses in the schools full-time to provide free health, dental, and vision services. As one of the first schools in Cincinnati to make the evolution, a decade ago, Oyler is seen as an anchor for the model.
with our powers combined
June 27, 2012
Union's 'community schools' initiative gets a boost from the city
Teachers' union president, Michael Mulgrew, greets chancellor Dennis Walcott, at announcement for community school initiative. When teachers' union president Michael Mulgrew announced a grant program last month to bolster social services in schools, he said the union was moving ahead because the Department of Education was not. But today, when Mulgrew announced the schools that will receive grants, Chancellor Dennis Walcott was standing next to him. The two came together in a last-day-of-school show of camaraderie after a year in which relations between the union and the city grew more strained than ever. The joint appearance meant that amount of grant money awarded doubled, to $600,000, since Mulgrew's May announcement. That will make it possible for six schools to bring health and dental clinics, tutoring, counseling programs, and social services to students and their families, as part of a pilot program to create “community schools.” The UFT and Department of Education are each contributing $150,000, and the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of business groups, is adding another $300,000. The initiative is based on a program in Cincinnati that coordinates and targets social services there. The goal is to harness existing services so they are used more effectively. “We put enormous resources into our education system, into our healthcare system, and some of our other service systems, but we don't do a very good job of maximizing the output,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City. “We've had services for very long time in New York City. What we want to do now is start coordinating the services at the school site,” said Mulgrew, who was part of the team that began developing the initiative two years ago.
race to the race to the top
May 18, 2009
Weingarten: Stimulus money should fund community schools
The special pot of federal stimulus dollars for schools known as the “Race to the Top” money should go toward extra services outside of…
February 19, 2009
Weingarten: Stimulus "a big, big step forward but not enough"
I asked teachers union head Randi Weingarten today whether she shares Mayor Bloomberg’s optimism that the city will be able to use…
outside the box
February 4, 2009
A venerable welfare agency says mayoral control could help kids
Most supporters of mayoral control list similar reasons for why they prefer the governance structure: it consolidates accountability in a single person; it reduces corruption that can proliferate in a decentralized system. But there's also a less prominent argument: that mayoral control could facilitate a new breed of full-service schools that tackle both poverty and low academic achievement. Teachers union president Randi Weingarten made this argument last year when she said mayors could create "community schools" by linking city agencies in innovative ways. But I hadn't heard it again until today, when I spoke with Katherine Eckstein, a public policy expert who works at the Children's Aid Society, one of the city's oldest social services agencies. "When kids are hungry or depressed, or have no place to go, or have chronic medical problems, they have no way to take advantage of opportunities put before them," she told me. Eckstein, the public policy director for the organization's National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools, said many services exist that can help students deal with such issues, but they are not always effectively delivered. "I see this as the promise of mayoral control — harnessing the power of city agencies," she said, adding that the Children's Aid Society plans to promote this idea as the debate over mayoral control's future picks up.
who should rule the schools
December 2, 2008
To cut costs, report suggests mayoral control expand upstate
Another recommendation from the Suozzi report I wrote about earlier today, the one recommending ways for state schools to cut costs, is that the mayors of the Big Four cities — Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Yonkers — be granted control of their public school systems, like Mayor Bloomberg was in 2002. How could mayoral control cut school costs? The commission makes two arguments. One is that handing control to the mayor would allow for more efficient spending. The schools could be linked with other services under the mayor's purview, like parks, recreation, and social programs. The second argument is more long-term: Most importantly, if mayoral control is successful in improving school performance, there may be a positive effect on economic development, retention of middle class families, and protection or expansion of the property tax base. The arguments are interesting — especially because they provide two good yardsticks to measure New York City's mayoral control experiment.
mark your calendar
November 14, 2008
In quest to be atypical, Weingarten will give "provocative" speech
Randi Weingarten (via Flickr) Randi Weingarten, the teachers union president, hopes to be known as an unconventional labor leader. She will be sending that signal strongly on Monday, in a speech at the National Press Club that she is hyping as a big deal — both to reporters and to D.C. education insiders. Mayor Bloomberg is introducing her speech, which is titled, "Making the Right Choices for Education and the Economy." Janet Bass, a spokeswoman for the American Federation of Teachers, the national union that Weingarten recently became president of (she's holding onto her local New York City presidency too), told me that the speech will be "provocative": She’s going to be talking about provocative ways — interesting, unconventional ways — to improve schools and student achievement, and will be putting forth some recommendations that some people would not think are typical of a teachers union. Any guesses on what Weingarten will endorse? Keep in mind that in her big speech accepting the presidency of the AFT, she promoted the idea of "community schools." In case you've forgotten, below the jump is a video clip with the key description:
RISE & SHINE
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