NYC Mayor and Chancellor Launch Community Schools Initiative at NYU Wagner

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Speaking at NYU Wagner, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on July 17 detailed their plans to develop “Community Schools” that will match comprehensive community-based social services with learning programs at dozens of high-needs schools. Pointing to his goals of pre-K for every child and expanded after-school programs for middle schools, the Mayor and the Chancellor pledged that Community Schools will become a key component of organizing community and school resources around each child’s success.

"We are looking forward to a day when you can walk into any school in the city and feel that it’s a good choice for  your child," Mayor de Blasio told about 100 leaders in education, health care,  public employee unions, business, and other sectors gathered in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue. Community schools are one of the thrusts that will have potentially the biggest impact, the Mayor said, and added: "This could be a transcendent moment.”

The Mayor was introduced by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, the former president of the Children's Aid Society, which runs community schools throughout the city.

Set to launch during the 2014-2015 school year, Community Schools will build upon the success of existing  initiatives such as New York City’s Beacon schools, Cincinnati’s STRIVE, and several others, and establish as many as 100 in high-needs city schools by 2018. According to Chancellor Fariña, the program will partner schools with community-based organizations to bring a wealth of services to support students and parents and create a foundation for academic success. The array of in-school programming can include mental health services, vision testing, physical wellness, tutoring, job training, and family counseling to support at-risk students and families, in part so parents can help lead school improvement, city officials say. "When kids see their parents acting as leaders, they are more likely to feel good about themselves," the Chancellor said.