Community School Supporters Form Advocacy Coalition to Ensure Success of Community Schools Citywide
WHAT: Today is the launch of the Coalition for Community School Excellence, a diverse alliance of more than forty community-based organizations, education organizations and advocacy groups that will collaborate with the Department of Education to impact the success of community schools in New York City. The coalition is launching days before the October 31st deadline for schools’ student rosters, which sets the baseline for student attendance this school year, a key metric for community school progress. To mark the launch, there will be a press tour today of P.S. 188, a community school that provides a rich education and strong supports for a high-needs student population in the Lower East Side.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 27 at 11:00am. Members of the Coalition will be in attendance and available to answer questions from the press.
WHERE: 442 East Houston Street New York, NY 10002
WHY: This is a critical moment for public education. The de Blasio administration has bet big on community schools as a strategy to transform the city’s struggling schools. With 50,000 children and their families in the new community schools throughout New York City, this is the largest community schools effort – and the largest school improvement effort – in the U.S., making this an important test case for the value of community schools. Enormous resources have been invested in the initiative, but the timeline for success is punishing; despite ample research showing that schools need at least 3-5 years to show improvement, many of these new community schools must show gains within one or two years or face being closed or reorganized. These factors present an urgent need for strong advocacy to ensure the highest-quality execution at all levels.
The Coalition’s priorities include:
- Ensuring that the community schools model in struggling schools is paired with a research-based instructional strategy that is tightly coordinated with student support structures
- Helping to secure and communicate clear benchmarks and timelines that schools and community partners are accountable for
- Ensuring an efficient, streamlined support structure for community schools
- Building public support to sustain and expand community schools, including training and organizing parents and engaging elected officials and community leaders
Together, the Coalition member organizations are working closely with more than half of the schools in the Mayor’s Community Schools Initiative in all five boroughs, as well as dozens of other community schools. COALITION MEMBERS (IN FORMATION): Advocates for Children of NY, Alliance for Quality Education, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Arab American Association of NY, Brooklyn Movement Center, Center for Family Life, Center for Popular Democracy, Child Center of NY, Children’s Aid Society, Cidadão Global, Citizen Action of NY, Citizens’ Committee for Children, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Community Service Society, Counseling in Schools, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Diaspora Community Services, DreamYard Project, El Puente, ExpandED Schools, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, FHI 360, Good Shepherd Services, Harlem RBI, Harlem Renaissance Education Pipeline C2C, Hispanic Federation, Internationals Network of Public Schools, Make the Road NY, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, New Settlement Parent Action Committee, NY Communities for Change, NY Immigration Coalition, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, Partnership with Children, Phipps Neighborhoods, Sheltering Arms NYC, South Asian Youth Action, The Black Institute, United Neighborhood Houses, Urban Arts Partnership, Urban Youth Collaborative, YMCA of Greater New York, Zone 126.Tweet
Parents and Advocates to Work with de Blasio Administration to Propose a Community Schools Policy to the Panel for Educational Policy to Guide Implementation and Ensure Longevity
**Community school parents and advocates are available for on-camera or print interviews** A week after the Mayor announced a long-term vision for public education, 100 parents and community members rally at City Hall in support of community schools. The Mayor’s Community Schools Initiative is the first comprehensive education initiative in almost two decades to focus on the city’s most struggling schools. The city’s 130 new community schools serve large numbers of students who enter school grappling with intense challenges:
- 90% are living in poverty, compared to 78% citywide
- 21% live in temporary housing, compared to 12% citywide
- 24% are students with disabilities, compared to 18% citywide
- 17% are English Language Learners, compared to 13% citywide
- Nearly one-quarter of students are absent for 10% of the school year, and another one-quarter are absent for 20% of the school year
There are successful practices being implemented in community schools across the city to support students in achieving academic success. Parents will testify about some of those practices:
- Gloria Alfinez-Khan from PS 42 in the Bronx
- Yamile Henry, Bushwick High School for Social Justice
- Princess Croneitt, PS 156 in Brownsville
- Paulette Sampson, PS 335 in Bed-Stuy
- Christian Rodriguez, Community Health Academy of the Heights in Washington Heights
As the Community Schools Initiative fully kicks off in the 2015-16 school year, it will be guided by a DOE policy that establishes clear standards for implementation and sustainability. In December 2014, twenty-five organizations came together to propose a draft community schools policy to the Department of Education that will engrave the core components of community schools into city code. Now, the DOE has drafted a version aligned with the Community Schools Strategic Plan and proposed it to the Panel for Educational Policy. Such policies are a core component of efforts to scale up community schools across the country. Marty Blank, the President of the Coalition for Community Schools, explains: “District-level community school policies are a key element of growing a system of community schools such as New York envisions. A policy does several important things. First, it sends a clear message across the school system and the community about what the district wants its community schools to look like. Second, having a policy in place helps to codify and sustain community schools once inevitable leadership changes occur in city government and DOE management. And finally, a community schools policy lends coherence to the development of new community schools, leading to a more consistent definition across schools, and high quality implementation that will get better results.”Tweet
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice Announces $5 Million Win for Supports Following Test Score Drop
Parents Successfully Push DOE to Address Record Number of Struggling Students With New Parent-Teacher Collaboration Initiative
(New York, NY)— Following this year’s dramatic test score drop that left over 300,000 students scoring below proficiency, parent leaders from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (NYC CEJ); representatives from the United Federation of Teachers; Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Suransky; and City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson announced an innovative and immediate parent-teacher collaboration initiative.
The initiative, designed, fought for and won by parents, is a $5 million commitment of new money from the Dept. of Education, to build collaboration between the parents and teachers of struggling students to review the new standards, understand children’s strengths and weaknesses and learn ways to support academic growth at home. The full commitment is below.Tweet