Mayor de Blasio, Harlem’s Espaillat And Others Announce 69 New Schools

May 11, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Harlem U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and others today announced the expansion of the Community Schools Initiative to 69 new schools this September, 2017.

The project provides students with expanded learning opportunities, robust family engagement 2017. The projects have a 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. 

“Teachers know that educating a child requires addressing the challenges they face both in and out of the classroom. This program is a critical step in dealing with those obstacles,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “We applaud the administration for expanding an initiative that benefits children, communities, and schools.”

“The community school concept is a historic part of minority communities, where you saw your teacher in class, leading Sunday school in church and in the neighborhood,” said Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan. “Our community school principals are changing the lives of students, families and our city. Now even more students will benefit from these incredible schools.”

“Education extends beyond the classroom, to a student’s experiences throughout the year,” said U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke. “By expanding the Community Schools Initiative, Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carmen Fariña, and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery are supporting the development of partnerships with community organizations that will result in additional learning opportunities and positive experiences.”

Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve, and it is up to each of us as elected officials, community leaders, teachers and administrators to ensure that our students have the necessary resources and programs to support their academic excellence, development and achievement in their futures…

“Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve, and it is up to each of us as elected officials, community leaders, teachers and administrators to ensure that our students have the necessary resources and programs to support their academic excellence, development and achievement in their futures,” said Harlem U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat.

“The 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Program has been critical in helping expand educational opportunities for our future generations in NYC. The new community schools announced today, including 3 in the Bronx, will allow more families to access a high-quality, well-rounded education for their children. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue supporting allocating federal appropriations for this important effort,” said U.S. Representative José Serrano.

“Bringing together dedicated supportive services under one roof in the school setting helps improve outcomes,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m glad the mayor is expanding this program to more Manhattan schools.”

“Expanding learning opportunities to students and their families is vital to strengthen our communities,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “With the key participation of community-based organizations, community schools offer students a mechanism to build academically while engaging and supporting their families, a formula for success. I applaud this Administration’s efforts for increasing the number of community schools in the City, including one in my district.”

“Community Schools are an innovative way to holistically address the issues students across New York City face. By partnering with community organizations to support the social, physical, academic and emotional needs of students, New York City can take strides in addressing the achievement gap between different communities and ensure that the opportunity to succeed is available to every student. I applaud the Mayor and the Chancellor for opening 69 new Community Schools in September across New York City and look forward to working with them to make this program as successful as possible,” said State Senator Marisol Alcantara.

“Supporting our schools is essential in providing a well-rounded education for our children,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “The Community Schools program operates with the understanding that improving struggling schools requires a holistic approach. It is more than just throwing money into equipment. It is also about engaging the community, health and wellness services and partnering with parents. I am very eager to see the improvements the program will bring to Flushing and John Bowne High Schools, and JHS 189 and I thank the Mayor and Schools Chancellor Farina for recognizing the potential in these three schools.”

“I welcome the investment of resources in education announced today. The announcement of 69 additional community schools will be greeted by excitement and enthusiasm throughout the neighborhoods I represent and across our City. Making the right investments in our City’s young people is a surefire strategy for long-term success,” said State Senator Jesse Hamilton. “Thanks to Mayor De Blasio, Chancellor Fariña, and all the educators and partners who will make these schools a success.”

“I am proud to have fought to ensure funding was allocated in the State budget to help convert our institutions into community schools. Community schools are an investment in our children. They eliminate barriers so that every student can get an education that helps to shape their future.  This expansion will allow us to deliver valuable services to both students and their families, including critical support to at-risk children, as well as strengthen our neighborhoods. Thank you Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina for helping to make this a reality,” said Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj.

“I am glad to see New York City, already a leader with the largest number of community schools in the nation, continuing its expansion of this important program. It is such a simple idea – and a smart one: expanding a school into an even more important hub in the community where children not only receive an education with bolstered academic support, but where they and their parents can find much needed and centrally available social, physical and mental health services. I look forward to seeing the Mayor and the Schools Chancellor creating even more community schools – especially in my own district,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda.

“The Community Schools initiative supports children and families both inside and outside the classroom, mimicking the way education takes place in real life and offering encouragement when and where it is most needed,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “I’m pleased that children and parents in my district will be able to benefit from this program and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina for expanding it.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and NYC DOE for expanding community schools across our city,” said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. “Investment in education is essential in elevating our communities, especially those that have been traditionally underrepresented. Today, I am hopeful for the future of our children as education is made a continued priority. Community schools have played a crucial role in closing the educational achievement gap and this expansion gives us the tools to continue this most important work.”

“Community schools provide critical resources for students and their families in high-need districts,” said Assembly Member Pamela Harris. “The expansion of this program, which will transform J.H.S. 259 William McKinley into a community school, will benefit our kids and strengthen our neighborhoods. In the Assembly, I’ll continue fighting for increased school funding because our children deserve a quality education that reflects their needs and prepares them for future successes.”

“Transforming IS 230 and PS 148 into community schools will benefit students in my district for years to come,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “Community Schools empower our children by offering a wide range of services including support groups and childcare for parents, access to healthcare, mentorship and other valuable programs.  Thanks to this expansion, 215 NYC public schools will benefit from the initiative.  I am pleased that the administration has embraced this common-sense, holistic approach to education.  I will continue to work to bring this successful model to additional schools across the city.”

“New York City’s Community Schools Initiative and PS 188, the Island School,  exemplify the Coalition’s vision of schools as hubs of community that unite families, educators and community partners to fulfill the mission of public education,” said Marty Blank, Coalition for Community Schools Director. “I congratulate New York City and PS 188 the Island School for its commitment to serving the whole child and being a national leader in this work”

“I started my career as a Community School program director in Washington Heights and I know firsthand that Community Schools offer students opportunities to learn, gain skills, create joy and have experiences that ignite curiosity and allow children to discover their passions and talents,”  said Christopher Caruso, Executive Director for the Office of Community Schools. “I am proud to bring opportunities to thousands of more students as we scale the Community Schools strategy in New York.”

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to become a Community School and strengthen our partnership with the Leadership Program,” said PS 155 Principal Michelle Manns. “Connecting our students and families with top-quality academic, enrichment and health and social services will help remove barriers and lift the entire community, providing a better and brighter future for all.”

“The Leadership Program (TLP) is proud to be the lead CBO partner at PS 155 Nicholas Herkimer,” said Christine Courtney, President, The Leadership Program. “It is truly an honor to be a part of this school community. We are excited to deepen our relationship and commitment to the school through the Community Schools Initiative in order to support Principal Manns in helping every student thrive.”

“Our school community is extremely proud and honored to be recognized by the Coalition of Community Schools,” said Principal Suany Ramos, of PS 188 in Manhattan. “Every day our teachers, school staff, administrators and community partners work together to address the needs of every child and family that enters our school.”

“We are so proud to celebrate the Individual Community School Award with Principal Ramos, the School Leadership Team and the entire PS 188 community,” said Maureen Fonseca, CEO at the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation. “SASF looks forward to continuing our partnership with PS 188 to develop each child’s academic and life skills while also enhancing character as they become contributing members of The Island School community.”

For more information on Community Schools visit 

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