Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a DOE/CAS Community School
On December 4, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Chief Academic Officer and Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky held a press conference to announce that during the 2012-2013 school-year New York City students had achieved an all-time record high school graduation rate. The press conference was held at the City College Academy of the Arts, a 6th to 12th grade, DOE/CUNY/Children’s Aid Society community school in Upper Manhattan. Preliminary figures show that 66% of the city’s students graduated in 2013, an increase of 42% since 2005 – and City College Academy has a graduation ratio of 95%! The mayor praised the role of parents, teachers and partners in helping bridge the achievement gap. Several newspapers and TV networks covered the press conference.
Colombian Philanthropist Elisa Biester
On December 6, Colombian philanthropist Elisa Biester visited the Salomé Ureña Campus in Washington Heights. She was referred by Ebert Artunduaga, a pioneering champion of community schools in that country, and a longtime friend of the NCCS. Ms. Biester toured the after-school program and was particularly impressed by the art components. Her main interest was to understand how outside partners collaborate to sustain the strategy and to influence policy changes.
Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School
On December 11, Tracy Caldron, director of family and community outreach at Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School (LEL), and Geoffrey Roehm, its executive director, visited the Salomé Ureña Campus in Washington Heights. LEL is a new 6th to 12th grade charter school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and is part of the NYC Outward Bound Schools. LEL currently has two middle school grades (6th and 7th) and will increase by one grade a year until it reaches grade 12. The senior leadership feels strongly about serving the whole child, and is very interested in exploring the community school strategy in response to the school’s large number of students with special needs. They toured the school, talked about partnership specifics with the community school director and met with NCCS staff to discuss possible technical assistance needs.
Marieke Heers, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
On December 20, Marieke Heers, a doctoral student from Maastricht University, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research, visited the NCCS. Ms. Heers is finishing her dissertation on the ‘Effectiveness of community schools in the Netherlands,’ and wanted to get feedback on her findings from center’s senior staff. Community schools are an important factor improving educational equality in Holland; NCCS has provided technical assistance to different groups trying to implement the strategy since 1994. Ms. Heers was referred by Michael Rebell, of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University. Our guide, “Building a Community School,” was translated to Dutch in 1997.