Children’s Aid Statement on the New York State Community Schools Initiative

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The Children’s Aid Society applauds Governor Cuomo for launching the New York State Community Schools Initiative, which will put children in some of New York’s highest-needs neighborhoods on a path to success. Community schools make an invaluable contribution to student academic achievement, children’s social and emotional health, family participation and community engagement—in districts around the country and the world.

With this initiative, 30 schools in high-needs communities will be funded to adopt a proven school reform strategy that brings together under one roof essential academic, health, mental health and social services. The foundations of the community schools model are: strong teaching and school leadership, rich and meaningful out-of-school experiences that reinforce learning, and health and social supports for students and their families to eliminate barriers to achievement.

From our 20-plus years operating community schools, we know that this initiative will help improve student achievement, student and teacher attendance, and parent and caregiver involvement. What’s more, we have growing evidence that this investment will bring strong returns, helping communities avoid the costs of bad outcomes—such as students' repeating a grade and overuse of emergency rooms for routine medical care—and benefit from the social and economic value of positive outcomes, such as children reading at grade level and high school graduation.

Children’s Aid also supports the related Executive Order, which will ensure that New York State’s wide range of targeted funding streams are more easily accessible to new community schools.  Giving priority to NYS Community Schools when state agencies are allocating related funds will leverage each of the State’s investments, ensuring that they are coordinated and aligned with the New York’s commitment to improving the college and career readiness of its students.

We thank the Governor for his leadership as we pave the way for a new generation of New York students to succeed at school and life.