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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Announce Success of Community Schools: Increased Academic Outcomes Across City

NY City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza on Tuesday announced an independent report found the Community Schools initiative, which is changing the way schools across the City serve students by delivering social services within the school environment, is resulting in improved attendance, graduation rates and test scores. Today, the Department of Education (DOE) released the New York City Community Schools Impact Report, an independent analysis conducted by the nonpartisan, nonprofit RAND Corporation. The evaluation tracked 113 Community Schools over three years, and found the initiative has significantly improved student outcomes including graduation rates and math scores when compared to non-community Schools. 

“The jury is in – community schools work. Since Day One, we have been on a mission to no longer let zip code determine academic success, and community schools are one way we are delivering on that promise. From supporting students with in-school mental health services, to homework help and dental check-ups, these schools improve academic outcomes and cater to the unique needs of every student,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

“When we work together to meet the needs of the whole child our children succeed, our schools succeed, and our City succeeds. This means not only challenging our students academically, but also providing them eye glasses, mental health support, coats and shoes,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Our Community Schools are going above and beyond, improving students’ lives each year, and serving as an example of how we advance equity and excellence for all.”

Mayor de Blasio launched the Community Schools Initiative in 2014 to integrate academics, health, and social services inside of schools, and better connect students and families to support they need through partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs). The initial goal was to open 100 schools by 2017. Today, there are 267 Community Schools serving 135,000 students and families citywide, making it the largest Community Schools Initiative in the in the United States.

RAND’s impact report, entitled Illustrating the Promise of Community Schools: An Assessment of the Impact of the New York City Community Schools Initiative, covered the 2015-16 through 2017-18 school years and found significant results including:

  • Increases in graduation rates
  • Increases in math achievement in the third year of the study
  • Reductions in chronic absenteeism
  • Reductions in school-based incidents in elementary and middle schools

Increases in graduation rates 

During the 2017-2018 school year, the graduation rate for community schools was 7.2 percentage points higher than non-community schools. Additionally, throughout the three year study, student on-time grade matriculation was 1.2 percentage points and 4.5 percentage points higher for elementary/middle and high school Community Schools, respectively, compared to comparison schools.

Over the three year study, Community School high school students accumulated an average 1.3 more credits per student, per year compared to students in the comparison schools. Assuming on track progress is 11 credits per year, 1.3 credits is equivalent to 12 percent of a regular school year’s accumulation.

Increases in math achievement 

Students in grades 3 and 8 received scores 0.13 standard deviations higher than their comparison group. In other words, while the average student citywide is in the 50th percentile, by attending a Community School, the average student would be in the 54th percentile.

Significant reductions in chronic absenteeism 

A student is considered to be chronically absent if they miss ten or more days of school in a year. In the three years of the report, chronic absenteeism was 7.3 percentage points lower in elementary and middle school community schools compared to the comparison schools. When comparing high schools, chronic absenteeism was 8.3 percentage points lower. This decrease was greatest among students in temporary housing, whose rate of chronic absenteeism was 9.3 percentage points lower.  

Decreases in school-based disciplinary incidents 

Throughout the three year study, disciplinary incidents declined sharply in elementary and middle Community Schools compared to non-community schools. Community Schools saw an average of 0.10 fewer disciplinary incidents per student per year at the elementary and middle school level compared to comparison schools. In other words, in a school with 500 students, there were 50 fewer incidents every year. Disciplinary incidents also declined among students with disabilities, with 0.16 fewer disciplinary incidents per student, per year, and Black students, with 0.15 fewer disciplinary incidents per student, per year.

The full report is available here.

Community Schools are part of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which is building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. 3-K for All and Pre-K for All are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier; Universal Literacy is working towards ensuring every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade; and Algebra for All is improving elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensuring that all 8th graders have access to algebra. 

Equity and Excellence for All is also offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All is giving all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms, outlined in the 2017 New York City school diversity plan and through diversity pilots taking root in eight districts, are central to this pathway.

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