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Expanding Community Schools Focus of New York City Initiative

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Crossposted from Lesli A. Maxwell at District Dossier.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled plans to bring a range of health and social services to 40 high-need public schools in the coming academic year, making good in part on a pledge to transform some of the city's most struggling schools into full-service community hubs. 

The $52 million initiative announced by the mayor and Chancellor Carmen Fariña, will launch the first 40 "community schools" in a broader effort that de Blasio has pledged will reach 100 schools across the city by the end of his first term.

The first 40 schools will be paired with nonprofit organizations and city agencies to deliver all kinds of services during the school days, after hours, and on weekends. Free counseling, health, dental and vision services will be among the offerings, as well as early-childhood programming and after-school opportunities for middle school students.

Since taking office in January, much of de Blasio's education agenda has been focused on a large-scale expansion of public preschool in New York City. His announcement on community schools is just the latest indication of the radical shift in focus in the New York City mayor's office on how best to improve public schooling and student outcomes. Under 12 years of control by former mayor Michael Bloomberg, policies to improve the 1.1 million-student system focused on charter schools, a school-grading accountability system, merit pay for principals and teachers, and citywide school curricula.

De Blasio's administration will partner with the United Way to select the 40 schools and nonprofit partners over the summer through a formal request for proposal process.

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