Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter unveils academic recovery vision for New York City’s students

Photo credit: City of New York

Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter announced on July 8, 2021 the academic recovery vision for New York City’s public schools and students in the wake of the pandemic.

The framework will guide school communities and support students during the 2021-22 school year and beyond, stressing six critical areas of focus:
– Early literacy for all,
– Developing students as digital citizens,
– Preparing students to be college- and career-ready,
– Investing in special education services,
– Building a rigorous and inclusive universal curriculum, and
– Investing in social/emotional supports for every student.

In addition, each focus area includes dedicated supports for multilingual learners and immigrant students to address their unique needs and support their academic progress and language acquisition.

Early Literacy for All – $49M in FY22
The Administration will redouble its commitment to early literacy by investing in screening and intervention for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade, with a singular goal of all students reading on grade-level by the end of 2nd grade. To accomplish this, schools will use a universal literacy screener for all K-2 students. The screeners will identify risk for dyslexia as well as other challenges and print-based disabilities, and schools will implement intervention plans based on the results.

The Department of Education (DOE) will support schools through the literacy intervention process by:
– Targeted class-size reduction achieved through hiring approximately 140 teachers in 72 higher-need elementary schools.
– Bringing the number of Universal Literacy reading coaches to approximately 500 to provide all early childhood and K-2 classrooms with a literacy coach, and training K-2 educators to provide literacy supports to students in need.
– Training ENL, bilingual and content-area teachers to track student progress and provide targeted supports for multilingual learners.
In addition to the $49M investment, the DOE is providing funds to all schools to use for targeted supports for students, such as tutoring, extended day, and enrichment activities.

Devices for Digital Citizens – $122M in FY22
The pandemic led to an unprecedented investment in technology, with over 800,000 devices purchased by the NYCDOE and schools. The Academic Recovery Plan leaves remote learning behind, but builds on this technological advancement by guaranteeing all students have access to a digital device and ensuring all students become fully fluent digital citizens for the new economy. As part of this commitment, the DOE will:
– Guarantee a device available for every K-12 student by delivering 175,000 more devices.
– Expand access to the City’s rigorous Computer Science 4 All initiative to 400,000 students by 2024.
– Train over 5,000 educators in advanced computer science.
– Launch a technology capstone project for all 8th grade students to demonstrate digital literacy skills.

Preparing Students to be College- and Career-Ready – $10M in FY22
As the City recovers from the pandemic, preparing students to graduate college- and career-ready is more important than ever. The Academic Recovery Plan will ensure every student, whether heading to college or a career, is best prepared for the next step in life. It makes multiple investments that benefit every high school student, including:
– Free, afterschool, personalized college counseling for every junior and senior.
– Universal College Financial Aid Guidance to help navigate the application process, available in multiple languages.
– 48 new remote AP college-prep courses.
– College Now restoration to serve 22,000 students from all high schools in dual-enrollment, college-credit courses across 18 CUNY campuses.
– Immigrant Ambassador Programs across 30 high schools that match immigrant DOE students with college students to foster mentorship and early college awareness.
– Student Success Centers for 34 high schools to ensure post-grad plans for all students, and expanding the Postsecondary Readiness for ELLs Program (PREP), to be facilitated by a select group of school counselors and educators.

Special Education Investments – $251M in FY22
The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on our students with disabilities. The Academic Recovery Plan will make every resource available to better support students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). It extends from the DOE’s youngest learners to students preparing for graduation by:
– Launching afterschool and Saturday programs for all students with IEPs to receive additional instruction and related services.
– Adding 800 preschool special education seats by fall 2022.
– Expanding Committees on Preschool Special Education to expedite evaluations and IEP meetings.
– Providing eligible students ages 21+ with continued instruction toward receiving their diploma or other exit credential, or to receive consultation to facilitate post-secondary plans for college and career readiness.
– Expanding family workshops and information sessions through our Beyond Access Series, which supports families of students with disabilities.

Universal Mosaic Curriculum – $202M in FY22
New York City will develop a rigorous, inclusive, and affirming curriculum by fall 2023 – the Universal Mosaic Curriculum. Currently, there is no single off-the-shelf curriculum academically rigorous and inclusive enough for New York City’s 1,600 schools and one million students. This curriculum will be built on Literacy for All, accelerate student learning, and free teachers from time-consuming curriculum development.

The DOE will create a comprehensive ELA and Math curriculum that engages all students and prepares them for success in school and life by:
– Providing an unprecedented infusion of books into every classroom for next school year that reflect the variety of histories, languages and experiences that make up the City.
– Providing schools with dedicated funding to purchase texts in home languages and build home-language libraries to support multilingual learners.
– Developing brand new training and support materials for the Arts, ELA, Math, and more, in partnership with New York City educators, beginning next year.
– Launching new targeted professional-development lessons for teachers.

Social Emotional Supports for Every Student (Funding Previously Announced)
Children in every community are carrying trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a successful academic recovery can only happen when the emotional and mental health needs of students are taken care of. As previously announced, the DOE is significantly investing in every student by:
– Hiring over 500 social workers and other mental health support staff to guarantee that every school has resources to support students who may be in crisis.
– Adding over 130 new community schools to provide expanded social, emotional, academic, and extracurricular services to students in the highest-need communities.
– Conducting wellness checks and social-emotional learning support to identify multilingual learners and their needs, particularly in transitioning to full-time in-person learning.
– Using a social/emotional screening tool to help identify students in need and quickly match them with services.

The academic recovery vision demonstrates the DOE’s commitment to lifting up New York City’s school communities beginning as early as September 2021, and ensuring they have the resources to recover stronger than ever from the impacts of the pandemic for years to come.


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