An election-year announcement was made Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand a cornerstone of his education agenda - providing schools in struggling communities with more money and nt services. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
A longer school day, mental health counseling, health and dental clinics.
"The beauty of community schools is they reach the whole child and the whole family," Mayor de Blasio said.
In September, 69 more city schools will become so-called community schools, bringing the number to 215 serving 108,000 students.
The schools get extra resources to provide social and emotional support to students and families. The goal is to counteract some of the negative effects of poverty on student achievement.
"How many times was a child hindered academically because they had a mental health problem that was unaddressed?" De Blasio asked.
The initiative is a cornerstone of Mayor de Blasio's approach to education reform and it's popular with educators. Both the teachers and principals unions joined the mayor for the announcement.
The expansion will be financed by $25.5 million in federal grants each year, about $350,000 per school.
"For many of our kids their schools are their homes and I think this kind of initiative makes a big difference," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.
But while the mayor and his team repeatedly called the initiative a "game changer" - the numbers suggest more modest progress so far. One measure, the number of community school students chronically absent, has improved only slightly to 40 percent last year, from 47 percent the year before.
City officials acknowledged that it doesn't always work.
"You have to implement it well, you have to implement it with intentionality. It doesn't take the place of strong principles and strong teachers. It's not a panacea. But the research is pretty overwhelming that these supports as part of a larger strategy really do have an impact," said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.
Each community school is able to design a specific program around what the students need. For some schools, that means a food pantry. Others add arts programs. One school even installed a washing machine so students could have clean clothes.