March 3, 2014
Historic transformation will lift up children at critical time in their development with athletic, cultural and academic enrichment
City to increase after-school programs from 239 middle schools to 512, ensuring every middle schooler has a safe place to learn and develop from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today released an interagency report detailing plans to implement the expansion of high-quality after-school programs to every middle school student who needs one. The historic investment will enable programs to reach nearly 120,000 children, ensuring they have a safe place to stay on task and out of trouble during after-school hours.
After-school programs cover a range of vital enrichment activities, from those aligned with school-day lessons in STEM, literacy and the arts; to homework help and tutoring; to dance, martial arts and other sports. Mayor de Blasio has called on leaders in Albany to authorize New York City to increase the local income tax on its highest earners to provide the dedicated and reliable funding required to expand those proven programs, as well as to ensure every child has access to high-quality pre-K.
"We are putting forward programs that will be game-changers for kids. I've seen with my own children what finding a passion in art or science can mean to someone at that age. This is a critical investment that will transform our schools—but it is also a powerful policy to keep kids out of trouble and fight the influences that can take them off the right path. We need the power to make this investment now," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The analysis prepared by the Department of Youth and Community Development, Department of Education, Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene details the city's plans to reach its goal of making after-school programs universally accessible to middle school students in the 2014-2015 school year.
Together, DOE and DYCD now provide 45,095 after-school program slots for middle school students that serve an estimated 56,369 students in 239 schools annually. Currently, 273 district schools with middle school grades do not have a comprehensive after-school program.
The proposed plan will provide $190 million in new funding for school year after-school services. As a result, starting in September 2014, an additional 62,791 middle school students will have the chance to attend free after-school programs, effectively doubling current service levels and availing programs in every school. Funding will also be set aside to enhance existing programs by increasing their hours of operation, thereby allowing more students to participate in after-school activity more days during the week.
"Middle school is a pivotal moment for student development, when children discover their interests, explore their passions, and grow intellectually. Expanding after-school programs not only reinforces classroom learning for middle schoolers, but also creates life-changing opportunities. Afterschool helps students become actively engaged in learning and deters them from being passive consumers of classroom information. This initiative is a critical investment that will undoubtedly help transform our school system," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
"We are ready. We have a solid foundation of programs and providers that we can expand rapidly to put high quality after-school programs in reach of every middle school student. We know what a hard time this is in our kids' lives. We know leaving them unattended during those after-school hours puts them at risk of juvenile crime. These programs are the kind of difference-maker every child deserves, and under this administration, every child will get that chance," said Commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development Bill Chong.
Programs will be determined through a request for proposals that matches community-based organizations with middle schools.