October 20, 2005New System to Deliver an Array of High-Quality Programs to City's Youth
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav today announced the launch of the City's new Out-of-School Time (OST) initiative, a three-year, $200 million initiative that will provide a mix of academic, recreational and cultural activities for young people after school, during holidays and in the summer. The new OST system consists of over 550 programs free of cost, in every neighborhood across the City. The programs, which are operated by 200 community-based organizations, are located in schools, community centers, settlement houses, religious centers, cultural organizations, libraries, public housing facilities, and Parks Department facilities. OST will serve more than 47,000 elementary, middle and high school students this school year, and is expected to grow substantially to serve at least 65,000 next September. These new programs are the product of reforms designed to make OST better targeted, more comprehensive, more accountable, and better integrated with the overall education reform goals. Joining Mayor Bloomberg at PS/MS 27 in Red Hook, Brooklyn were the principal at PS/MS 27 Sara Belcher-Barnes, Senior Counselor to the Chancellor for Education Policy Michele Cahill, the Mayor's Special Advisor for Governance and Strategic Planning Ester Fuchs, Administration for Children Services Deputy Commissioner Ajay Chaudry, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority Tino Hernandez, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin and Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services Sister Paulette LoMonaco.
"Our new Out-of-School Time system will better serve children and working parents by engaging youth at precisely times of the day when they are likely to be home alone or are most vulnerable," said Mayor Bloomberg. "For these young people, the learning and growing will continue even after the school bell has rung. This reform has been long overdue."
"The children of New York deserve the highest quality services during non-school hours and that is exactly what we have set out to do with this new system," said Commissioner Mullgrav. "We have adopted best practices from across the country to deliver comprehensive programs that help our young people develop socially, academically and emotionally in a supportive environment."
The announcement coincides with Lights on Afterschool!, a nationwide celebration, launched in October 2000. Lights on Afterschool! calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America's children, families and communities.
Lights On Afterschool! is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs by 2010.
The OST system is a model of interagency coordination as it reaches into every corner of the City and consolidates services from a multitude of City agencies. For example, the Department of Education (DOE) is hosting 60% of all OST programs in public schools and will contribute a range of services, including security and healthy snacks. Other programs are located in New York City Housing Authority facilities, in Parks and Recreation facilities and in Public Libraries. Additional resources are coming from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Cultural Affairs.
The City's new OST system is strengthened through several public-private partnerships. The Wallace Foundation supported the OST planning process and is providing a five-year $12 million grant. OST is also supported through partnerships with The Clark Foundation, the Partnership for After-School Education, Policy Studies Associates, Inc., the Citizen's Committee for Children and the Fund for the City of New York.
"The City's new Out-of-School Time system-based on an analysis of where current services are provided, market research among parents and children, quality standards, and wide-ranging community input - lays a strong foundation for improving services to children and youth, particularly those most in need," said President of The Wallace Foundation Christine DeVita. "Approaches pioneered here will provide valuable lessons for other cities around the nation seeking to develop more effective out-of-school time systems."
System-wide changes have brought OST programs to neighborhoods and communities that traditionally have been underserved. High-need areas were pinpointed by analyzing five demographic variables: youth population; youth poverty rate; rate of youth ages 16-19 years who are not in school, not high school graduates, and not in the labor force; number of English Language Learner students in public schools; and the number of single parent families with related children under 18. 60% of programs were opened in 58 high-need zip codes in the City. In total, there will be 118 OST programs in the Bronx, 194 in Brooklyn, 118 in Manhattan, 105 in Queens and 23 in Staten Island. OST programs form the core of New York City's youth programming, which includes a broad spectrum of more than 1,400 City-funded after school programs in total.
Building on his commitment to improving the education system, Mayor Bloomberg began the OST reform initiative in the fall of 2003, inviting 200 community leaders and representatives from City Agencies, community organizations, parent groups and foundations to attend an OST summit. Working groups drafted plans for quality standards and a streamlined infrastructure. After an open and competitive review process of proposals, hundreds of programs were funded, bringing an array of new OST activities to youth across the City, including areas which were previously underserved, such as the Rockaways and Staten Island.
Families can find OST and other youth programs in their neighborhood, including program hours, ages served and types of activities either online at www.nyc.gov/dycd or by dialing the City's 311 information line.