Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Kick Off New School Year With 3-K for All Expanding to Four Boroughs

September 5, 2018

Mayor and Chancellor highlight Equity & Excellence for All agenda reaching every New York City school

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, and Deputy Mayor Thompson today joined students, families, and educators from across the City for the first day of the 2018-19 school year.

The Mayor, Chancellor, and Deputy Mayor Thompson visited the first-ever day of 3-K for All in Queens, at PS 377 in Ozone Park. This school year, free, full-day, high-quality 3-K is expanding to serve 5,000 students at 187 sites in six districts across four boroughs (Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn) – up from 1,500 students last year at 47 sites in District 7 in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn.  

“For too long, New York City was divided. Some people could afford an early start and others couldn’t,” said Mayor de Blasio. “That’s why we made early childhood education a priority from day one and why we’ve worked to expand our programs to reach every child regardless of zip code or income level. There’s nothing more important than unlocking the future of our youngest New Yorkers and we’re excited to welcome our students for what will be another successful school year.”

As Chancellor Carranza begins his first full school year in New York City, 3-K for All is expanding ahead of schedule and the Equity and Excellence for All initiatives are now reaching every New York City public district elementary, middle, and high school. This is also the first school year of the Chancellor’s streamlined leadership and support structure, which will align supports, bring resources closer to schools, and create a clear line of accountability from each classroom to the Chancellor.

“Welcome back to our 1.1 million students and their families, and our 145,000 educators and school staff – from Wakefield to Tottenville, and Rosedale to Washington Heights,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “I couldn’t be more excited to spend my first full school year in New York City with such talented and passionate students and adults, and I’m looking forward to an incredible year.”

“As a longtime educator at MIT, I saw that successful students often had one thing in common: quality early education,” said Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson. “3-K for All teaches young students how to learn, how to cooperate, how to solve problems and puts them on the path to lifelong academic success. There's no stronger investment we can make in our children, our families or our city.”

"The expansion of 3-K means high-quality, affordable education for many more families across New York City. ACS will continue to work closely with the Department of Education in supporting the City's children and families in the upcoming school year," said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell.

The Equity and Excellence for All agenda, now starting its third full school year, is driving progress across all schools so that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time, and two-thirds of graduates are college-ready. The agenda builds on record-high graduation rates, record-high college enrollment rates, record-low dropout rates, and a high-quality pre-K seat for every New York City 4-year-old who wants one.

Across the Equity and Excellence for All initiatives, the City is making progress and meeting or surpassing goals. Some highlights entering the 2018-19 school year include:

3-K for All is the nation’s most ambitious effort to provide universal free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old. Research has found every dollar invested in high-quality early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 long-term.

This is the second year of an expedited 3-K for All expansion. Each community school district will have a two-year expansion, offering universal access in the second year. The City is outpacing its initial rollout plan – 3-K is in six districts in 2018-19 compared to the originally announced four, and will be in 12 districts by fall 2021 compared to the originally announced eight.

By fall 2021, the City will support over 19,000 3-K seats across 12 districts in all five boroughs. At scale, the cost will be $203 million across the 12 City-funded districts. In order to achieve the vision of 3-K for All citywide, the City will need additional support from partners in the State and federal government.

Pre-K for All continues to offer a free, full-day, high-quality pre-K seat for every four-year-old who wants one. In 2017-18, 67,881 students participated in Pre-K.

This school year, over 1,800 DOE district schools, NYC Early Education Centers, EarlyLearn programs, and Pre-K Centers are offering free, full-day, high-quality pre-K. Families can continue to find pre-K seats by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/prek.

Universal Literacy has met its first benchmark: providing a reading coach or other support to all 792 New York City elementary schools to ensure students are reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade. The goal of the initiative is to have at least two-thirds of students reading proficiently by the end of 2nd grade by 2022, with the target of 100 percent of all 2nd-graders reading at grade level by 2026.

This school year, approximately 500 Universal Literacy reading coaches are serving elementary schools citywide. The initiative now includes additional investments in supporting children who speak a language other than English at home and children who face reading delays. 

AP for All has met its initial benchmark: 75 percent of high school students will have access to at least five AP classes this school year. We are on track to meet our goal of ensuring all high school students have access to at least five AP classes by fall 2021.

This school year, 252 high schools are offering new courses through the initiative, including 82 that offered no AP courses before the initiative. In its first year, AP for All supported a record number of students taking and passing AP exams. Specifically, 13.2 percent more Hispanic students and 8.9 percent more Black students took at least one AP exam in 2017 than in the previous year.

College Access for All has met its goals and is now reaching every middle and high school in New York City. Starting this school year, every 7th-grader in New York City will have an opportunity to visit a college campus. Approximately 70,000 7th-graders will be able to visit college campuses during the school year, and all 517 middle schools will engage students and families in a schoolwide college and career culture.

Additionally, starting this school year, every high school will have the resources and supports for students to graduate with a college and career plan. The initiative has also eliminated the CUNY college application fee for low-income students and made the SAT exam available free of charge during the school day for all high school juniors – increasing the number of juniors who took the SAT by 51 percent.

Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive schools – outlined in Equity & Excellence for All: Diversity in New York City Public Schools, the City’s school diversity plan, are underway. This includes the District 3 middle school diversity plan and the District 1 school diversity plan, and the City is currently reviewing the District 15 middle school diversity plan. The independent School Diversity Advisory Group, created as part of the City’s school diversity plan, is on track to share additional recommendations on policies to support more diverse and inclusive classrooms by the end of 2018.

“This is indeed an exciting time as New York's City's children head back to school for their first day of classes. This momentous occasion is made even more promising as the 3-K program is expanding to include more pupils and giving them the head start that they need to succeed,” said Senator James Sanders Jr.  “I commend the Mayor and Schools Chancellor for their hard work in accelerating 3-K faster than scheduled so that more students can take advantage of this program's many benefits.”

“Investing in early education brightens the futures of our children and strengthens the fabric of our city,” said Senator Leroy Comrie. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio for the investments he has made in early childhood education in our city, and I look forward to the roll out of 3-K for All in District 29 and across the 14th Senate District.”

“There is no greater honor that parents can offer educators than to trust us with their children. The school supervisors and administrators throughout this city proudly welcome back our students and their families, said Mark Cannizzaro, Executive Vice President at the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. “We are filled with the hope and determination that the first day of school always carries with it, and we look forward to the immense growth and achievement this new year will no doubt bring.”

Together, these and other Equity and Excellence for All initiatives are building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. Our schools are starting earlier – free, full-day, high-quality education for three-year-olds and four-year-olds through 3-K for All and Pre-K for All. They are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier – Universal Literacy so that every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade; and Algebra for All to improve elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensure that all 8th graders have access to algebra. They are offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All will give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms are central to this pathway.

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