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Will NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $400 million School Renewal Program Work?

By: Krystle Crossman

Urban Scholars Community School in South Bronx, NY has had a rough time. They were closed down once already due to lack of funding. They have since been reopened under the new name and have new leadership. One of the biggest problems however is that the children that attend the school come from some of the poorest neighborhoods in the district. There are many students who are absent a great deal of the time. Those that do come to the school usually have not had enough to eat and so they find it hard to concentrate. The teachers try to keep granola bars or snacks on hand just in case. The schools performance issues are what creates the most negative impact.

Urban Scholars has some of the lowest performance levels in the country. In the 2013-2014 school year only 2% of the students passed the English state exam. Only 4% passed the math exam. How can you fix a school that is missing a third of its students a good portion of the school year while the ones who are in school are hungry and distracted? They are hoping that a new education grant that was set up by New York mayor Bill de Blasio will aid them with better resources for their students.

De Blasio has a $400 million education restructuring program that is being implemented in the city. He wants to try and help not only the teachers to get the educational resources that they need, but also the families of the children who are attending the school. The schools that have the lowest performance and attendance rates are on the list of schools that will be a part of the School Renewal Program. The teachers will have professional development education that will give them better teaching techniques and a better understanding of their students. The students and their families are given support like no other school has done.

The Urban Scholars school is still floundering even though they are half-way through the three year renewal program. They fear that the problems may be too great to conquer effectively. They have resources that are brought in to the school that help the students and their families by offering services in relation to being homeless or not having enough food. The program tries to help the families with whatever they need so that the student is healthy and can concentrate on their work. Time will tell whether this school will be permanently closed or not, but for now it is a step in the right direction.

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