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City Outlines $635 Million ‘Academic Recovery Plan’ for NYC Public Schools

NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter (Ed Reed/ Mayoral Photography Office)

July 8, 2021 By Allie Griffin

City officials announced a multi-million dollar plan today to reboot New York City public schools after the majority of students spent a year learning online.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter outlined a $635 million “academic recovery plan” Thursday that focuses on improving early literacy and creating a universal curriculum among other goals.

“We’re going to jumpstart each child’s educational comeback,” de Blasio said at a Thursday briefing.  “The focus now is literacy for all.”

The plan sets a goal to ensure all students are reading at grade level by the third grade. Schools will employ literacy screenings — including screenings for dyslexia — for all students in kindergarten through second grade.

The plan also calls for reduced class sizes in high-need elementary schools as well as pumping additional funds into special education. The funds will help launch after-school and Saturday programs for students with individualized education plans (IEPs) and add 800 more special education Pre-K seats by 2022.

A new “mosaic” curriculum will be crafted by New York City educators and will include multi-ethnic learning material that better reflects the demographics of the city and its students.

“It is about New York City, made in New York City for New York City because we need a curriculum… that allows our children to learn in a way relevant to their lives,” de Blasio said at the briefing.

The curriculum will be developed next year and will be fully up-and-running in 2023. However, components of it will kick off immediately with the infusion of 9 million new “culturally-responsive” books in classrooms throughout the city.

“I’m excited to ensure every student is welcomed into an affirming, supportive and rigorous learning environment where they see themselves in the curriculum,” Ross Porter said.

The recovery plan also focuses on students’ digital aptitude and learning. The plan calls for 175,000 extra digital devices to ensure that each student has access to one. The city will also expand its computer science programs.

Lastly, the plan aims to boost students’ college and career readiness by instituting free, after-school college counseling; providing student success centers at 34 high schools; and offering 48 new virtual Advanced Placement courses.

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