Zakiyah Ansari (left) of the Alliance for Quality
Education and Ocynthia Williams of United Parents of
Highbridgewere named to the Community Schools
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $52 million investment to turn 40 public schools into community centers that provide wraparound supports to students and their families. This week the mayor announced a Community Schools Advisory Board to help oversee the project. Two longtime parent organizers (and OTL allies!) have been named to the board: Zakiyah Ansari of the Alliance for Quality Education and Ocynthia Williams of Coalition for Educational Justice. Congrats Zakiyah and Ocynthia!
Capitol New York attended the first advisory board meeting where de Blasio explained more about the community schools project:
"De Blasio said his administration wanted to 'get under the hood and fix things essentially' in education, until eventually 'you can walk into any school and feel that it's a good choice for your child.'
'Community schools are one of the thrusts that will have potentially the biggest impact,' de Blasio said, explaining that community schools would boost parent involvement, attend to the needs of children with physical and mental health issues, and help tackle New York's inequality crisis.
Community schools are generally found in low-income neighborhoods and include wraparound services for students and their families, including health, dental and nutritional services, as well as English classes for parents."
Advocates and organizers in NYC have long been fighting for more investment in this community school model. In May, advocates and organizers in New York City rallied for community schools as part of a national day of action with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. Check out video from the event below. And check out the Coalition for Community Schools to learn more about what community schools do and the dozens of cities nationwide that are using them successfully.