Middle school after-school enrollment hits 121 percent
City Awards 49 New Programs at Non-Public Schools, Community Centers; Many in Brooklyn
Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong on Wednesday announced that enrollment has reached 121 percent for the more than 75,000 city-funded after-school seats currently available to middle school students.
Additionally, 49 new School’s Out New York City (SONYC) programs — several of which are in Brooklyn — have been awarded to add more than 2,500 seats and nearly triple the number of existing seats at non-public schools and community centers beginning March 1. These sites build on the 271 new SONYC programs launched in September 2014, the largest expansion of after-school programs for sixth to eighth graders in the city’s history.
“With thousands of new seats added for our city’s youth at diverse non-public schools and community centers citywide, more of our parents and families can rest assured their children have positive alternatives during a key period of their lives,” de Blasio said.
“SONYC will soon be available to a more diverse body of youth than in the past, thanks to the city’s efforts to ensure that the programming benefits children of all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds,” said Councilmember Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn), chair, Youth Services Committee.
The unprecedented $145 million (FY15) investment in expanding after-school programs for middle schoolers is part of the de Blasio administration’s plan to transform public education in New York City, including Pre-K for All, the creation of new community schools and a historic contract with New York City’s teachers. SONYC will reduce inequality across all communities and provide sixth, seventh and eighth graders with safe, high-quality learning and recreational opportunities during an especially challenging time in their lives.
“Our middle schools serve as great a need as our pre-K, and the expanded after-school programs have been a large part of their wonderful success. They are so successful and so very necessary that they are operating at 120 percent capacity! We clearly need to find the resources for our after-school programs, so our children can continue their development,” said Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn).
“I applaud the additional funding to School’s Out New York City,” said Assemblymember Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn). “The early success of the program shows how badly needed after-school programs were. By involving more non-public schools and community centers, the city is able to better serve the diverse population of school children in all neighborhoods of New York City.”
In addition to the center and non-public school sites, SONYC and other city-funded programs are located in 562 public schools (including 60 in District 75). Enhancements include programs being open five days per week for 36 weeks during the school year, and a higher price per participant to cover the additional hours and enable providers to hire and retain qualified staff and provide high-quality programming.
“The SONYC program will fundamentally change the way we provide opportunities to empower and educate our youth. With this investment, we will be able to enhance our free, safe and enriching space where kids in the Arab-American community thrive academically as well as socially,” said Lena Alhusseini, executive director, Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn.
“We are very honored and excited to bring new after-school programming into the community, which will help bolster grades, raise self-esteem and provide social and cultural outlets to young adolescents. This will impact them immensely and will open up a new dimension of educational support and social interaction,” said Louise Welz, CEO, Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush Inc. in Brooklyn.
“RHI is excited to be able to expand its middle school program to serve more youth in a deeper way. SONYC funding will allow us to double our impact in Red Hook through high-quality programming and supports, and to target a particularly crucial and often under-served age group,” said Jade Elias, acting executive director, Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn.
The center-based programs in Brooklyn include Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC Brooklyn Center), Brooklyn Bureau of Community Services (New Church International), City Parks Foundation (Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center), City Parks Foundation (Red Hook Recreation Center), Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centers Inc. (1491 Bedford Ave.), Hebrew Educational Society (9502 Seaview Ave.), Madison Square Boys Girls Club (Navy Yard Clubhouse), Madison Square Boys Girls Club (Thomas S. Murphy Clubhouse), Red Hook Initiative (767 Hicks St.), Research Foundation of the City University of New York (Brooklyn College Art Lab), Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council Inc. (Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center) and Urban Strategies Inc. (Final Form Fitness).
The school-based programs in Brooklyn include Be’er Hagolah Institutes (671 Louisiana Ave.), Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, Inc. (Bais Yaakov of Boro Park), Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, Inc. (Masores Bais Yaakov), Play Study Win, Inc. (St Catherine of Genoa/St Therese of Lisieux Catholic Academy), Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov (206 Wilson St.) and Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov (Bnos Yaakov).
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