Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

Dear Community School Lead CBOs and Partners,

Our city is in pain. We have witnessed the public and dehumanizing murders of Black lives. We have seen, and many of us have experienced, decades of racist policies that have resulted in the disproportionate rates at which people of color, and particularly Black lives, are being impacted by COVID-19.

Earlier today, Chancellor Carranza sent a message to all DOE staff, emphasizing the DOE’s values, calling on us to exercise our leadership, and providing valuable resources for educators, families, and communities. The Office of Community Schools stands in solidarity in condemning the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other victims of police brutality. We support the protests in demanding justice and dismantling the ongoing systemic racism that continues to inflict trauma on the Black community, communities of color, the Black and Brown children and families we serve and the staff who support them.

Black and Brown young people need and deserve to experience a sense of belonging, to feel seen, known and valued. We are here to empower them, hear their voice and fight for their right to thrive. They have the right to attend schools that engage them intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, that challenge them to realize their full potential and celebrate their full humanity.

Now, more than ever, OCS commits to working together with you to realize the promise of the Community School strategy--a promise to create schools where we organize resources and share leadership so that academics, health, youth development, and family engagement are integrated into the very fabric of the school community.

Through continuing to educate ourselves, working to develop an explicitly anti-racist agenda, and continuing to partner and dialogue with you and our community stakeholders, we know that we can get there. To that end, we’re working with the Coalition for Community Schools Excellence to organize a community conversation in the near future. I also invite you to reach out to myself or any member of our team to let us know how we can do better and move faster. We know that it is not enough to acknowledge the inequities that exist. Now is the time to direct our collective outrage to create real systems change.

I am honored to stand beside you in this work, work that we believe is bending the arc toward justice.

In solidarity,

Chris Caruso

The Office of Community Schools

The New York City Story

Beginning in fall 2014, 45 schools became NYC Community Schools as part of an attendance-improvement and drop-out-prevention grant in partnership with United Way NYC. There are now 267 Community Schools across every district in NYC, funded through city, state and federal dollars.

Support from All Sides

Educating a child to be successful in college and career requires a holistic approach. Community Schools help students find their passion by integrating academics, health, youth development, and family engagement.By bringing schools and partners together to create new opportunities and real results, we foster collaboration within a community.

Community Schools as Part of Mayor de Blasio's Equity Agenda

The New York City Department of Education envisions the expansion of Community Schools as a central strategy for achieving an equitable educational system. The initiative builds off of the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) Framework for Great Schools and is aligned with the administration’s various efforts focused on youth and families, coming on the heels of expanding full-day pre-kindergarten to every four-year-old and offering afterschool programs to every middle schools student.

With equity as a key driver, the administration will develop the next generation of Community Schools and establish the systems and structures to ensure they address inequality in sustainable ways. The programs and interventions provided in Community Schools are evidence-based strategies to close the achievement gap by expanding opportunities for young people. They prepare students—and families—to enter school on the right foot. By increasing student time in the classroom, as well as in the local museum, on the playing field, and in the chess club, Community Schools help prepare students to be college and career ready.

For more information, please contact Community Schools at communityschools@schools.nyc.gov.