For the past three years, the graduation rates of community schools have been 4 to 9 percentage points higher than those of comparison schools. This effect was particularly pronounced in the third and final year of the study, when graduation rates in community schools were 7.2 percentage points higher than in comparison schools. The study attempted to isolate the effect of the community school program by using student-level data to compare 113 of the city's community schools with 399 other municipal schools that had similar demographics and levels of student achievement, but that did not receive a large amount of new resources. Counseling In Schools, an organization with 33 years of experience in developing anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices; implementing strong-based counseling programs for children and families; building strong relationships with community leaders; partnering with school administrators to improve outcomes; and providing a variety of professional development services, is proud to contribute to the success of the community school model. New York City is implementing this strategy on a scale unparalleled nationwide.
By investing in communities that have been marginalized by historic disinvestment and by recognizing that student success is affected both by factors outside the school and by what happens in the classroom, community schools have placed New York City at the forefront of a national movement focused on a holistic and comprehensive approach to education in urban centers. We took advantage of an innovative quasi-experimental approach to determine if community school students performed better than they would if their schools hadn't been designated community schools. The results showed that all community schools experienced a reduction in chronic absenteeism, with those with higher levels of implementation of mental health programs and services having a greater impact on this outcome than those with lower levels. Additionally, there was evidence of a variation in the impact of some results when comparing community schools that were simultaneously part of the NYCDOE School Renewal Program with those that were not. It has been five years since New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio committed to creating more than 100 new fully developed community schools. If other smaller initiatives are to be developed that inculcate a student support strategy that includes all children and the entire school, the coordinated efforts of the New York City Office of Community Schools, together with other key city agencies (such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity), can provide a promising model for such initiatives. Let's work together to achieve a bright and resilient future for New York City's children, families and schools.
Counseling In Schools supports the emotional and social well-being of New York City's school communities by creating programs that equip children, families, teachers and administrators with tools and support to thrive.