PRESS RELEASE: Three NYC Schools to Lengthen School Day for Students


Three New York City Middle Schools to Lengthen School Day for Students this School Year                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

District Partners with Citizen Schools to Add Hours and Spur Positive Academic Outcomes

New York, NY – September 8, 2010 – Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that runs programs in New York City and eighteen other cities across the country, announced today that it will partner with Brooklyn School for Global Studies, Global Tech, and MS 331 to lengthen the school day by three hours each day this school year.  The longer school day will be implemented for all grade levels at Global Studies and Global Tech Prep and only the sixth grade at MS 331.  In addition, Citizen Schools will be launching their 8th Grade Academy program at two schools, working with fifteen to twenty eighth graders to prepare students for the transition from middle school to high school.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The longer school day and Citizen Schools partnership is part of school transformation efforts at all three schools.  MS 331 has been designated a SINI (school in need of improvement) school by the school district.  Brooklyn School for Global Studies was recently designated as a “persistently low-performing school” and received federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding to boost student achievement.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   During the expanded hours, students will receive academic support, participate in math and/or English Language Arts “academic leagues” aimed at raising proficiency, and learn about what it takes to succeed in school and get into college.  In addition, students will sign up for “apprenticeships” where small groups of students will be matched with professionals from across New York City.  These volunteers will work under the supervision of Citizen Schools staff to teach students about different careers and professions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   This announcement comes at a time of great momentum for longer school days nationally.  Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have consistently called for longer days as part of their ambitious effort to reform the nation’s schools. In fact, expanded learning time (ELT) was highlighted as a key strategy to help struggling schools in the U.S. Department of Education’s blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “If we want our children to reach their full potential, we have to provide conditions in which high levels of learning can occur for all students,” said Serapha Cruz, Principal of MS 331. “At MS 331, this means offering a longer school day that includes a powerful mix of rigorous academic support and engaging enrichment programs that kids love.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Citizen Schools has seen great success with similar ELT programs nationwide.  For example, performance has improved dramatically at the Edwards Middle School, an ELT campus in Boston where Citizen Schools has served the entire 6th grade since 2006.  Between 2006 and 2009, 6th grade proficiency rates increased from 15% to 37% in math and from 27% to 49% in English Language Arts.  Edwards eighth graders, the first class to participate in ELT for all three years of middle school, outscored the state average in math in 2009.  Citizen Schools’ New York ELT programs are modeled after the organization’s Edwards Middle School ELT partnership.

Citizen Schools will be launching eleven similar programs nationwide this fall.  The organization aims to increase the number of students nationwide who benefit from an expanded learning day and validate ELT as a turnaround strategy for persistently low-performing schools.

“We know that expanded learning time done right is an effective strategy for helping schools succeed,” said Nitzan Pelman, Executive Director of Citizen Schools New York. “We chose to partner on expanded learning time programs with Brooklyn School for Global Studies, Global Tech Prep, and MS 331 after an intense application process because they each have strong, visionary principles who are committed to partnering in a deep way.  Citizen Schools is delighted to expand our presence in New York with expanded learning time programs at these three schools.”

Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools has grown into a national network of 37 “campuses” – middle school partner sites – in low-income communities across seven states.  The New York Citizen Schools program launched in 2008 and will serve 580students and engage over 200 volunteers across the city this school year.  The organization has partnered with Brooklyn School for Global Studies, Urban Assembly Academy for Arts & Letters, Isaac Newton Middle School of Math and Science, and STARS Prep Academy MS45 in New York City to provide afterschool programming for middle school students since the 2008-09 school year.

About Citizen Schools Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Citizen Schools uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building apprenticeships after school. The organization’s programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing students in the middle grades for success in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   # # #