This Week in New York City Government
Mayor de Blasio Appoints Penny Abeywardena to the United Nations Development Corporation Board of Directors
Mayor de Blasi announced the appointment of Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, to the Board of Directors of the United Nations Development Corporation.
Abeywardena brings a strong record of hands-on and innovative leadership to her new role, and her appointment deepens the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to the United Nation’s presence in New York City. As Commissioner of International Affairs, she serves as the primary liaison between the City of New York and the diplomatic community, foreign governments, the United Nations and the U.S. Department of State. New York City is home to the largest diplomatic community in the world, with 193 Permanent Missions, 115 Consulates, and the headquarters of the United Nations – and 75 international trade commissions. In her current role, Abeywardena is building a global platform from which the City promotes its goals for a more just and accessible society, showcasing the diversity of New Yorkers and sharing policies and best practices with the world. The Commissioner’s team works constantly to foster positive relations and to encourage collaboration between the international community and New York City’s agencies and local neighborhoods.
The United Nations Development Corporation is a New York State public benefit corporation created in 1968 to assist the United Nations community with its office space and other real estate needs. The Corporation also provides advice and services – including studies – with respect to real estate needs and development in New York, as requested by the State or City of New York, the United States, or the U.N.
De Blasio Administration Expands Access to Government Publications Through Unified Online Portal
The de Blasio administration, led by the Department of Records and Information Services (DoRIS) with technical support from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), announced the launch of the City’s government publications portal. The portal, currently available in beta version, is a consolidated online hub that stores thousands of reports issued by City agencies—for which the records department serves as the historical repository. This portal is required by the City Charter and makes current government reports available to the public in one centralized location.
This revamped publications portal will expand New Yorkers’ access to government records online by enabling the public to easily and quickly search—at one online location—a vast quantity of City reports by document title, description, agency, type of report, and category. A year ago, only 48 percent of agencies had provided electronic reports for online posting. Now, 100 percent of mayoral agencies and offices are submitting reports. To date, approximately 12,000 publications are currently online, with 7,000 more submitted and others being added as they are issued. More will be submitted in the coming months, as the portal continues to develop.
Key Features of the Government Publications Portal
- Basic Search – Comb through the database by searching document titles, descriptions, agencies, types, and categories to give you the best possible results.
- Advanced Search – Filter your results by agency, category, and type to make the search even faster and more targeted.
- Sorting – Sort any search by agency, category, type, and relevance.
- Dynamic Pagination – View 10, 20, 50, or 100 results per page.
- Mobile-Friendly, User-Centered Design – See documents without manually saving them to your computer.
Mayor de Blasio Tours Automotive High School, Improving ‘Renewal School’ in Brooklyn
Mayor Bill de Blasio met with students and faculty at Automotive High School in Brooklyn, one of 94 Renewal Schools where the administration is focusing resources and leadership to raise achievement. The Renewal School ‘War Room,’ launched this month, is tracking schools’ progress through CompStat-style metrics and analysis, focusing additional resources and expertise based on schools’ progress.
Automotive High School had become one of the most dangerous campuses in the entire city, creating an unsafe environment that made strong instruction virtually impossible. Under Principal Caterina Lafergola, safety has dramatically improved at Automotive. A new wave of investments made under the Renewal Schools program is making education gains. The school has added new and expanded Career and Technical Education offerings in field like Law to prepare students for careers, instituted new math and English curricula that have proven effective in other schools, and more than doubled the number of students participating in enriching after-school programs. As part of Automotive’s transformation, every teacher and administrator must reapply for his or her position, ensuring the school and students’ have the very best faculty to complete this turnaround.
Mayor de Blasio announced the $150 million Renewal Schools program in November, dedicating experienced new leadership and new resources to 94 schools that have struggled for years. The effort is overseen by the new Executive Superintendent for Renewal Schools, Aimee Horowitz, a leader with a track record of turning around troubled schools and raising student achievement.
In the past three months, initial changes have gotten underway at Renewal Schools, including the addition of extra instructional time in 54 schools, academic intervention teams deployed to overhaul curriculum and course offerings, and groups of experienced principals and assistant principals sent to high-needs schools to strengthen leadership and help change direction. This spring, every Renewal School will begin its transformation into a Community School to help students overcome barriers to learning with counseling, mental health services and family supports.
Mayor de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye Announce Michael Kelly as NYCHA’s Next General Manager
Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced the appointment of Michael P. Kelly as the Authority’s next General Manager. A proven housing industry leader, Kelly is a licensed architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, a certified urban planner and member of the American Planning Association, and a LEED Green Associate of the US Green Building Council. Kelly has led and strengthened housing authorities in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans – and he has previously served as General Manager in New York City. Kelly was approved unanimously at a regularly scheduled NYCHA Board meeting this morning.
Kelly began his career by spending a decade at the San Francisco Housing Authority, after which he was hired at HUD as a Troubled Agency Recovery Specialist. After spending a year at HUD, he went on to lead the New Orleans Housing Authority (HANO) from 1995 to 1999, where he established comprehensive agency-wide management improvement initiatives that resulted in the removal of the agency’s status from HUD’s Troubled Housing List. After getting HANO off the Troubled Housing List, he went on to serve as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority for 9 years, overseeing a capital budget of $130 million and 8,000 units of public housing as well as 10,000 units under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. At DHCD, he secured an $80 million bond deal to finance the authority’s property modernization and met the two-year deadline to obligate funds. This massive modernization program added 20 years to the authority property’s life and was completed in May 2009.
After building the District’s housing authority into national prominence, Kelly served as General Manager at NYCHA from 2009 to 2011 before being tapped by the Obama administration to lead an overhaul of the Philadelphia Housing Authority – the nation’s fourth largest housing authority with 1,500 employees and a $400 million operating budget. In Philadelphia, he conducted operational assessments of major agency functions and then instituted development and modernization policies to increase productivity and efficiency. After Philadelphia, he returned to Washington, D.C. to oversee its Department of Housing and Community Development.
De Blasio Administration and City Council Announce 29 NYCHA Developments to Get New Cameras and Security Upgrades by Year’s End
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced that 29 NYCHA developments will receive cameras and other security enhancements by the end of 2015. This is on top of the 49 2014-funded CCTV projects the Authority installed as scheduled at the end of last year thanks to the support and collaboration of City Council, city partners and the administration.
Over the past two decades, NYCHA funding has plummeted, causing a cumulative loss of over $2.1 billion to the Authority’s budget. While Federal and State resources have been dramatically reduced or eliminated, the City Council stepped up to support NYCHA, providing $17 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2015 to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and other security measures such as layered access for the safety and security of public housing residents.
Installing cameras at NYCHA buildings is a multi-step process that requires time to install correctly and effectively, and too often these multi-step projects were taking two to four years to complete. In order to ensure these security projects were completed by the end of the year, the Mayor ordered accelerated sign-offs at City agencies and the administration streamlined several of the time-consuming steps in the planning process. Additionally, Comptroller Scott Stringer helped speed up 2014 contract registration in order to move projects forward more quickly. This enabled the Authority to fast-track the installation of these safety measures last year. NYCHA received approximately $27 million from City Council members in fiscal year 2013 and 2014 to install security measures – including 1,900 cameras and, in some cases, layered access control at 49 developments citywide. They were completed by December 2014, bringing the total number of cameras in NYCHA buildings to more than 12,000.
Mayor de Blasio Names Water Board Members
Mayor de Blasio announced the appointment of two new members to the New York City Water Board, and the reappointment of two existing members of the Board whose terms had expired, one of whom will also be appointed as Chair of the Board.
As members of the Water Board, they will be responsible for establishing rates for the City’s water and sewer system. In doing so, they are charged with setting the rates at a level that will ensure both the sustainable provision of service at a fair price for customers and the efficient financing of the system’s infrastructure. The Board consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor.
Alfonso L. Carney, Jr. has been a member of the Water Board since 2011, and brings strong legal and strategic experience to his new role as Chair. After a distinguished legal career, Carney has been an attorney and principal with Rockwood Partners LLC since 2005, a firm which provides medical and business consulting services. While consulting for Rockwood, Carney served as acting chief operating officer and corporate secretary for the Goldman Sachs Foundation in New York. Carney was appointed chairman of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York by Governor David A. Paterson in 2009. He was reappointed in 2013 by Governor Cuomo. He holds a law degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College.
Tawan Davis, one of the members appointed, is currently chief investment officer and president of Peebles Capital Partners. He has extensive experience repositioning underutilized City-owned assets for economically productive uses, after serving as Vice President of Transactions and Head of Public-Private Partnerships for the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Additionally, he previously advised the Mayor’s Office and senior leaders on economic and financial initiatives for the City of New York, and worked on seeking alternative methods for financing improvements to the City’s complicated infrastructure. Prior to his New York City public service, Davis had an extensive career in global finance and real estate with Goldman Sachs and Prudential Financial. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a master’s degree in Sociology and Economics from Oxford University in England, and a B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University.
Joseph Finnerty, also appointed, is currently a litigation partner at DLA Piper, where he was vice chairman of the US Litigation Practice for seven years, and chaired the New York Litigation Practice Group for eight. He brings extensive legal experience to the Board. He has represented a broad range of public and private entities in matters relating to corporate governance, insurance, and securities and business litigation. He holds a law degree from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College.
Arlene Shaw has served on the Water Board since 2011. Since 2006, Shaw has worked as an associate at the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. Her practice focuses on commercial and corporate finance, including syndicated credit facilities, public and private offering of debt securities, asset backed and cash flow financing, secured and unsecured financings, subordinated and mezzanine financing, and leveraged and acquisition financing. She holds a law degree, cum laude, from Tulane University and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany, summa cum laude.
Mayors de Blasio and Giuliani to Albany: Mayoral Control Vital to Education Reform
In a joint letter, Mayors Bill de Blasio and Rudolph Giuliani urged Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to renew Mayoral Control without alteration and without delay. Citing the achievement of Mayoral Control as central to reform of the school system, together they warned a failure to renew Mayor Control and proposals to limit it would ‘take us backward to a time of blurred lines of accountability.’
To read the Mayoral School Control letter, please click here.
De Blasio Administration Announces Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 to Film in New York City this April
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Media and Entertainment Commissioner Cynthia López announced that Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 will be filming in New York City beginning this April. The film is slated for release in theaters on June 3, 2016.
The film will spend an estimated $70 million in New York State and create jobs for New York City residents.
“From production assistants who work behind the cameras to textiles and lumber for set design to local restaurants to feed crew members, New York City knows how to host block-buster films,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We welcome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 to New York City, and look forward to the many jobs and tens of millions of dollars this will bring to our local economy.”
Citywide and Borough Electeds:
Speaker Mark-Viverito: New York City Council Initiative Ensuring All Unaccompanied Minors in NYC Have Lawyers
The New York City Council’s Unaccompanied Minors Initiative – a groundbreaking public-private partnership between the Council, Robin Hood Foundation and the New York Community Trust– is ensuring that unaccompanied minors who make their way to New York City receive much needed help from qualified attorneys. While published reports show that unaccompanied minors across the country continue to face unequal access to legal services, in the six months since its launch, this initiative has provided screenings for virtually every unaccompanied child appearing at the surge and regular juvenile dockets at the New York City immigration court, secured representation for over 400 children, along with much needed social services, and resulted in asylum for four of these children.
“The New York City Council’s initiative ensures that children escaping horrific violence can have access to an attorney, and we are proud to serve as a model for the rest of the country. In the last six months, organizations representing these children through our funding, have taken on over 400 cases, filed over two dozen asylum applications, and obtained asylum for four of these children. It’s very possible, that without the City Council’s efforts, none of these outcomes would have occurred” said Speaker Missa Mark-Viveritoel. “Children fleeing gangs and murderers should not have to face their plight alone, and the City Council’s initiative with the Robin Hood Foundation and the New York Community Trust is ensuring they don’t have to.”
Comptroller Stringer Audit Reveals City Agency Can’t Accurately Track Real Estate Holding
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) can’t produce an accurate list of the office space it administers, or identify vacancies in the more than 19 million square feet of office space it manages, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found in a new audit released March 27, 2015. lm . This lack of oversight means that New York City taxpayers could be on the hook for unnecessary payments to property owners.
DCAS is responsible for providing City agencies with the resources and support they need to provide the best possible services to the public, and City government offices occupy more than 19 million square feet of space. This includes 12.5 million square feet leased for $365 million per year, and 6.5 million square feet of City-owned space which costs $70 million annually to operate and maintain.
The Comptroller’s audit examined the agency’s management of 51 City-owned buildings and two privately owned buildings which contain over 11.9 million square feet of space, during the time period spanning FY 2012 and 2013. Auditors sought to determine whether DCAS adequately accounts for and manages the City’s office space inventory.
The audit found oversights and lapses in management, including:
- DCAS did not have an accurate inventory list of available office space.
- DCAS did not consistently follow protocols for space request evaluations.
- Lack of adequate controls to ensure no unnecessary costs are incurred.
To see the audit report, please click here.
Comptroller Stringer Urges New State Disclosure Law to Protect Consumers
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced details of a new proposal to enact a state law requiring that financial advisors disclose whether they put their own financial interests above those of their clients. The Comptroller also released a new report examining the history of the fiduciary standard, expressing his support for enacting the fiduciary standard nationwide and detailing his pioneering state proposal
Most New Yorkers assume that their financial advisors provide objective advice that is to their benefit. However, under current law, most financial advisors are not required to provide advice that is in the client’s best interest—a legal standard of care known as the fiduciary standard. Instead, many brokers, financial planners, and retirement advisors are allowed to operate under a more permissive ethical code known as the suitability standard, which allows advisors to push investments that yield high fees or commissions, provided those investments are suitable for their clients.
Comptroller Stringer is proposing a State law which will require all financial advisors to disclose—in plain language—whether they abide by the fiduciary standard. The first-of-its-kind transparency measure would require all advisors operating under the suitability standard to state at the outset of any financial relationship:
The Comptroller’s report follows two recent actions at the federal level that signaled movement toward stricter standards for financial advice. President Obama recently called for the Department of Labor to issue a new rule requiring all retirement advisors to abide by the fiduciary standard. Last week, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White commented that her personal view was that a “uniform standard” for financial advisors was needed.
Public Advocate James “Worst Landlords” List Leads to Improvements in Many Buildings
Six months after the release of Public Advocate Letitia James’ Worst Landlords list, many buildings are showing improvements. There continue to be some bad actors, and the Public Advocate is pushing for improvements in these buildings. The Public Advocate visited two buildings on the list, where she met with tenants and toured residential units. The Public Advocate also released information showing vast improvements in a third building when the watchlist was released six months ago.
“Every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe home,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “When we released the Worst Landlords List six months ago, we vowed to take action and protect tenants. We have seen remarkable improvements by some of the worst offenders on our list. Of course, there remain bad actors, and we are assisting tenants of those buildings through various means, including legal action.”
Manhattan Borough President Brewer Calls for Lease Mediation in Final Year of Commercial Leases for Ground-Floor Storefronts, Easing Street Vendor Rules, And “Condo-Ization” of Storefront Space
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer unveiled proposals to help ease the path to survival of New York City small businesses at the Upper West Side storefront of The Halal Guys, which began as a single street cart on 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue, and is now a flourishing mini-chain with multiple carts, two storefront locations in New York so far, and expansion slated for Chicago and southern California.
Borough President Brewer also announced her office would be convening a series of roundtable discussions around Manhattan on to discuss her small business proposals with neighborhood business owners and residents. The first is slated for May 6, during National Small Business Week.
Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan’s Storefronters, Brewer’s report on small business in New York City, calls for reforms which would:
▪ Take the pressure off lease renewals. Brewer proposed legislation, with City Council Small Business Committee Chair Robert Cornegy, to dramatically depressurize the commercial lease renewal process for small businesses by instituting a mandatory negotiation and mediation period for storefront tenants and landlords. Landlords would be required to give small business tenants in storefront spaces notice of their intentions 180 days in advance of the end of a lease, followed by a negotiation period in which either party can request nonbinding mediation to assist with negotiations. The legislation would also provide the option of a one-year lease extension with no more than a 15 percent rent increase to give businesses the opportunity to transition to new space smoothly when necessary.
▪ Modernize policies governing street vending. Street vending is a low cost gateway to business ownership. Overhauling New York City’s antiquated policies governing street vending and lifting the 1980s-era cap on vending licenses will jump-start small businesses that could eventually transition to a storefront model and even a larger brand, as The Halal Guys have successfully done.
▪ Help established small businesses threatened by rent increases by encouraging “condo-ization” of storefront space. Many successful small businesses still face rental insecurity; helping them buy their space as a commercial condominium can be a win-win for landlord and tenant alike. This model is already possible under current law, but the Borough President’s report details strategies the city can use to encourage wider adoption of this strategy.
▪ Creation of “low-intensity” commercial districts. In certain neighborhoods experiencing rapid storefront rent increases, creation of new “low-intensity” commercial districts on quieter streets can act as a safety valve, reducing competition for rental space on high-traffic commercial streets.
Queens Borough President Katz: New Safety, Mobility Measures for Flushing Commons Construction Vicinity
At a meeting of Queens Borough President Melinda Kat’s Flushing Commons Task Force, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced several new measures to enhance pedestrian safety and help alleviate traffic congestion in the vicinity of Flushing Commons in Downtown Flushing.
The new measures include:
- At 37th Avenue and Main Street: two NYPD traffic enforcement agents and new dedicated left-turn lane on to Main Street to promote mobility.
- At Roosevelt Avenue and Union Street: two NYPD traffic enforcement agents.
- At 37th Avenue and 138th Street: new temporary all-way Stop sign; one NYPD traffic enforcement agent.
- On 37th Avenue approaching Main Street: markings designating a left turn onto Main Street for improved traffic flow.
The measures are in response to concerns raised by the Task Force and community at-large about safety and mobility in the downtown core and surrounding area, which account for among the densest concentration of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in crashes throughout the borough.
Queens Borough President Katz Submits Queens’ Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Priorities To Mayor and City Council
Borough President Melinda Katz submitted to the Mayor and City Council recommendations for the expense and capital budget priorities that the Borough President and her fellow members of the Queens Borough Board want to see included in the City’s adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2016.
The recommendations were prepared by the Borough President’s budget staff and was approved by the Queens Borough Board on March 9. The document is required by the City charter and is intended to aid in the shaping of the FY16 budget, which Mayor Bill de Blasio and City council must adopt by July 1, 2015.
“The recommendation included in this budget priorities document seek to provide a meaningful approach to addressing some of the longstanding issues faced by the Borough of Queens,” Borough President Katz said. “Our recommendations are intended to help craft a fiscally responsible City budget that will address the concerns of our diverse population of 2.3 million people and make Queens an even better place to live, work and visit.”
Staten Island Borough President Oddo: Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation Honored With the Maniscalco Award
On March 25th, Borough President James Oddo awarded the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation with the Maniscalco Award at a special ceremony in Borough Hall. The Albert V. Maniscalco Community Service Award was established in 1986 in honor of the ninth borough president. The award celebrates the civic-mindedness and tireless energy of individuals or organizations that work to help community members in need and to make Staten Island a better place.
Teddy Atlas accepted the award on behalf of the organization, which helps thousands of individuals and families in difficult times – paying for medical insurance, purchasing medical equipment, making a home handicapped-accessible, buying a headstone, helping in any way that is appropriate in a given situation. The Foundation has given away over $3 million to help the less fortunate among us and has done so in such a way as to preserve the dignity of the people receiving help, without red tape and with a discrete check to validate a particular need.
Among the attendees at the event to congratulate the Atlas Foundation were past recipients of the award, including former Borough President Ralph Lamberti, Allan Weissglass, Joe Valentin, members of the Siller Family, and others.
The Tottenville High School Saxophone Quintet performed at the ceremony and fare was provided and served by the Port Richmond High School Culinary Arts Program. In addition, KIMCO Realty pledged $5,000 to the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation for their continued efforts on behalf of the community.
Department of Health: Health Outcomes in the Bronx Improving
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked the nation’s counties on various measures of health, and the Bronx ranked 62nd out of all 62 counties in New York State. Despite this ranking, Bronx County performed better in 2015 than in 2014 for a number of health outcomes and health factors, including fewer premature deaths, improved food environment, fewer sexually transmitted infections, a lower teen birth rate, more mental health providers, fewer preventable hospital stays, and a lower unemployment rate.
The Health Department, Montefiore Health System, the Bronx Borough President’s office and other partners have joined together to highlight the various programs that have helped lead to these improvements, and they have created a new social media hashtag #Not62 to encourage community partners and residents to join the discussion about creating a healthier Bronx.
Bronx Teens Connection (BxTC) is a community-wide, multi-component initiative of the Health Department to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the South Bronx. Despite a 23 percent decline in teen pregnancy rates in the South Bronx between 2002 and 2009, the teen pregnancy rate in the South Bronx remains nearly 50 percent higher than the rate citywide, with approximately 12 percent of South Bronx teens aged 15-19 becoming pregnant. The vast majority of these pregnancies (85 percent) were unintended. This initiative builds on recent partnerships and collaborations focusing on teen health outcomes, and allows us to further invest in the future of the South Bronx.
Launched in 2011, the Bronx CAN Health Initiative brings together individuals, doctors and other health providers, places of worship, community gardens and community centers, schools, and civic-minded groups of all kinds to promote the types of behaviors that lead to healthy lifestyles. The goal of the Bronx CAN Health Initiative is to have all the members of our community, young and old alike, build healthier lives, free of ailments like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. We will accomplish this together by using the natural and human resources right here in our communities, the best advice and care of our experts in the health care field, the healthy food providers among us, and the physical spaces that surround us.
Department of Health: First Lady Chirlane Mccray, Chiara de Blasio, First Deputy Commissioner Oxiris Barbot Launch Mental Health Texting Pilot Program at 10 Public Schools
First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chiara de Blasio and First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot announced the launch of NYC Teen Text, a new mental health resource for teens at 10 high schools throughout New York City. Teens at these schools can text “NYC Teen” to 65173 to receive prompt, confidential information and emotional support on issues ranging from feeling sad or hopeless, to depression. The program is available Monday through Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. First Lady McCray, Ms. De Blasio and First Deputy Commissioner Barbot made this announcement at Millennium Brooklyn High School, one of the schools participating in the pilot program.
Many New York City teens cope with emotional stress, but few seek help. According to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 27 percent of New York City public high school students reported that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks. Only 18 percent of these students received help from a counselor. NYC Teen Text provides an avenue for teens that experience stress related to any issue, with mental health support via live text response from LifeNet. A teen concerned about a friend or family member can also reach out to NYC Teen Text for information and support.
“Many New York teenagers aren’t yet ready to speak their pain aloud, but they might be ready to text someone who is able to help them,” said Chiara de Blasio. “I know from personal experience that reaching out when you’re in pain can be the turning point – the first step on the road to recovery. With the launch of NYC Teen Text, the only thing separating 18,000 high school students from the help they need is the ‘Send’ button. This is a big step forward for New York City, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to help spread the word.”
Department of Education: Chancellor and GE Foundation Announce Innovative CTE And STEM Initiatives
Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced new initiatives to strengthen Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEM instruction across the City. GE Foundation funding will support an innovative CTE pilot program designed to strengthen teaching and learning practices at 10 schools, as well as STEM training for up to 200 schools through brand-new multi-day STEM Institutes. 100 schools will attend the first STEM Institute this spring, including six Renewal schools that can leverage this experience to help drive improvement in teaching and student outcomes. The $3.2 million in funding comes from GE Foundation’s original funding engagement in 2008 of $32.3 million in grants to the DOE.
Schools participating in the CTE pilot will work with higher education and industry partners to define specific sequential competencies for their CTE program, and establish strong professional development as well as curriculum and assessment materials aligned to those competencies. Known as mastery-based learning, this approach is both innovative and common-sense, deepening engagement and supporting achievement by providing clear and meaningful expectations and helping students, teachers, and families track student progress. CTE schools, programs, and schools that wish to establish a CTE program can apply through a competitive process this fall; selected schools will begin implementation later in the 2015-16 school year.
The GE Foundation’s STEM investment begins with funding for the DOE’s first-ever intensive, three-day citywide STEM Institute, which will take place next month. At the STEM Institute, teachers and school leaders will have professional learning opportunities, and be able to work directly with experienced STEM partner organizations. Nearly 300 teachers and school leaders representing 100 schools will attend this Institute, and receive continuing support in planning and implementing innovative STEM instruction in their schools before and during the upcoming school year. This first cohort will participate in two additional STEM Institutes in Summer 2015 and Spring 2016, joined by up to an additional 100 schools. In addition to the six Renewal schools from the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn participating in this spring’s Institute, Renewal schools will be encouraged to participate in the upcoming STEM Institutes to strengthen STEM instruction.
These initiatives deepen recent work to improve and expand CTE and STEM instruction throughout the City, a key priority of the Chancellor. There are now a total of 318 CTE programs serving roughly 120,000 students across all five boroughs, including 51 designated CTE high schools, 33 of which have opened since 2003. DOE has worked with industry partners to design and implement industry-aligned, knowledge-economy CTE programs that prepare students for both college and the workforce. STEM instruction and extracurricular programs across the City include everything from new software engineering programs at 20 DOE schools to 436 school gardens that give students a hands-on approach to environmental science and sustainability.