FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2006
NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CELEBRATES LAUNCH OF ADOLESCENT LITERACY PROGRAM
Nation's First Municipally-Funded Afterschool Program to Provide Research-Based Literacy Instruction to Middle School Students
Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner (DYCD) Jeanne B. Mullgrav were joined today by Leon Carter, Sports Editor for the Daily News, at the worldwide headquarters of Scholastic Inc. on lower Broadway to celebrate the launch of the Adolescent Literacy program. Administrators, staff, and students from the eight community organizations that have partnered with DYCD in this effort were welcomed by Karen Proctor, Scholastic Vice President of Community Affairs and Government Relations. Student presentations were featured at the event. The literacy program, which is the first of its kind in the nation, operates in 11 New York City public middle schools.
“Strong reading and writing skills are essential to academic success,” said Deputy Mayor Walcott. “The Adolescent Literacy program embodies New York City’s commitment to meeting the educational needs of each and every one of our young people.”
“In addition to thanking the community organizations, principals, and teachers who are the backbone of this program, I want to recognize the motivated young people who are participating in this voluntary initiative,” said Commissioner Mullgrav. “Their sincere desire to learn has infused the program with an invigorating sense of purpose.”
Educators have recently made great strides in promoting literacy among elementary-school aged children and young adults, but 6th, 7th and 8th graders who lack a strong literacy foundation are quickly losing ground, as noted in the Carnegie Foundation report “Reading Next.” DYCD’s Adolescent Literacy Program is addressing the needs of this demographic – dubbed the “missing middle” – by targeting sixth graders in public middle schools and working with them for three years to ensure that they are prepared for high school.
“Literacy is very important no matter what one chooses to do with his life,” said Carter. “Learning to read and write well will open many doors."
“As a leader in promoting literacy for all children, Scholastic has particularly focused on the needs of struggling readers in middle school and high school, and on the importance of supporting their learning both during the school day and in after-school settings,” said Proctor. “We applaud DYCD for its efforts to provide extra help for more than 200 middle school students who not only want to become better readers but also want to be better prepared for high school and for their future.”
The Adolescent Literacy program is funded by a $1 million federal Community Service Block Grant. Group projects are a central component of the program, and are focused on topics ranging from technology to theater arts. The participating programs are: The Children’s Aid Society, The Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Stanton/Heiskell Telecommunications Policy Center, CUNY Creative Arts Team, Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment, Church Avenue Merchants Block Association, Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN), and Queens Child Guidance Center. These community based organizations work in concert with school principals to identify students in need of instruction and develop programs that reinforce classroom learning and engage students in a collaborative effort to develop literacy skills.
You can find out more about Adolescent Literacy and other youth programs in their neighborhood at www.nyc.gov/dycd, or by calling the City’s 311 information line.
New Yorkers can find out more about OST and other youth programs in their neighborhood at www.nyc.gov/dycd, or by calling the City’s 311 information line.
Contacts: Ryan Dodge (DYCD) 212.442.5979