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PR- 243-04
September 13, 2004


Second Year of School Safety Program to Continue Focus on Existing 16 Impact Schools, Expand the School Safety Task Force to 200 Police Officers and Develop Comprehensive Assessments and Action Plans at Additional Non-Impact Schools to Prevent Crime and Disorder Before It Starts

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today opened 91 new schools on the first day of the new school year.  The Mayor also announced strategies for Impact Schools - Year 2, the expansion of the Impact School program, which in its first year, led to a 10% reduction of criminal incidents including a 48% drop in major felony crimes per day at the first twelve impact schools identified. Criminal incidents and major crime per day also both dropped 66% in four schools added in April.  The second year of the initiative will continue to focus on the existing 16 Impact Schools, and also expand the School Safety Task Force from 150 to 200 Police Officers and develop comprehensive assessments and action plans for all schools beginning with middle and high schools to make our schools safer. The Mayor and Chancellor made the announcement at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, which is an Impact School and also includes 4 of the 91 new schools.

“We kick off the new school year by opening 91 new schools,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Creating such new schools is one of our Administration’s top education reform priorities. Others have included ending social promotion, the on-time delivery of 16 million books and other materials to every elementary school and improving school safety.  Last year, when we saw crime on the rise in a small number of schools, we responded immediately and forcefully by launching the Impact School program.  Not only did we reverse a disturbing trend in the sixteen Impact Schools, we also developed effective strategies that can be used to make all schools safer.  Moving into the second year of our Impact School strategy, we will keep an eye on the progress of our existing Impact Schools, and also turn our attention to preventing crime at other schools that are starting to show warning signs.  We are committed to creating environments conducive to learning in our schools.”

“Today, we begin a promising new school year for our children and I can think of no better way to start the year than by opening 91 new schools throughout the City,” said Chancellor Klein.  “Consistent with all other Children First reforms, our students are the direct beneficiaries of these brand new schools. Through the effective use of underutilized buildings, and the conversion of offices and other space into classrooms, we have created thousands of seats for our children and immeasurable new opportunities for our students to learn and grow in our schools.   Our ultimate goal, of course, is to ensure that each and every one of our schools, and not just our new schools, provides a safe, nurturing environment that is conducive to learning and we will not rest until we achieve that most essential goal.”

The School Safety program focused on problem schools and disruptive students at 16 “Impact Schools” that accounted for a disproportionate amount of crime.  The goal of the program is to establish a climate of order and safety by intensifying enforcement against low-level crime and disorder, rigorously enforcing the Discipline Code, and correcting school conditions that are conducive to disorder.

The School Safety Task Force, created last year to support school safety at Impact Schools, will be expanded from 150 to 200 Police Officers as part of the second year strategy.  The new officers will be paid for with a $6.25 million Federal grant awarded by the Department of Justice in conjunction with the COPS program.  The 50 additional Police Officers will serve on the Task Force for three years starting in January.

In addition to continuing to focus on the existing 16 Impact Schools, during the second year of the Impact School initiative, school safety officials will also focus on schools which had a higher rate of incidents and disorder than average but not at levels that would require their designation as impact schools. Before the last school year ended, School Safety Intervention Teams, composed of representatives from the Department of Education and the NYPD, identified additional schools that faced security challenges.  The teams focused on conditions critical to the school environment including entry and exit procedures, hallway conditions, Discipline Code enforcement and instructional environment. They also focused on passing between classes, cafeteria environment, facilities, and detention and suspension rooms. Safety Intervention Teams conducted comprehensive assessments and provided schools with recommendations for improvement. Based on the recommendations, principals worked with all constituencies to develop action plans designed to prevent higher levels of crime and disorder. Throughout the upcoming semester, principals will be held accountable for implementing these plans.  In addition, the School Safety Task Force will provide assistance as needed to further prevent disorder.

New school creation is an essential element of the Administration’s education reform effort.  With private support totaling nearly $100 million over the past year, including nearly $58 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, New York City's new school initiative is ambitious and unprecedented in urban public education. The Department's core new school strategy consists of two fundamental paths to new school creation -small secondary schools and charter schools. 

The new schools strategy aims to drive systemic change by achieving the following objectives:
  • Provide outstanding educational opportunities for all students.
  • Fuel innovation and attract new resources (individual, community, and financial) to the public school system.
  • Promote healthy competition by creating a diverse portfolio of "existence proofs" - new schools that succeed where others have not.
  • Identify and implement new forms of accountability.

Much of the focus of the new schools strategy is at the secondary school level where New York City schools are in urgent need of improvement, and where there is a strong demand to increase the number of small effective schools available in areas of the city with high schools graduating fewer than half of their students.  Results from the new small high schools recently opened indicate that the strategy is working:  attendance rates average 92% and grade promotion rates average 91%.  These results are a significant improvement over comparable figures in the large underperforming high schools, which had attendance rates of 77% and grade promotion rates of 47% during the same year.

A list of the 91 new schools is attached.  It includes 53 secondary, 24 middle, 5 elementary and 9 charter schools.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Jerry Russo   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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