FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 03, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR JOEL I. KLEIN, AND POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY PRESENT PROGRESS REPORT FOR FIRST YEAR OF SCHOOL SAFETY INITIATIVE
Major Crime Down 43% at Sixteen “Impact” Schools;
Five Schools to be Transitioned Out of Impact Status, Six Schools to be Added
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today presented a progress report for the first year of the School Safety Initiative launched on January 5, 2004. After one year, the School Safety Initiative has resulted in dramatic decreases crime and disorder at the sixteen Impact schools, with major crime down 43% and overall crime down 33% compared to the same period last year. The Mayor and Chancellor also announced that as a result of the initiative’s success, five of the original sixteen Impact Schools are ready to be transitioned out of Impact status, and six additional schools will be added to the Impact program beginning this week. In addition, starting this month, the 150-member mobile School Safety Task Force made up of uniformed police officers and supervisors will be expanded to 200. Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and Commissioner Kelly were joined by Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt, Commanding Officer of the School Safety Division Assistant Chief Gerald Nelson, and Senior Counselor for School Intervention and Development Rose Albanese-DePinto to present the report at Far Rockaway High School in Queens.
“A year ago, we promised to provide a safe atmosphere, free of fear and intimidation to every student who wants to learn, and we are making good on that promise” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The atmosphere has improved dramatically for students and teachers at our Impact schools, so much so that five of them will be transitioned out of Impact status. We will also take the best practices we’ve adopted throughout the year and apply them to six new schools. We are committed to making our schools safe and orderly places where our students can learn.”
The five schools ready to begin the transition out of Impact status are MS 222 in the Bronx, South Shore and Franklin K. Lane High Schools in Brooklyn, Far Rockaway High School in Queens, and Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. The six schools being added to the Impact initiative are Lafayette and Abraham Lincoln High Schools in Brooklyn, John Bowne and Springfield Gardens High Schools in Queens, Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan, and Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx.
“These results reflect that, throughout our school system, our principals, assistant principals, deans and teachers have become increasingly vigilant in enforcing our disciplinary code and making sure that safety and security remain priorities,” said Chancellor Klein. “We have more to do, but through the Impact initiative we are providing schools with the support and tools needed to ensure a safe environment where learning is the first priority.”
“As we anticipated, the Impact model worked well in the schools for the same three reasons it worked in neighborhoods across the city,” said Commissioner Kelly. “We pinpointed police resources, we responded swiftly to changing conditions and we assigned dedicated police and school safety personnel to the task at hand. We’re confident that the same formula will yield similar results in 2005.”
Reductions in Crime and Disorder at Impact Schools
The goal of the Impact School initiative was to establish a climate of order and safety at sixteen schools that accounted for a disproportionate amount of crime by focusing on three main areas: (1) intensifying enforcement against low-level crime and disorder; (2) rigorously enforcing the New York City Discipline Code; and (3) correcting school conditions conducive to disorder. So far this school year, crime levels and school climate at Impact schools have improved substantially.
The initiative brought to Impact Schools the immediate assignment of additional school safety agents and Police Officers, along with a 150-member mobile School Safety Task Force made up of uniformed police officers and supervisors. Starting this month, the Task Force will be expanded to 200. Sustained, intensive enforcement against low-level crime and disorder has resulted in a substantial reduction in criminal activity at the Impact Schools. Major crime has dropped 43% compared to the same period last year. In addition, overall crime has fallen 33% during the same period. More specifically, robberies fell 68%, felony assaults dropped 38%, and weapons offenses declined by 76%.
Impact schools adopted a zero tolerance policy for infractions listed in the New York City Discipline Code. All infractions were met with graduated responses ranging from peer mediation and negotiation, conflict resolution, and anti-bullying awareness, up to suspensions at the Principal’s and Superintendent’s level. Students that committed the most serious infractions were immediately removed from these schools pending the outcome of their hearings. This policy has resulted in 31% increase in Principal’s Suspensions and a 41% increase in Superintendent’s Suspensions this year as compared to the first four months of the last school year.
Last January, school safety intervention teams composed of experts from DOE and NYPD, and community representatives, conducted thorough inspections of key conditions and procedures at all sixteen Impact schools. Using a “best practices” checklist, the intervention teams focused on more than 100 variables including entry and exit procedures, hallway conditions, Discipline Code enforcement, instructional environment, passing between classes, cafeteria environment, facilities, and detention and suspension rooms. Based upon their inspections, the teams assigned each school an assessment score. When they conducted follow-up inspections in the Fall, the teams found dramatic improvements. The percentage of conditions approaching or meeting best practice standards increased from 16% to 50% and average assessment scores rose 36%.
Five Schools Ready for Transition Out of Impact Status
MS 222, and South Shore, Franklin K. Lane, Far Rockaway, and Washington Irving High Schools have demonstrated such a significant decline in crime and disorderly conditions that they are ready to begin the transition out of Impact status. Major crime in this group has dropped 69% so far compared to the same period last year, and overall crime has fallen 59%. In addition, the percentage of conditions approaching or meeting best practice standards increased from 10% to 71% and average assessment scores rose 66%. Major crime fell 100% at MS 222, 50% at South Shore, 82% at Franklin K. Lane, 75% at Far Rockaway, and 72% at Washington Irving. Overall crime dropped 100% at MS 222, 55% at South Shore, 50% at Franklin K. Lane, 75% at Far Rockaway, and 50% at Washington Irving.
Transition at these five schools will be a gradual process designed to perpetuate the improvements in safety and order that began with Impact. While the number of Police Officers and School Safety Agents will be adjusted to reflect the lower levels of crime and disorder at these schools, staffing levels will remain higher than they were before Impact began. The DOE will continue to provide additional regional support to the principals during the transition period, and conditions at each of these schools will be monitored very closely. After the first 90 days of the transition period, the schools will be reassessed to ensure that they are continuing to build on the achievements of the last year.
Addition of Six New Impact Schools
Beginning this week, the Impact initiative will be extended to six new schools that stand to benefit most from intensive intervention. The selection of Lafayette, Abraham Lincoln, John Bowne, Springfield Gardens, Norman Thomas, and Harry S. Truman High Schools was based on a thorough analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data from the NYPD and the DOE. These six schools represent approximately .5% of the total number of public schools yet account for 8.5% of major crime and 6.6% of overall crime.
Edward Skyler/ Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Jerry Russo (Department of Education)
Paul Browne (Police Department)
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