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Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks Unveil More Equitable Vision for Future of New York City Public Schools With Signature Math Initiative and new Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning

June 24, 2024

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“NYC Solves” Centers Evidence-Based Math Curriculum and Educator Coaching for Middle and High School After Years of Stagnant Math Scores, Particularly for Students of Color

New Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning Will Serve Multilingual Learners and Students with Disabilities, Represents Administration’s Laser-Focus on Equity

Announcements Build on Record-Achievements During First Half of Adams Administration

Aimed at Investing in School Communities, Bolstering Student Curriculum to Drive Accelerated Outcomes, and Creating Equitable and Comprehensive Learning Environment

NEW YORK New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Public Schools Chancellor David C. Banks today unveiled their vision for the future of the city’s public schools with the launch of “NYC Solves,” a major citywide initiative to raise math achievement so all students graduate with strong math skills. Building off the early success of “NYC Reads,” this visionary shift revolutionizes and standardizes how math is taught in schools through high-quality, research-based curricula implemented across districts with intensive educator training and coaching. Through NYC Solves, schools will take a collaborative problem-solving approach that encourages students to explore multiple strategies and make connections between current and past solutions, fostering deeper understanding and independence in learning to fight a persistent problem: fear of math. This fall, 93 middle schools in eight districts and 420 high schools across the city will use the Illustrative Math curriculum, supported by intensive teacher coaching.  

The Adams administration also announced the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning (DIAL). Long-time Chief of Special Education Christina Foti will be elevated to deputy chancellor to lead this new division. Under her leadership, this new division will focus on supporting multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Reflecting Mayor Adams’ commitment to serving all students and families, this new division will build holistic educational experiences for every student no matter their background or ability — that equip them to graduate on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security.  

“New York City has never had a mayor and a chancellor who know what it is like to come up through our city’s modern school system, but our efforts are already changing our public schools for the better, and today, we’re taking our efforts even further with investments in our young people for years to come,” said Mayor Adams. “Our new Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning will focus on supporting multilingual learners, and students with disabilities so every student can excel academically, be prepared for a rewarding career, and economic security — no matter their background or needs. And ‘NYC Solves’ will transform how we are teaching math in New York City and continue our track record of improving math scores by double digits. As someone who suffers from dyslexia, I can empathize with any student who struggles with school. But the equation we’re announcing today is simple: when you take good policy and multiply it by hard work, the net result will always be positive. Over the past two years, we have built a long record of accomplishments, but we are only just beginning to create a brighter future for our students and families.”

“Through the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning, under the staunch leadership of Christina Foti, we’re saying loudly and clearly that every student and their lifelong success is paramount,” said Public Schools Chancellor Banks. “No matter a student’s disability or level of English language proficiency, we’re committed to championing our kids and providing the services they need to excel academically and in life. I’m also proud to be following the groundbreaking rollout of ‘NYC Reads’ with ‘NYC Solves,’ reimagining math education and ensuring students and educators have access to high-quality instructional materials and support. This is an exciting day for not only our system, but the national education landscape, and I’m proud and eager to see the impact of this work for years to come.”

“For too long, our young students with disabilities and multilingual learners have struggled in a system that historically wasn’t fully able to meet them where they are,” said Chief of Staff Camille Joesph Varlack. “Today’s announcement of the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning recommits our administration’s goal to ensure our young students with disabilities and multilingual learners have the necessary supports needed to learn and thrive and every child in our city has access to a quality education that meets their unique needs. Early learning is the key to success for all young children, but it is particularly important for children with disabilities and multilingual learners. Early intervention makes an impact to manage or overcome students' challenges and under the leadership of Deputy Chancellor Foti, we will strengthen our city's education system, and will reimagine how we ensure every student — regardless of background or ability — thrives in our classrooms and beyond.”

“Today marks a significant step forward in our commitment to equity and excellence in New York City's public schools,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “With the launch of 'NYC Solves' and the establishment of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning, we are laying the foundation for an education that sets every student up for success. By revolutionizing how we teach mathematics and enhancing support for multilingual learners and students with disabilities, we are ensuring that every child has the tools and opportunities they need to thrive.”

“New York City Public Schools' vision for our youngest New Yorkers, particularly our multi-language learners and our students with disabilities, is just another step taken by the Adams administration to create a more equitable city,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana J. Almanzar. “This is further echoed with the creation of New York City Public Schools' Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning, charged with ensuring that ALL students meet their fullest potential.”

“The launch of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning in New York City Public Schools builds on a long-standing tradition of marginalized communities and their allies working together for real, lasting change,” said Public Schools Deputy Chancellor Foti. “The Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning is dedicated to creating an educational environment where every student thrives through comprehensive inclusivity and accessibility. This division embodies our commitment to recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the diverse needs of all our students, ensuring each child has the opportunity to succeed. This isn’t just the creation of a new division — this is our mayor and chancellor’s elevation and prioritization of our students, their families, and their communities.” 

NYC Solves
Building off the work that began with NYC Reads, NYC Solves aims to address inequities using evidence-based curriculum combined with intensive educator coaching. Historically, student performance in higher grade math has been stagnant, especially for Black and Brown students. Statewide, only  47.8 percent of middle school students meet proficiency standards on state math exams, with a 37-point gap between white and Black students, and a 34-point gap between white and Latino students in New York City. Despite this, last year under the Adams administration, math proficiency rates increased by 12 percentage points and today’s announcement builds on this unprecedented increase in math achievement by focusing next year on middle school math while extending the city’s work on 9th grade algebra. Later phases will extend to the remaining high school grades, as well as elementary and a District 75 schools. 

Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning
This first-of-its-kind divisional structure will offer a bold vision that furthers the Adams administration’s commitment to ensuring that multilingual learners and students with disabilities — who have been underserved for decades — finally get consistent, top-quality instruction with the support they need to excel. Under Deputy Chancellor Foti’s leadership, DIAL’s over $750 million budget and approximately 1,300 staff members will advance work, programs, and opportunities to support these students. DIAL will expand inclusive programs, such as bilingual programs and programs for students with autism; streamline the process for getting specialized services to students; and build skills of all of the city’s public school educators to bring improved curriculum and instruction to this population of students. Effective programs like, Autism Nest, Horizon, and Path — which boast a 95 percent graduation rate for participants — will continue under these offices. DIAL will also be instrumental in supporting NYC Reads and NYC Solves by working alongside the Division of School Leadership to ensure all teachers develop the skills needed to support the diverse needs of all learners. Efforts will remain under two separate workstreams as the Office of Special Education, under interim Chief Suzanne Sanchez, and the Office of Multilingual Learners, under Chief Mirza Sánchez-Medina. As part of this new divisional work, the Office of Multilingual Learners will launch a new advisory council to support the design of a long-term vision for immigrant students and their families, generate recommendations for improving educational opportunities and outcomes for multilingual learners, and build awareness of the programs and resources available to this population of students.

The Adams administration today also celebrated two years of core education accomplishments with key successes, including: 

  • Implemented major literacy initiative through NYC Reads, which has adopted curriculum based in the science of reading to half of the city’s elementary schools and 90 percent of early childhood programs.
  • Instituted nation-leading dyslexia support through mandating dyslexia screening for all students and opened first-ever public school dedicated to supporting students with dyslexia and other print-based learning disabilities. 
  • Expanded accelerated learning opportunities for more students by adding 57 Gifted and Talented programs and increasing the number of students participating by 2,400 for a total of 16,500 students in Kindergarten through 5th  
  • Announced the opening of nine new schools for the 2024-2025 school year alone, and added over 26,000 classroom seats through major construction and modernization projects — a record number.  
  • Helped 8,662 students secure a total of 23,000 job placements, resulting in students earning a cumulative $8.2 million from paid work experiences at top companies through FutureReadyNYC.  
  • Cemented new labor contracts that keep the city’s public schools competitive for talent nationwide, helping to increase the teacher retention rate to 95 percent. 
  • Invested over $600 million in new funding to protect critical programs that were funded with temporary stimulus dollars.  
  • Dramatically increased early childhood enrollment with over 114,000 children enrolled this year, stabilized the system by reducing the payment timeline to vendors from approximately 60 to 90 days to an average of 12 days, and strengthened quality with over 90 percent of programs and schools implementing a singular curriculum. 
  • Won mayoral accountability of schools twice in three years and achieved an increase in enrollment for the first time in eight years, while investing $180 million to implement a comprehensive class size reduction plan

“Today’s initiative from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City public schools Chancellor David C. Banks delivers on our promise to close the educational and learning gap and furthers our commitment to supporting all students along their academic journey,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “The NYC Solves program will support students and their families while boosting math and reading, and helping propel them towards graduation and continued success.” 

"Our city's school leaders are dedicated to serving all students; that requires regularly assessing how we meet the unique needs of those with disabilities and multilingual learners,” said Henry Rubio, president, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. “We applaud the mayor and chancellor for their continuing commitment to inclusivity and equity. We're hopeful that the new division will better support these vulnerable students. We commend the city for its further investment in research-based curricula accompanied by professional development, and we look forward to collaborating on its implementation."

“The appointment of Christina Foti as deputy chancellor of the DIAL is long overdue! Families with students with disabilities and multilingual learners rejoice in knowing under Deputy Chancellor Christina Foti's leadership, our children, teachers, and staff will have the support to create the inclusive learning environment all of our children deserve,” said Paullette Healy, special education policy consultant and community advocate. “Under Deputy Chancellor Christina Foti, we can rest assured that acceptance will be a practice we can uphold and not just a vocabulary word.” 

“Christina Foti is a strong proponent for students with disabilities and their families,” said Carolyn Castro, co-president, Citywide Council on Special Education. “She has both the long-term experience and keen understanding of the issues faced by our students that is needed to implement real change. We are optimistic that the creation of the division will lead to improved outcomes for all students with disabilities and multilingual learners.” 

“Inclusive and accessible learning requires thoughtful leadership, persistence, and expertise, which Deputy Chancellor Foti brings to this position,” said Kim Sweet, executive director, Advocates for Children of New York. “We look forward to working with her and the new division to ensure that students with disabilities and English language learners receive a high-quality education in New York City public schools.” 

“Deputy Chancellor Christina Foti has always been a champion for inclusion and access for all learners in the New York City public schools,” said Kristi Patten, counselor to the president, New York University. “The fact that she now is leading the DIAL is a testament to this commitment, and I am excited to see how she and her team continue and elevate the standard for inclusion and access in the nation's largest school district. Suzanne Sanchez, who will be under Deputy Chancellor Foti's leadership, as interim chief of special education, brings an innovative, inclusive mindset to all she does, and is a leader for advocating for inclusion, with individual students, classrooms, schools, and system-wide practices. The future of inclusion and access looks very bright for New York City public schools under Deputy Chancellor Foti and Interim Chief Sanchez. I look forward to our continued partnership.” 

"We are optimistic how this new division will elevate the needs for nearly a half million students in New York City whose education has not been prioritized for far too long,” said Cheryelle Cruickshank, executive director, INCLUDEnyc. “We congratulate Christina Foti in her well-deserved new role. We feel confident in Christina's leadership skills and longstanding commitment to our students with disabilities. The DIAL will benefit from our new deputy chancellor's expertise and dedication to advocating for quality, accountability, and equity for students with disabilities and English language learners to achieve success. We look forward to our continued partnership."

“This administration truly reflects a ‘by the community, for the community’ approach to growth and improvement,” said Lucina Clarke, co-founder & executive director, My Time, Inc. “This partnership is emblematic of taking the voices of those with lived experiences and uplifting them. When New York City public schools prioritize the needs of our immigrants, our multilingual learners, our students with individual education programs (IEP) - our students are prepared to contribute to a robust global society.  We are so happy for this new experience for Christina and the team seeing their vision unfolding. Our community has a champion for our students with IEPs.” 

“I am overjoyed with the announcement of Deputy Chancellor Christina Foti's promotion and the creation of the DIAL,” said Lupe Hernandez, D2 parent and member, Special Education Advisory Council. “Having a champion as empathetic to the struggles of neuro diverse children as Christina Foti leading this new division, I have no doubt the approach will be nuanced, innovative, and effective. And for children struggling to learn, this will be a huge shift in their outcomes.”  

“I am beyond excited about the announcement of Deputy Chancellor Christina Foti's promotion and the creation of the DIAL,” said Rima Izqueirdo, Bronx parent leader and member, Special Education Advisory Council. “Having a champion who is truly empathetic to the struggles of neurodiverse students as Christina Foti leading this new division, I have no doubt the approach will be thoughtful, innovative, and highly effective. For students struggling to learn, this will be the beginning of a much needed and long overdue shift in the trajectory of their academic careers, and ultimately their lives.” 

"Today’s announcement shows that Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have heard the voices of New York City educators and parents calling for rigorous, high-quality curriculum and significant support," said Marielys Divanne, executive director, Educators for Excellence-New York. "NYC Solves is another huge and much-needed step forward in helping our students achieve better outcomes in math. In addition, we're encouraged to see the city double down on its commitment to special education and multilingual language learners by elevating an experienced educational leader in Christina Foti to deputy chancellor. New York City is raising the bar for all students."


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