Amid New Safety and School Climate reforms, NYC sees 85% drop in schools designated as Persistently Dangerous
– The New York State Education Department (NYSED) released the annual list of Persistently Dangerous Schools, designating only four schools in New York City for the 2016-17 school year, down from 27 for the 2015-16 school year. This is the fewest number of New York City public schools designated in the history of the list and demonstrates an 85% decrease since the 15-16 school year.
Recently released NYPD data shows that crime, summonses and arrests are down, making a significant impact on school climate. Additionally, suspensions and incidents in schools have decreased.
Twenty-five schools have been removed from last year’s list, a majority of which is due to improved school cultures additional resources including expanded trainings on restorative practices and guidance supports. The DOE also works closely with NYSED’s Office of Student Support Services to help bring additional training and technical assistance into designated schools.
“We are dedicated to ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and we’ve expanded social-emotional supports that address underlying issues head-on,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
“We’ve made critical progress as demonstrated by the reduction of persistently dangerous schools in New York City, underscoring the dedication and tireless work of teachers, counseling staff, administrators, and school safety agents. I look forward to continuing this important work to ensure learning environments best support students in their academic success.”
As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, Persistently Dangerous Schools are designated when a school has two consecutive years’ worth of incident data with a School Violence Index (SVI) of 1.5 or greater, as defined by NYSED guidelines. A school can also be designated as persistently dangerous if the school has 60 serious incidents and an index of at least 0.50.
Recently, NYSED presented plans to revamp the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) system and the calculation of the School Violence Index (SVI), including revising the categories and applications, to make necessary improvements and ensure the system and index more accurately reflect the safety of schools across the State.
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the DOE implemented a number of measures and strategies in designated schools to improve school climate and culture. These measures include embedding social-emotional learning into the school curriculum to help students learn how to handle stress and improve self-regulation; implementing Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), Restorative Practices and Restorative Circles; and increasing professional development training for staff on classroom management and de-escalation strategies. Designated schools also formed partnerships with a number of community based organizations to support their initiatives and provide students with mentorships, constructive after-school activities and critical enrichment programs.
For example, at Satellite West Middle School in Brooklyn, the administration implemented a peer mediation program and started a student government, two structures which helped empower and engage students and provide them with a safe and supportive space to voice concerns and resolve conflicts. The Community School for Social Justice in the Bronx, expanded parent workshops to improve parent engagement and facilitate discussions on topics such as anger management, stress de-escalation strategies, and building positive relationships with their child. At P.S. 191 in Manhattan, the administration implemented a school-wide incentive system that offers students positive reinforcement and motivation, while allowing teachers and support staff to track and communicate about students' academic and social-emotional progress. P.S. 191 also created three student support teams for specific age groups who worked with teachers, parents, and students, and helped guide the implementation of a social-emotional curriculum in grades K-8. In the four schools designated this year, the DOE will provide ongoing supports and monitoring from the Office of Safety and Youth Development.
Additionally, as part of its continued commitment to promote safe and supportive school climates, the DOE is investing $47 million to expand programs including initiatives available to the four schools that were designated as persistently dangerous this year, as well as providing ongoing supports to schools that were previously designated, but have since been removed from the list, so that they can build on the progress they’ve already made. The DOE will notify families to let them know about this designation and provide additional information.
The list of schools designated as Persistently Dangerous are:
- P.S. 111 Jacob Blackwell, Queens
- P.S. 207, Bronx
- P.S. 213 New Lots, Brooklyn
- P.S. 306 Ethan Allen, Brooklyn