District 1 applied in February 2015 for a Socio-economic Integration Pilot Program (SIPP) grant from New York State Education Department to accomplish these goals:
- "magnetize" P.S. 15 Roberto Clemente elementary school and attract increasing numbers and a more diverse student applicant pool,
- develop and implement a permissible, equitable, choice-based socio-economic integration policy for the school that will not result in increased socio-economic isolation in other district schools,
- and develop and implement a Family Resource Center.
In May 2015, District 1 submitted revisions based on NYSED feedback, including setting more aggressive integration targets for P.S. 15. Then, in July 2015, District 1 heard news of the successful award of $1.25 million SIPP grant to District 1 for 2015-2018. During the 18-month planning phase (March 2015 - August 2016), District 1 engaged in SIPP grant work as three work groups. During the 1st year implementation phase (September 2016 - August 2017), District 1 has joined with staff from the NYCDOE's Office of Student Enrollment and Deputy Chancellor's office to plan implementation of SIPP goals.
P.S. 15 Roberto Clemente School Updates:
- P.S. 15 is a Title I PreK - 5th grade elementary school serving 89% low-income students, including 40% students in temporary housing. The school's "magnet" approach centers on the Renzulli School-wide Enrichment Model (SEM) to identify and cultivate the strengths and talents of all students.
- In June 2016, P.S. 15 hosted a Community Forum to showcase enrichment activities, including pickle-making and the history of Lower East Side, organic gardening, Lego Robotics, and sewing dolls that reflect a multi-cultural community. District 1 staff shared information and materials about SIPP grant. Special guest First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray visited and introduced the ThriveNYC initiative for mental health.
- Alongside the SIPP grant, P.S. 15 partnered with the Trust for Public Land to renovate the play yard, partnered with Pathways to Leadership (P2L) to offer a full range of health, social service, and academic supports as a Community School, and extended the Gifted & Talented program to now grades Kindergarten-3 (adding a grade each year).
- During the 2016-17 school year, P.S. 15 hired a full-time Enrichment Coordinator to expand enrichment opportunities for all students. The school met all Renewal progress benchmarks and has been featured in several publications about innovative programs. Coming up in February 2017 is a Make-a-Thon event for budding tinkerers.
Equitable, Choice-based Socio-economic Integration Policy Updates:
- The SEI (Socio-economic Integration) work group met throughout the 2015-16 school year. Educational consultant Michael Alves provided research articles, data and materials about controlled choice in other U.S. cities and he advised the work group on factors to consider in defining socio-economic diversity. The work group requested and received from the NYCDOE's Office of Student Enrollment a range of student data from the 2015-16 Kindergarten and Pre-K admissions cycles to analyze and model alternative scenarios. The work group considered best practices and then submitted preliminary recommendations for equitable student-assignment policy for "Beta testing" by Michael Alves.
- During the 2016-17 school year, the joint work group reviewed data sets from Michael Alves of re-runs of 2015-16 Kindergarten and PreK admissions cycles that incorporate a controlled-choice-type of student assignment with Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) as the weighted factor. Additionally, the joint work group reviewed data from the NYCDOE's Office of Student Enrollment of modeling a district-wide set-aside admissions policy using FRL targets of 50% and 60%. The joint work group is considering results from these admissions re-runs in order to formulate a proposal for equitable, choice-based socio-economic integration policy at P.S. 15 and across District 1 during the 2017-2018 admissions cycles.
Family Resource Center Updates:
- The FRC (Family Resource Center) work group met throughout the 2015-16 school year. Members attended the District 1 PreK/Kindergarten Fair in December 2015 and interviewed many families about their choice school selection process. They also developed a SurveyMonkey on-line survey for current District 1 families about how they arrived at their school choice decisions and suggestions for how they might use a local FRC. Postcards about the survey were mailed home to 6,000 District 1 families. "Mom squads" of volunteer local parents, community members, and District 1 staff arranged visits to all District 1 schools in spring 2016 to gather survey responses, including translating services. In total, 800 parents/guardians completed the survey and FRC work group analyzed results with findings, patterns, and recommendations.
- The FRC work group sent seven members in January 2016 to Massachusetts to visit the Family Resource Centers recommended by Michael Alves in Brockton and Cambridge. The group came back with photos, materials, and many resources to inform a future District 1 FRC, possibly at P.S. 15.
- The work of the District 1 SIPP grant launched in September 2015 at an open calendar meeting of Community Education Council (CEC 1) where the grant goals and process were explained and school leaders, teachers, parents, and community members were invited to participate in planning work groups. Additionally, CEC 1 has supported SIPP grant efforts through active participation and leadership on work groups, as well as posting relevant documents on https://cecd1.org.
- The District 1 Leadership Team (DLT) became the monthly forum for SIPP grant planning team updates and every agenda included regular progress reports, including successes and challenges.
- In March 2016, District 1 hosted a SIPP grant Community Forum with reports from all three work groups about progress so far, budgets spent for activities, and next steps. Educational consultant Michael Alves presented briefly about his work with District 1 and experience with controlled choice student-assignment policies in U.S. cities. District 1 Twitter launched to inform families and local community about SIPP grant work, as well as events and news in District 1 schools.
- In October 2016, the District 1 Leadership team hosted a workshop for all School Leadership Team members in District 1 schools about understanding roles and responsibilities, with a special focus on SIPP grant work and importance to all SLT teams.
- In December 2016, District 1 launched a website to highlight District 1 schools, provide access to information about choice school admissions process, and share SIPP grant updates.