NYC Receives First Operation Americorps Funding to Support Transformation of Struggling Schools into Community Schools

  • Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2018

300 AmeriCorps members over two years to bolster capacity of City’s 128 new Community Schools, including 94 renewal schools

NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña, AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl, and NYC Service Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin announced today that AmeriCorps will significantly increase its presence in New York City public schools through a large investment of Operation AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The federal agency’s two-year investment of up to $5.8 million, including college scholarships for AmeriCorps members, will support more than 300 AmeriCorps members working to reduce absenteeism, increase parental involvement, and ensure students are on track to graduate in 128 Community Schools.
The Operation AmeriCorps funding is being awarded to NYC Service, an NYC Office of the Mayor partnering with the NYC Department of Education to manage the program. New York City is the first city in the nation to receive funding through Operation AmeriCorps, an initiative launched by CNCS last fall for local and tribal governments to use national service as a transformative catalyst to address a high-priority community challenge. CNCS will announce additional Operation AmeriCorps grantees later this month.
“This new funding will bring hundreds of passionate, committed AmeriCorps members into our most challenged schools to help students stay in school and on track to graduate, and engage parents in school buildings as critical partners in their child’s success,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “These additional AmeriCorps members will be instrumental as models and mentors for our students. We are committed to turning around our historically struggling schools and this is another important step to improve the education in those schools and for all our students.”
“Helping every child graduate from high school is a goal we share with the City of New York,” said AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl. “Through this new Operation AmeriCorps investment, AmeriCorps members will support the City’s efforts to boost attendance, improve academic achievement, and help students succeed in school and graduate ready for college or a career.”
“NYC Service is proud to have been selected for Operation AmeriCorps, and excited to start recruiting energetic, talented AmeriCorps members to help thousands of public school students along the path to graduation,” said NYC Service Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. “This infusion of AmeriCorps members will strengthen our City’s schools by building the infrastructure essential for long-term sustainability and success, while providing a transforming experience for those who serve.”
Chancellor Fariña, Director Basl, and Chief Service Officer Gavin made the announcement at an event celebrating the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, a nationwide bipartisan effort to recognize the positive impact of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps and thank those who serve.  Across the country, more than 2,630 mayors and county officials are participating in this third-annual recognition day. These elected officials represent more than 149 million Americans, nearly half the U.S. population.
The Operation AmeriCorps funding awarded to New York City includes $2 million in program dollars annually for two years, contingent on appropriations and performance, for a total of $4 million. In addition, AmeriCorps members completing their service are eligible to earn funds to pay for higher education or pay back student loans from a total of up to $1.6 million in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $3.8 million in cash and in-kind matching contributions, making the total investment over two years nearly $10 million.
AmeriCorps members will be assigned to Community Schools – including all Renewal Schools – which offer a coordinated approach to improving students’ academic performance through strong partnerships among principals, parents, teachers and community-based organizations. AmeriCorps members will play a critical role in supporting those needs by working with community school directors. With the community school directors, they will coordinate student mentoring programs that directly support the most struggling students, or facilitate broad outreach to parents and fully engage them in student learning through leadership opportunities as well as the school’s planning process and decisions. 
An additional 16 AmeriCorps VISTA members will work with the Office of Community Schools on capacity-building efforts, including expanded-learning opportunities for schools. An AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) team of 10 members will also lead internal and external beautification efforts aimed at a positive school-wide environment, which provides a sense of physical and emotional safety for students.
The grant will be awarded by CNCS through the New York State Commission on National & Community Service – New Yorkers Volunteer, appointed by Governor Cuomo.
“We congratulate NYC Service and the Department of Education for their successful application for Operation AmeriCorps,” said Linda Cohen, Executive Director of the New York State Commission on National & Community Service – New Yorkers Volunteer. “AmeriCorps members are already making an enormous difference in the lives of people across New York State, and this new investment will help our young people get the education they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce.”
The New York City Department of Education and NYC Service will recruit individuals for these new AmeriCorps positions – with some beginning as early as this summer and all in place for the 2015-2016 school year. These full-time AmeriCorps positions provide a living allowance, training, health coverage, a $5,730 college scholarship, and the opportunity to make a difference in New York City public schools. 
More than 8,300 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers serve at more than 1,300 locations in New York City. These citizens tutor and mentor children, support veterans and military families, provide health services, restore the environment, and more. Thousands of participants serve in schools through programs like Teach for America, City Year, Jumpstart, Citizen Schools, the New Teacher Project, Experience Corps, and others. This year, CNCS is investing $53 million to support New York City, leveraging an additional $48 million in other resources.
About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit the National Service website.
About NYC Service
NYC Service promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service, builds volunteer capacity, and mobilizes the power of volunteers to impact New York City’s greatest needs. Launched in April 2009 in response to President Obama’s national call for volunteerism, NYC Service focuses on 12 strategic programs and 20 volunteer impact initiatives that expand outreach to individuals, government, organizations and corporations to help all New Yorkers volunteer. Learn more and search for service opportunities by skill, borough and interest at the NYC Service website.
About the New York State Commission on National & Community Service
The New York State Commission on National & Community Service seeks to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering in New York State. It was established in 1994 by an Executive Order of the Governor.  For more information, visit the New Yorkers Volunteer website
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