PENCIL Supports NYC Students’ Return to School
New York City is home to the largest school system in the country, with 1.1 million students enrolled in public schools. Earlier this month, New York City became the only large city to bring its public school students back into the school buildings for a hybrid semester, comprised of both in-person and remote classes.
Much like everything else, the return to school this year isn’t like anything anyone has experienced before. To meet social distancing measures effectively, principals were required to choose between several models that divided students into multiple cohorts and schedules of in person/remote learning.
At any point in the school year, students can switch from the blended learning model to full-time remote learning.
Students were initially expected to return to school buildings for in-person blended learning on Thursday, Sept. 10, though that timeline has been changed a few times and updated to a phased schedule to allow additional time for educators to get ready for the new school year.
Return to School Schedule
Monday, September 21 – All students begin remote instruction. Students in Grades 3-K and Pre-K begin in-Person Learning
Tuesday, September 29 – All Elementary Schools (K-5 and K-8) including students in Grades 6-8 in K-8 schools begin In-Person Learning
Thursday, October 1 – Middle Schools (Grades 6-8) and High Schools (Grades 9-12) began In-Person Learning
The DOE return to school plan shifts as new information becomes available and discussions continue with teachers, families, and students. The Mayor has committed to close schools if the citywide infection rate rises above 3% for seven straight days.
Already 91 schools were forced to close after COVID-19 cases surged in certain zip codes.
“This school year is anything but usual. As students adjust to the ‘new normal’ in schools, it is critical not to let their college and career goals be put on hold,” Jessica Bynoe, VP and Chief Strategy Officer of PENCIL said.
“The pandemic and its economic implications have exacerbated the inequities in our city by limiting access to programs, internships and mentors supporting student success. At PENCIL, we are determined to close the opportunity gap and create equitable access to programs that help students develop the relationships and skills essential to their current and future success.”
In April, during the start of the pandemic, PENCIL became one of the first organizations to provide virtual programs to NYC schools and successfully served nearly 2000 students.
Continuing the trend in the school year, PENCIL launched its open source programming, that delivers live online workshops and career panels at appointed times every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday with volunteers from a variety of industries on October 5th.
Open to all students from over 100 PENCIL partner schools, these sessions fill a gap in instruction and provide access to corporate volunteers that teachers need and cannot achieve alone.
PENCIL will also continue programming for over 40 school partnership programs. This year-long program allows a company to work in conjunction with a designated school to regularly engage with New York City students through virtual workshops and events.
“We are all trying to do our part to make sure that students and families and schools are getting all the support that they need. This time is certainly unprecedented,” Gregg Betheil, PENCIL’s president told News 12 earlier this week.
“With a lot of kids stuck at home and challenges of virtual learning, bringing in a different set of adults that can provide students much needed mentorship — an important of the work that PENCIL has been doing.”