Mayor’s Fund dedicates $2M to academic support

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Steve Mosco

Queens schools that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are among 39 citywide learning centers set to receive a boost of relief funds.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City announced this week new programs to provide long-term assistance for students in schools severely affected by the October superstorm.

The grant commits more than $2 million to fund mentoring, counseling, social services and academic support.

“Students in areas hardest hit by the storm lost a significant amount of time in the classroom, and this funding will allow us to provide them with services to get them back on track for success,” said Walcott. “We are so incredibly thankful to generous New Yorkers and concerned donors around the world. Without their contributions to the mayor’s fund following Hurricane Sandy, these grants would not have been possible.”

In all, 17 schools in Queens will receive the relief funds in this initiative, administered by the Fund for Public Schools. Thousands of students were displaced or relocated from their schools due to the storm, creating unanticipated learning gaps and other challenges, according to Julia Bator, chief executive officer of the Fund for Public Schools.

She said the grant would allow the city Department of Education to make great strides in supporting these students through mentoring and supplemental academic support.

“When Hurricane Sandy disrupted so many New Yorkers’ lives, the city’s schools were a source of comfort, continuity and inspiration to students and families in need,” said Bator. “This grant from the mayor’s fund will enable schools to continue to go the extra mile to ensure our students feel safe, cared for and ready to learn.”

Among the Queens schools set to receive funds through this initiative is Beach Channel High School and Channel View HS in Rockaway Park as well as PS 105 in Far Rockaway.

The DOE will allocate $1.3 million of the grant funds to support expanded mentoring and counseling programs in the schools, serving more than 16,000 students. The remaining $715,000 will provide expanded online tutoring and extended after-school time for 13 schools that serve more than 13,000 students.

“We know that many families’ lives were disrupted as a result of Hurricane Sandy and one consequence was children missing valuable school time,” said Megan Sheekey, president of the mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “This initiative is making it possible for students to catch up on learning they may have missed and also receive the vital counseling and mentoring services to further help in the recovery process.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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