Mayor’s renewal school program heads to the war room

By Sadef Ali Kully

During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tour of underperforming schools enrolled in the Renewal Schools program launched last year, he announced one of the methods to measure improvements would be Compstat, the NYPD crime-tracking tool, at Richmond Hill High School.

“These schools were closed before there were any coherent efforts to turn them around. And so schools that were struggling were left to get worse in some cases,” said de Blasio. “A renewal school will have more investment than ever and we believe this will be transcendent. We believe in fighting rather than surrendering. If I do not see a school turnaround significantly in three years, then I will close it down and be held responsible.”

The Renewal School program was initiated to mediate and improve flailing schools across the city. A total of 94 schools was targeted for the plan of action that will cost $150 million over the next three years. The program is overseen by Renewal Schools Executive Superintendent Aimee Horowitz.

“She is the general of the army to change these schools around and she has my full support. In some schools we will send a SWAT team, as it were, of a new principal, new teachers, new superintendent, we will mobilize the best we have and send them where they are needed. I think our students deserve that kind of commitment and support,” de Blasio. said March 19.

The idea of using Compstat was conceived by Horowitz and her “war room” team, according to the mayor.

“We had our first war room meeting yesterday. My team and I are embedded in schools every day. We began our work with comprehensive evaluations of our schools to assess their needs and are now providing them with customized support to improve student outcome,” Horowitz said. “Today was a chance for me observe how Compstat works and how they run their meetings.”

In 1994, then and now Police Commissioner William Bratton introduced a data-driven management model called CompStat to the NYPD which has been credited with decreasing crime over the last 18 years across the city and has been implemented in major cities across the country.

“Compstat is an accountability system,” said William Gorta, who was on the Compstat development team for the NYPD in the 1990s. “It’s a matter of deciding what is important, measuring it, and holding people accountable for the lack of improvement.”

CompStat, short for Computer Comparison Statistics, is a multifaceted system for crime-tracking and managing police operations. In the NYPD, CompStat functions as a crime control process during which police performance is reviewed critically for improvement. There are four major principles for Compstat: accurate and timely intelligence, effective tactics, rapid deployment, relentless follow-up and assessment.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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