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Photo courtesy of Emil Cohen/New York City Council
City Councilman Daneek Miller (fourth from left) with P.S./I.S. 116 Principal Debra Farrow, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes.

Three public schools in southeast Queens will receive laptops and tech support under a new initiative spearheaded by NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes. 

On Monday, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, along with City Councilman Daneek Miller and Dukes, announced a $1 million pilot program at P.S./I.S. 116, located at 107-25 Wren Place in Jamaica, that will give students in communities of color access to laptops and state-of-the-art learning programs to boost literacy and math skills. 

The first-of-its-kind NAACP program is named the Hazel Dukes Education Initiative. 

NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes (Photo courtesy of Emil Cohen/New York City Council)

“The NAACP New York State Conference is dedicated to eliminating the severe inequities that too often continue to plague our education system,” Dukes said. “We are committed to increasing resource equity by targeting efforts to assist students most in need. The funding provided by Speaker Johnson to support this program will allow the NAACP to work directly with the Department of Education and ensure our students are provided the resources they need.” 

The Council designated $1 million in this year’s budget for the NAACP to purchase more than 1,300 Dell Technology Chrome notebooks, which will be used in the schools, and together with KneoWorld technology-based learning programs and tech supported platforms that maximize pupil engagement and give educators advanced and powerful tools to help students succeed. These educational solutions will engage all learners and provide students with new ways to master concepts and skills. 

“This opportunity here allows our students to connect to purpose,” said DOE Representative John Herrera. “It is a moment that is defining the way we look at education, especially STEM education.”

The four participating schools include: 

  • Catherine & Count Basie Middle School 72 (133-25 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica) 
  • Richard S. Grossley (J.H.S. 8) (108-35 167th St., Jamaica) 
  • P.S./I.S. 116 William C. Hughley (107-25 Wren Place, Jamaica) 
  • P.S. 1 The Courtlandt School (Bronx)

“We need 21st century resources for our 21st century students and this partnership will make sure that these Queens and Bronx Schools will get the technology and support students need to thrive,” Johnson said. “We know that we have to do better and communities of color have faced obstacle after obstacle in getting the equity that they need, and today we’re hoping to right some of those past wrongs. We can’t afford to leave any student behind.” 

Miller, co-chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, said, “the effort represents the Council’s commitment to ensuring that students of color receive access to cutting-edge, software-based learning that prepares them for the job market and beyond. We are so grateful to our partners and hopeful that the Hazel Dukes Education Initiative and pilot program will continue with the support of the Council and expanded over the years.”

City Councilman Daneek Miller (Photo courtesy of Emil Cohen/New York City Council)

City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams noted the importance of always looking for opportunities to provide students in the southeast Queens community with access to the technology they need to further facilitate learning. 

“Making sure that our children are learning with current technology is essential to ensuring that they are prepared to compete in the economy of tomorrow,” Adams said. “I would like to thank the NAACP for this generous technology grant that will be a game-changer for local students.”

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