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Micaela’s Story

Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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AFC in the News

07.03.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | In 2016, the city announced it would increasing the number of reading coaches in each school through a new Universal Literacy Program. That may be helping, Moroff said, but some students still find themselves without needed support. “If kids didn’t have private attorneys, then what they ended up doing was just struggling in school and not getting the support they needed, falling farther and farther behind and getting a hodgepodge of services,” said Moroff. Read article

06.12.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | Most of New York City’s schools are not considered fully accessible: entire neighborhoods lack schools that can accommodate students with physical disabilities. And since the city had already exhausted all of its funding to make schools more accessible for the next fiscal year, advocates feared there would be no progress on building upgrades for at least another year. But the budget deal includes $150 million over the next three years to improve access for students with disabilities, which will likely allow for major overhauls of at least 20 school buildings and minor enhancements to dozens of others. “The [education department] is finally getting a grip on what kind of work needs to be done but they were out of money to do it,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, an organization that pushed for increased funding. “This allows them to do it right away.” Read article

06.05.2018 | New York Daily News | In a letter sent to de Blasio Monday, the leaders of 16 influential nonprofits that work with homeless students urged de Blasio to dramatically increase supports for those kids by adding staff and funding in his upcoming budget. “The growing number of students in temporary housing represents a crisis that requires more of the City’s attention and resources,” states the letter endorsed by Advocates for Children of New York, The Legal Aid Society, WIN and other groups. The groups that signed the letter want de Blasio to add $19 million in funding for projects such as boosting the number social workers for homeless kids in shelters and schools. They also want de Blasio to establish a Deputy Chancellor’s Office for Highly Mobile Students and hire Field Support Center Directors for Highly Mobile Students. “The City must do more to help these students succeed in school, starting by doubling the number of school social workers,” said Advocates for Children of New York policy director Randi Levine. Read article

05.03.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | The confusion surrounding Garcia’s diploma grows out of the system that New York’s education leaders have been creating for years — carving out new ways for students to graduate that rely less on the passing the state’s traditional five Regents exams. The goal is to ensure students like Garcia don’t get left behind while keeping the state’s rigorous graduation standards. But...for students, teachers, and families in New York, the mishmash of rules and exceptions that the state has carved out to make earning a diploma more achievable has made it challenging to decipher pathways to graduation, said Ashley Grant, a supervising staff attorney at Advocates for Children. Grant says she helps families through the process, but that the state should create a more coherent system — one that doesn’t require an attorney’s assistance to understand. Read article

04.18.2018 | New York Daily News | A group of 30 City Council members signed on to a letter sent to de Blasio on Monday that seeks at least $30.3 million for social workers and tutors, in addition to other measures to support homeless kids... Randi Levine, the policy coordinator for Advocates for Children, said her group also backs the push for more homeless resources. “We are pleased to see such strong support in the council,” she said. Read article

04.03.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Carranza as his pick to replace Chancellor Carmen Fariña, local advocates privately wondered what his record on special education in Houston might mean for New York... Moroff said she is optimistic that Carranza will take those problems seriously — and that local advocates will make sure those students remain on his agenda. “He’s obviously got some experience looking at special education, and looking at it systematically,” Moroff said. “We hope it stays on his radar here.” Read article

03.28.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | Still, those learning English will be required to pass another four exams, including an English Regents exam, which could limit their ability to use the new option, said Ashley Grant, a supervising staff attorney at Advocates for Children. “We’d still like to see more pathways that don’t rely on high-stakes assessments,” Grant said. Read article

03.15.2018 | New York Times | The second report released on Thursday went further. That paper, released by Advocates for Children of New York and the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, called on Mr. de Blasio to hire more trained social workers to work in shelters — family assistants need neither a college degree nor any formal training in social work or education, the paper said. It also asked that the education department create a deputy chancellor’s office to focus specifically on highly mobile students. “Currently, the D.O.E.’s Students in Temporary Housing Program is buried under the vast and varied portfolio of the Deputy Chancellor for Operations,” the report said. “This arrangement makes it unlikely that students in temporary housing will get the attention or support they need.” Read article

03.15.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | The city employs family assistants who are supposed to work with families living in shelters and keep an eye on student attendance. But the audit found that during the 2015-16 school year, the education department deployed just 110 assistants to oversee 32,243 students living in shelters — a ratio of 293 students per family assistant. On Thursday, the advocacy group Advocates for Children released a separate report that called for the city to boost the number of social workers to help students in shelters (family assistants, by contrast, are not required to have formal training in social work or education). Read article

03.15.2018 | New York Daily News | A report published Thursday by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York found that the city's offices to support homeless kids are understaffed. It called on the city to add at least 107 social workers dedicated to helping homeless students access services and succeed in school. In 2017 the city dedicated $10.7 million to programs for homeless students, but continued funding was not included in a preliminary budget released by de Blasio last month. Read article