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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

03.11.2021 | Spectrum News Albany | "For those older students, the pandemic has been particularly rough. Many young people have lost family members, students are working much more to bring income into their homes. And so, we're very worried about students who are in their very last year of school eligibility who are struggling to engage in school remotely or make progress in school remotely," said Ashley Grant of Advocates for Children of New York.

According to Advocates for Children of New York, roughly 2,000-3,000 students each year graduate after their sixth year of high school. Read article

03.10.2021 | The 74 | The city is home to at least 111,000 children without stable housing, according to a December analysis published by Advocates for Children. That’s about 1 in 10 youth enrolled in the city’s public or charter schools — more than the population of Albany. Many of these students have long faced serious challenges to their education, including poverty, family instability and learning interruptions, issues that have only worsened during COVID-19. Read article

03.09.2021 | The 74 | In November, the nonprofit Advocates for Children filed a federal class action lawsuit against the city on behalf of students with special needs who they say have missed legally mandated services during virtual learning. Fortunately for Hamza and Sumaya, their mother Merieme and the advocacy group fought years ago to get the two NYC public school students into a state-approved private school. Once schools opened up in late September, they were able to go back, and they’ve been back ever since. Read article

03.09.2021 | CBS New York | With that directive set to expire this year, more than 100 advocates signed a letter asking state leaders for another extension. “We know that anytime a barrier comes up for a student, they’re less likely to finish their high school diploma,” said Ashley Grant, with Advocates for Children. 

Thousands of students would be impacted — mainly English language learners and those with disabilities who need transition services that can’t be done remotely. “So that might mean connecting to adult services, that might mean doing work-based learning,” Grant said. Watch video

03.04.2021 | Bronx News 12 | "The DOE needs to plan now for a summer program that begins to help students catch up, given all the learning loss and trauma they've experienced over the past year," said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children of New York. "We want to make sure that summer programming this year has opportunities for one-on-one and small group instruction, especially for students who are struggling with reading, which is such a fundamental skill. We want to ensure that the summer program can serve all students of all ages and grade levels, starting in kindergarten — let's not wait until 3rd grade like we've done in past years, given that our young learners also missed out and need help right now. And let's make sure that this summer, our programs have specialized supports for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, so that they can take advantage of these programs, given how much difficulty they've had with remote learning over the past year." Watch video

03.03.2021 | Uptown Radio | One of the bills introduced last month in the City Council seeks to shift safety agents from the NYPD to the Department of Education. Another establishes new procedures for police responding to students in crisis. It would also require more training in de-escalation and restorative justice techniques. And limit the use of handcuffs. Rohini Singh is a staff attorney with Advocates for Children’s School Justice, and helped the council members draft the bills. She says ultimately, police shouldn’t be in schools at all. But for now, "while police are still in schools and around schools they should know what they can and can't do when it comes to a student that's experienced an emotional crisis." Listen to story

02.26.2021 | The 74 | Advocates for Children Executive Director Kim Sweet also thanked Carranza for his service “especially in the face of unprecedented challenges this past year” and congratulated Porter “on her historic appointment.” 

“She definitely has her work cut out for her,” Sweet said. “At this critical moment, NYC needs an ambitious education recovery plan to restore hope and opportunity to a generation of students that has experienced significant learning loss and trauma.” 

AFC’s policy director Randi Levine noted all the discussion around reimagining schools as a result of the pandemic, and called on Porter and de Blasio to go beyond the rhetoric and make real changes to strengthen academic and student mental health supports as they reopens schools. Read article

02.25.2021 | Those changes are a “very big deal,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, which has handled at least a dozen cases of students being denied access to the program. “It was very unclear what the process was in the beginning.” 

Crucially, the new guidance says the city will provide paraprofessionals who often work individually with students with behavior or health problems. Not having such paraprofessionals proved a significant barrier to access Learning Bridges for many students. Read article

02.23.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Ashley Grant, director of the Postsecondary Readiness Project at the nonprofit Advocates for Children, supported the decision to remove the Regents from graduation requirements. 

“This is great news and will allow teachers and students to focus on the work of teaching and learning, confident that students who meet all other graduation requirements will not lose their chance to earn a diploma because of COVID-19,” she wrote in an email. Read article

02.23.2021 | NY Daily News | The city Education Department illegally held up court-ordered tuition reimbursement payments for families of private school students with disabilities during the pandemic, a Manhattan federal judge ruled. 

One high school student with multiple disabilities was forced to temporarily drop out of her court-approved Manhattan private school for a month last summer because the city failed to deliver its reimbursement payments and the student’s single mother couldn’t front the cost, according to Rebecca Shore, the family’s lawyer. 

“This loss was demoralizing for our client, and put at risk her ability to graduate,” said Shore, an attorney with Advocates for Children. Read article