Signs of New York City’s roughly 900,000 students’ return to school were apparent throughout the city Thursday morning. The trains teemed with kids escorted by family members, students toted their heavy backpacks down the sidewalk and disgruntled looking kids held homemade signs while posing on stoops as eager parents snapped photos.
Education leaders and top city officials gathered at schools throughout the day to welcome students and reiterate their goals for the coming school year – one that’s expected to be especially pivotal because of ongoing efforts to help students recover from the pandemic. It’s also the first full school year under the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams and schools Chancellor David Banks. The two men and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell kicked things off early in the morning at the Bronx’s P.S 161 where they expressed excitement for the year, while acknowledging that much work lies ahead as the city implements new efforts to improve literacy. P.S. 161 is one of two pilot schools that’ll be home to especially intensive instruction.
“So often we go through the traditional phase of opening the school year ignoring the fact that 65% of Black and brown children leave that school year not reaching proficiency and we have normalized that,” Adams said. “We want every child to have a chance to thrive and grow and prosper no matter their ZIP code, no matter their ethnicity, no matter how they got here.”