Brooklyn school demonstrates positive change in wake of plan supporting underserved schools

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Last year the city's Department of Education announced The Bronx Plan -- an effort to serve historically underserved schools across the five boroughs. The School For Classics in East New York showed off how it has helped them Wednesday.

The school's Black Box Theatre was funded through the plan that students say has helped them focus on theater. Education Chancellor Richard Carranza visited with students in the wood shop class that helps build theater props.

The Bronx Plan was launched in October 2017 as part of the United Federation of Teachers contract agreement. It supports 180 historically underserved schools citywide over the next three years.

The school's principal says in the past, it wouldn't get support that fit the needs of the students -- but The Bronx Plan was able to do that. Seven teachers also received a salary differential.

The school has already put on some performances and plans to add lighting and a sound system. Staff has noticed that students have subsequently become more excited to participate in classes.

Carranza says there has been real change in the past 10 months, which is why it is moving to the next phase of the plan.

"Two years ago, those schools started their school year at 72% fully staffed, that means if you do the math, there was 28% of the teaching positions that were vacant and we started the school year with substitute teachers," says Carranza. "This past school year, The Bronx Plan schools started the school year at almost 100% staffed, that means there was a credential, qualified teacher in every one of those classrooms. That's a big deal."

In the next phase, the DOE will invite 300 schools to apply but will only accept 70.


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