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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Homeless — and on track to graduate

A Manhattan charter schools that serves the neediest teens — many of them homeless — is likely to exceed the the city’s overall graduation rate this year, reports Hechinger’s Kyle Spencer on WNYC News. Broome Street Charter Academy is a “community school” that offers a range of supports, including a 5:30 pm dinner.

Animata Diop, an immigrant from West Africa,  completes an assignment in anthropology class. She lives with an aunt. Photo: Jackie Mader/Hechinger Report

Many of Broome Street’s students come from “chaotic homes” with violent or absent parents, writes Spencer. “Some have criminal records. Some have been prostitutes. Others have witnessed murders or spent hours of their childhood visiting parents in jail.”

The six-year-old Broome Street is located inside a teen crisis center known as The Door. The center offers legal advice, “a counseling center with six clinicians; dental and health clinics; an employment center” and after-school activities.

When counselors at The Door sit with teens who hate school, they recommend that they apply upstairs to Broome Street. And when students at Broome Street need counseling, their teachers send them downstairs to The Door.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to open 100 new community schools by the end of this year and another 69 schools in 2018, writes Spencer.

Congress added a community schools initiative in the 2015  Every Student Succeeds Act.

However, “despite its increasing popularity, the model has had mixed results,” writes Spencer. The Oyler Community Learning Center in Cincinnati “has confounded educators because student performance has been lackluster, despite an expansive and thoughtful model.”

Last year, Oyler earned “a failing grade on every available measure, from overall achievement to on-time graduation rates,” reports Marketplace. Less than half of students earned a diploma.

Broome Street does not have good test scores, but the graduation rate has nearly doubled since 2011. It was 72.4 percent last year, about the same as the city average, and is projected to be higher this year.

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