“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Last Thursday was Back to School Day for our city’s 1.1 million public school students. Chancellor Dennis Walcott and I visited one of our newest schools – the Mount Eden Children’s Academy in the Bronx – and talked with students, teachers and principals who were all excited about the year ahead. And there’s a lot to be excited about.
“Mount Eden is one of the 55 new schools – that together include some 7,300 seats – our Administration opened this year. And it’s one of the nearly 600 schools with more than 116,000 seats we’ve opened since 2002. Those new schools have helped us increase graduation rates by 41 percent since 2005, compared to 9 percent in the rest of the state – a clear, apples-to-apples example of our success. We know we still have a lot of work to do, but our schools are heading in the right direction. And this year, we’re finding more ways to build on our progress.
“For instance, this year we’re giving parents more tools and support to help their kids succeed. That includes using technology to help keep parents informed, even when they’re on the go. So we’ve launched a new mobile text messaging service, and we’re encouraging all parents and guardians to text ‘N-Y-C-schools’ to 8-7-7-8-7-7 to sign-up for mobile alerts. You’ll receive information on everything from lunch menus to school holidays to parent-teacher conferences. This new service is part of our work to make our school system more responsive to the needs of students and parents.
“This year we’ll also give our kids more one-on-one support through programs like our Success Mentor Corps. Studies show that students who miss more than 20 days of school in a year are much less likely to graduate, and much more likely to have later problems, like substance abuse and criminal activity. Mentoring has been central to our fight against chronic absenteeism. And this year, Success Mentors will be reaching more than 5,000 students in 100 schools – double the number from last year.
“As we do more to support parents and students, this year we’ll also continue investing in training – not just for teachers, but for administrators, as well. That includes our new principal mentoring program. We’ve asked some of our most successful principals to identify teachers and assistant principals who, with mentoring and support, would make great principals if given the chance to open their own school. To date, the program has produced 13 new principals who have started schools.
“Achieving success begins with expecting success. So we’re raising expectations for our kids and making the investments necessary to help our kids meet them.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”