"Our educators and staff find innovative ways, everyday, to surmount the impossible.”
--- Superintendent of Schools Bernard P. Pierorazio
(September 6, 2012) Despite a status-quo budget that restricts the restoration of staff and programs, Yonkers Public Schools students grades Kindergarten - 12 returned to a warm welcome from teachers, administrators and staff determined to succeed -- and to exceed -- previous achievement levels.
“Our educators and staff find innovative ways, everyday, to surmount the impossible,” said Superintendent of Schools Bernard P. Pierorazio. “We will continue to fight for our fair share of funding; enrollment growth must equate to additional resources. The commitment of our families and staff, however, has propelled the District forward despite our fiscal deficiencies.”
Amid cuts to personnel and staff in 2011-2012, Yonkers continued to be recognized for its positive results on local, state and national levels.
- Based on August 2011 data, the District’s graduation rate increased to 72 percent, gaining ground on the State average, 77 percent.
- Yonkers students also improved on the 2012 NYS assessments: 40.7 percent met or exceeded the ELA standard, up from 37.8 percent in 2011, and 46.8 percent met or exceeded the Math standard, up from 40.4 percent.
While managing to avoid additional layoffs for 2012-2013, the District has not been able to restore most personnel or programs previously cut. While resources remain relatively fixed, enrollment increases.
- The District welcomes over 1,000 additional students this year, increasing enrollment to 26,342 currently from 25,335 in 2011-2012, with more students registering every day.
- With 15 new early childhood/elementary and 12 seventh and eighth grade classes added to accommodate the student influx, the District has reallocated $1 million, originally budgeted for substitute teachers, to hire 14 additional teachers.
- A New York State Assembly grant of $750,000 also provides sufficient funds to reinstate five varsity sports: varsity winter track, boys and girls lacrosse, and boys and girls golf. Intramural, modified and junior varsity sports remain cut.
In addition, Yonkers Public Schools continues restructuring efforts that have garnered data-proven benefits for students.
Aligning with the ongoing initiative to transition elementary schools to a prekindergarten through grade 8 construct:
- Eugenio Maria de Hostos Microsociety School and Cedar Place School expand to prekindergarten through grade 7 in September 2012, growing to prekindergarten through grade 8 in September 2013.
- On the secondary level, Early College High School and Yonkers Montessori Academy welcome their first junior classes this year, growing to their full complements (9-12 and Prekindergarten-12, respectively) in September 2013.
- Next year, Yonkers Montessori Academy is positioned to become the only prekindergarten through grade twelve public Montessori school in the country.
Furthermore, Yonkers Public Schools’ proposed Public-Private Partnership (P3), which was introduced to address the District’s aging and failing infrastructure, has already received international acclaim, being named one of the “World’s 100 Most Innovative Urban Infrastructure Programs.” The project’s feasibility study is expected to be completed in the next month or two.
Welcoming most of its young scholars on September 6th, the District’s final greeting to students and families comes next Monday, September 10th, when four-year-olds enter classrooms for their first half-day of prekindergarten.