As Schools Tackle Poverty, Attendance Goes Up, But Academic Gains Are Tepid
July 13, 2017
P.S. 123, a K-8 school in Harlem, had been a chaotic place when Melitina Hernandez arrived as principal in 2013. Students would often run out of class to get attention. Staff members sometimes dodged confrontational parents. The school had old computers and tattered textbooks.
So Hernandez and her staff set out to make big changes with a $4 million grant from the state. They started with upgrading technology and other classroom amenities. They also turned their attention to the needs of the school’s large population of homeless children. Then their efforts kicked into higher gear in 2014 when P.S. 123 became part of New York City’s broad efforts to turn around dozens of low-performing schools by injecting them with a range of health, social-emotional, and academic support services for students and their families.