Hurricane Sandy has turned the lives of hundreds of our students upside down and they need your support more than ever. Our Channel View School for Research in Far Rockaway has been flooded and an exterior wall blown out by a fuel-related explosion. Our Leaders School near Gravesend, Brooklyn still has a flooded basement and no heat. And while our schools serving Staten Island and the Red Hook area of Brooklyn have not sustained damage to their buildings, the same cannot be said for many of their students’ families and home lives. In fact, the overall disruption to our students’ lives across our entire network has been widespread and profound.
An up-close look at one of our schools provides real perspective. Students from our Channel View School have been relocated to another school nine miles north of their Beach Channel campus. As faculty greeted returning students on their first day back, they quickly realized that their students had fared even worse than they had expected: just 150 of 664 students arrived. Where were the other 514 students? The sad truth was that, in many cases, we didn't know.
But we have been doing everything possible to find out, to ensure that they are safe, and to fast-track their return to the refuge and rigor of our school communities. It is in times like these that the deep relevance of our core values – demanding academics, community and character – become evident. Already, principals, faculty and students from our less affected schools are reaching out to lend a hand to schools that are in need. Our field instructors have been reassigned to help rebuild neighborhoods where our schools are located. And our faculty are doing exactly what we have taught them: helping to equip students with the grit, resilience and courage they need to continue marching toward the goal of academic success in college and beyond. As always in times of adversity, the words of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn resonate: There is more in us than we know.
Let us close with an inspiring set of facts. In June, our Channel View School, in which just 26% of incoming 9th graders are proficient in English Language Arts, had a 90% graduation rate and an 89% college acceptance rate. Across our school network, in which 65% of students live in poverty, 70% of schools received A’s on this year’s progress reports and 93% of 2012 graduates were accepted to colleges that include MIT, Princeton, Bard, Amherst and Cornell.
Don’t let Hurricane Sandy wash these gains away. Please consider a donation today.