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Advisory program expanded to 5 Staten Island schools | In Class column

IN CLASS: This feature is part of an ongoing education column highlighting the various activities that engage school communities.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Five Staten Island schools will be participating in a City Council grant that will build a powerful advisory program and school culture framework through the Crew initiative.

Borough President James Oddo recently announced that the following schools have all committed to partnering with NYC Outward Bound in the Crew initiative: Egbert Intermediate School (I.S. 2), Midland Beach; Prall Intermediate School (I.S. 27), West Brighton; Morris Intermediate School (I.S. 61), Brighton Heights; the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Staten Island, Stapleton, and Pathways to Graduation, Stapleton.

Based on data collected, we have seen that Crew offers a social-emotional lifeline for students during an incredibly challenging and isolating year.

James Oddo

Staten Island Borough President

The program is free to participating schools.

The announcement comes weeks after the borough president’s education team of Rose Kerr and Laura Timoney visited Marsh Ave Expeditionary Learning School (MAELS), New Springville, along with principals from the intermediate schools. They observed live Crew periods in three different classrooms.

Since that visit, schools across Staten Island have been encouraged to consider implementing Crew in their schools.

Crew is a signature advisory program in each NYC Outward Bound School, which encourages academic and social-emotional growth and a school-wide mindset that leads to more vibrant and authentic communities. NYC Outward Bound Schools is a network that works in partnership with the Department of Education (DOE) to bring the Crew initiative to life in secondary schools around the city.

In this September file photo, Paul Pesce sits with NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter at the Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School, New Springville. The school is part of the city’s Crew initiative. (Staten Island Advance)

New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter was able to see Crew in action during a visit to MAELS the first week of the 2021-2022 school year. Student ambassadors, eighth-graders Diandra Tissera and Andrew Herrera, told the Advance/ at the time that they were excited to come back to school because they were able to reconnect with their Crew.

The borough president’s office recent visit to MAELS marks a continuing effort to engage Staten Island in the free initiative and encourages principals to consider Crew as an option — especially as students heal and regroup from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The principals of the visiting schools saw firsthand the positive force Crew is in a school. It was our hope at that time that more principals take that leap and see how Crew can truly enhance the opportunities already given at their schools,” said Oddo. “Based on data collected, we have seen that Crew offers a social-emotional lifeline for students during an incredibly challenging and isolating year.”

Each school will identify a staff member to receive coaching from NYC Outward Bound Schools and lead the implementation of the Crew program at their school. NYC Outward Bound Schools will provide this “Crew Guide” with a stipend to compensate for their time.

Each school will also create a space for critical academic and social-emotional growth and gain the tools to help students move forward together post-pandemic and join a collective of like-minded schools that will work together over the next two years to determine how best to leverage Crew to build belonging in schools, according to Oddo’s office. The professional development, “Crew 101,” will begin in the next few months.

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