NYC Plans Smaller Classes When In-Person Schools Reopen in Fall

New York City will reduce classroom sizes and embark on curriculum changes when the U.S.’s largest public school system reopens -- fully in-person -- in September.

The city will use billions of dollars in federal pandemic aid to retrofit school buildings, increase special education support, and bring a system-wide expansion of counseling and mental health resources for students traumatized after a year of the pandemic. Many of those students spent much of last year in remote learning. The city plans to add 140 teachers in 72 schools with the highest class sizes and permit two teachers in many classrooms for younger students.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s new “Mosaic Curriculum,” named after former Mayor David Dinkins’s description of the city living together as a multi-ethnic melting pot, will focus on boosting reading levels and introducing learning tools that are based in cultural diversity.

“We need a curriculum for New York City kids that is built in New York City,” de Blasio said in a Thursday briefing.

The city will distribute 175,000 mobile devices so that every public school student from Kindergarten to 12th grade will have access to one. Another 5,000 computer science teachers will be trained to expand coursework that will extend to 400,000 students by 2024, said schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.

The plan also calls for college financial aid counseling will be available for all junior and senior high school students, she said.

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