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    New York City Schools Chancellor lays out back-to-school plans for children of asylum-seeking families


    NEW YORK (WABC) — As New York City continues its efforts to accommodate the influx of asylum-seeking families, city officials are working to manage the scores of children enrolling in public time this coming school year.

    On Wednesday, New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks gave an update on how the system plans to enter its second year of managing an influx of students as a result of the migrant crisis.

    “Since July 2022, nearly 19,000 students have enrolled in our schools in all five boroughs,” Banks said.

    Helping out with this massive task is “Project Open Arms,” a blueprint rolled out last year that is intended to provide help with enrollment, mental health, transportation, and translation services.

    “Project Open Arms has been absolutely instrumental of the success we’ve had to date,” said Banks.

    The Department of Education also added 3,400 English as a Second Language and 1,700 bilingual teachers for the school year.

    “We work closely with superintendents and principals to identify neighboring schools that have seats and available resource,” said Melissa Aviles-Ramos, Chief of Staff of the Chancellor’s Office.

    Banks added that the city has also been meeting with the United Federation of Teachers, otherwise known as UFT, as well as the state and will soon have announcements on plans to bring in more Spanish-speaking teachers.

    As progress is being made, the ongoing challenge is that enrollment is hard to project.

    With 600 migrants arriving and being housed in shelters across the city each day, they should attend the schools in those neighborhoods. However, those schools have reached or exceeded capacity.

    “There have been some schools where they’ve gotten, kind of like, more than their fair share,” said Banks. “They’ve gotten more than others because some of that is driven by where the temporary housing is, and so in those places we work really hard to try to mitigate that.”

    ALSO READ | Bronx event provides free back-to-school haircuts for kids

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