NYC DOE accused of “poor planning” of summer program

Administrators of New York’s Summer Rising program for schoolchildren were left in the dark about key components of the initiative until less than 48 hours before Tuesday’s bumpy start, The Post has learned.

The Department of Education sent out a three-page memo on Sunday evening, over the July 4 bank holiday weekend, with new information on basics like layoffs and the digital curriculum for Tuesday morning.

The directors of Summer Rising sites were “angry” at the last-minute correspondence and the “poor planning,” according to a separate email from the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators to its members.

“The DOE is clearly trying to pass the buck as it asks for the impossible, asking you to fill positions you can’t fill on day one and find transportation for new families you’ve never met before employed,” the memo reads.

Over the weekend, officials still had no way of finding out how children were trying to get home from the various locations, according to emails obtained by The Post.

Headmasters were asked on Sunday to specify which students would use the bus service, which will be released at 3pm. Children who are not eligible for the bus service can remain in the program until 6 p.m. Bus services are unavailable at the end of the day, which the DOE attributes to “operational restrictions” in language that has since been deleted on its website.

Students participate in the first day of Summer Rising
Students attend the first day of Summer Rising at PS 6 in Brooklyn.
Stephen Yang

Officials also told administrators over the holidays that they would need to program students into a computer application — which can take up to two business days to sync — to access the DOE’s digital curriculum.

The eleventh-hour memo also called on school leaders to coordinate with local partner organizations that oversee afternoon activities to ensure children with disabilities receive the support they need.

In the email, the DOE outlined what to do if paraprofessionals who were supposed to be staffed ahead of time weren’t available for the more “camp-like” afternoon sessions — including asking morning workers to stay or post a backup job tomorrow from.

Students participate in the first day of Summer Rising
The principals were briefed with a to-do list before the first day.
Stephen Yang

After a chaotic rollout last summer, the regulators’ union told its members that they had made “every attempt” to work with city officials to iron out the program’s flaws since last October.

Students participate in the first day of Summer Rising
Children who are not entitled to the bus service can remain in the program until 6:00 p.m
Stephen Yang

They described opportunities to discuss the program as “rare” and said most questions went unanswered.

“It’s a shame they weren’t able to provide the resources needed and a long enough runway to successfully execute their plans,” it said.

The DOE said Wednesday the weekend email was intended to clarify existing protocols discussed with school leaders in the run-up to Tuesday’s first day of the program.

Students participate in the first day of Summer Rising
Principals at Summer Rising locations were “angry” over the last-minute correspondence.
Stephen Yang

“Summer Rising got off to a successful start because of months of planning, partnership and ongoing communication between school leaders, CBOs (Community Based Organizations), the DOE and DYCD (the Department of Youth and Community Development),” said Nathaniel Styer, a spokesman for the department .

“110,000 students have the opportunity for a safe, fun and engaging summer program because of this work,” he added, “and we are proud that the promise of Summer Rising is a promise kept.” NYC DOE accused of “poor planning” of summer program


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