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New York City Public Schools Chancellor Visits the Path Program


The NYU Institute of Human Development and Social Change’s Path Program partnership reached another milestone on Monday, January 22, 2024, when New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) Chancellor, David C. Banks, made a special visit to observe the NYCPS Specialized Program at I.S. 219 New Venture School. 

Chancellor, David C. Banks, converses with Michelle Flemen-tung, Director of the NYU Path Program Support Team, and Brie Walker, Middle School Inclusion Coach with the Path program.

Located in the Bronx, I.S. 219 is currently piloting the Path Program and is the first middle school in the nation’s largest school system to offer the program to its students. The pilot is supported by The Fund for Public Schools, which raises private support for NYC's public schools.

Commenting on Path’s progress and his commitment to the program, Chancellor Banks said, “Being mediocre is not okay if greatness is your destiny. And so, we should always be pushing for greatness, because when we are great, look at all the possibilities of what happens for our kids. So, I’m going to do everything I can ... I’m inspired by what I saw and heard.”

In 2022, the Path Program was included in the Chancellor’s $205 million plan to improve special education. Based on the NYU Metro Center’s ASD Nest Support Project model, Path strives to disrupt the historical segregation of Black and Brown students in restrictive special education settings and promote the inclusion of students with emotional disabilities within community schools. Core elements of the program include a small class size, two full-time classroom teachers, in-class and out-of-class support from a social worker and occupational therapist, and collaborative partnership among families and school staff. Path Program classrooms are grounded in principles of culturally responsive and strengths-based education and evidence-informed practices including positive behavior and self-regulation support, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed care. Apart from I.S. 219, the Path Program is offered at six elementary schools within the NYC public school system.

During his visit, Chancellor Banks further added, “The reason I was asked to come here was what’s happening in a class like that should be an example to the rest of the school system .... Every time I go somewhere I always look at it through the lens of what can I learn from here that I can try to help the entire school system. And I’ve learned a number of things here, so we have more work to do.”

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