The new Hempstead Union Free School District Board of Education announced its “blueprint for the future of education” after Hempstead Village Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. swore the board members in on Monday.
Community leaders gathered at Hempstead Village Hall to hear Board President Olga Brown-Young, Vice President Victor Pratt, Trustee Patricia McNeill, and Superintendent Regina Armstrong reveal their plan to integrate the leadership of the Hempstead Union Free School District with that of the local government for the Village of Hempstead.
“Usually there’s a separation of village and school district, but that hasn’t worked for us for the past 20 years,” said New York State Assemblywoman Taylor Darling (D-Hempstead).
“I understand how important it is for our school district and our village to work together,” Hobbs said. “For so long, we have said that they’re two different entities. But, if we have a successful school district, we have a successful village.”
The school district has been named “Most Improved in the State” by the State Education Department after the 2020 high school graduation rate rose from one of the lowest in the nation to a recent high of 81 percent.
“We’re coming up with programs where we can change the narrative in the Village of Hempstead — where it’s no longer from the pipeline to the jailhouse,” Hobbs said. “But we want to come up with programs that are gonna have the opportunity for our young people to be professionals, be productive in our community, and have [the] opportunity to give back to the Village of Hempstead. Hempstead has too many success stories for us to continue to allow the negative narrative to make more noise.”
Superintendent Armstrong said it is all about the students.
“We have work to do, because there are some students that we are leaving behind,” she said. “And it’s our goal to ensure that no student is left behind. So as we move forward into this school year, we’re going to be focused on more programs that are designed to ensure those students have those pathways that they need for graduation … making certain that we have the resources in the classrooms to close that learning gap.”