What's new at NYC schools this year

The 2016-2017 school year began Thursday for the 1.1 million students in the New York City public school system.

Speaking to FOX 5 NY outside I.S. 92 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, mother, grandmother and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said this year was going to be different, starting with the further development of the 'Equity and Excellence Program.'

"We want all students to have the same opportunities no matter their zip code: best teachers and fabulous principals," said Farina.

Among the new initiatives, there are four more gifted and talented programs across the city. Along with that, comes a partnership with the NY Historical Society and Hunter College to train educators to better teach gifted students.

Regardless of talent level, the goal is to have all children able to read by the end of second grade.

Starting in the sixth grade, there will be a social worker or guidance counselor available to all students to help get them college ready.

With the graduation rate at above 70 percent, Farina said the city can do better.

The Dept. of Education is planning to increase Advanced Placement courses and encourage visits to college campuses.

“The first day of school is my favorite of the year. Everything is possible. It is all about optimism and hope,” said Farina.