TROY, N.Y.—-It's a brand new school year for School Two in Troy, with a brand new look for students.
Thursday, almost 300 elementary students were dressed in purple and gold, a new uniform for the public school.
School Two in Troy is the only elementary school in the district with students wearing uniforms.
The state has labeled school two as a school in need of improvement and awarded grant money as a result.
The principal says the uniforms are just one of the many steps to becoming better.
“The main goal was to level the playing field,” says kindergarten coach Carolyn Borkowski. “They're all coming in same, they all look the same, they all feel a sense of community,”
Borkowski says the uniforms also take a burden off parents.
“A majority of our students receive free or reduced lunches, so buying clothes for children can be economically strapping for parents. It's a big cost, so I think providing the uniforms for them alleviated the pressure a little bit and the parents really appreciate it.”
Borkowski says one of the best things about the new uniforms is that they are 100 percent free, donated by Durham School Services, the bus company the Troy city school district uses.
“Each child in the district received two polo shirts, two pairs of pants, a sweatshirt and sweatpants,” says Borkowski. “So they were all at least given something to start with.”
“The uniform policy in a public school is not new, it's new to the Capital Region,” adds Principal Jason Goldner.
Goldner is beginning his first year at school two.
He enters the year with many challenges ahead. One goal is improving students' test scores in english language arts and math.
Goldner says the uniform is a great place to start.
“It really encourages students to improve performance, behavior and self-esteem,” he says. “It eliminates competition for labels and gives an overall look to the building and a sense of pride. There are perceptions that are just not true. There are good families that live here in this community, there are smart children who live here in this community and everyone has to start from somewhere.”