Last week, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the New York City Council and the Partnership for New York City joined in awarding a total of $600,000 in grants designed to help six New York City public schools create and implement strategies that will tie certain health and social services directly to the schools’ students and their family members.
The six schools chosen as part of this program are P.S. 30, Manhattan; Community Health Academy of the Heights, Manhattan; P.S. 188, Brooklyn; Sunset Park High School, Brooklyn; P.S. 18, the Bronx; and Curtis High School, Staten Island.
Under the plan, providers like the Childrens Aid Society, Lutheran HealthCare and others will work with the schools to help turn them into community hubs where health and dental clinics, youth development activities, tutoring, counseling programs, health education programs and social services will take place. The schools were chosen in response to a request for proposals that the UFT issued in May. Funds will be used to help each school find local partners already providing such services and create strategies to link them directly to their students when possible by providing them in the school buildings.
The City Council and the UFT individually contributed $150,000 to the project, while the Partnership for New York City dropped $300,000 onto the metaphorical table.
“Our kids often have enormous barriers to learning that have little to do with their academic ability or their school’s instruction–chronic illnesses, family problems and other issues that schools by themselves are not equipped to deal with,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Our goal is to work with schools and organizations to integrate providers of these services into the daily life of our students and our schools.”
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was pleased with the money rewarded and expressed hope over the potential results.
“We are thrilled to work with such a diverse group of partners to implement this cradle-to-career model in every borough,” said Quinn. “The collective impact approach puts children where they belong: at the center of schools and communities, starting from early childhood and continuing through graduation and beyond.”
The initiative is based on a similar approach taken throughout the public school system in Cincinnati, Ohio. Under the Cincinnati model, schools are open day and night, with local businesses, nonprofits and city agencies pitching in to provide services and resources. Services range from health and dental clinics for students to translation services and computers for adults.