By SARAH HUFFMAN
Nearly two out of three children affected by systemic poverty cannot read at the school level, according to Literacy Incorporated (LINC), a New York-based nonprofit organization focused on early childhood literacy. The organization said children who cannot make the transition from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ in third grade are 13 times more likely to not graduate from high school on time.
Children’s literacy, as well as resources for youth, schools and libraries were the main topics of discussion at last month’s Bronx Community Board 7 education committee meeting, held on February 2, and the first of the year to be chaired by Leurys Acosta, the new chairman of the committee.
During a presentation to the board, Gladys Gomez, a LINC representative, said, “Our mission is to engage families and community members in supporting our youngest readers, from birth to age five. , and we’re currently in eight New York City neighborhoods. Gomez said, adding that CLIC teams were based in each of the city’s five boroughs.
According to CLIC, illiteracy has an impact on children’s ability to access better health, education and economic opportunities. In the United States, the organization estimates that 43% of the least literate adults live in poverty. They say low literacy rates also cost the US economy $225 billion a year in lost productivity. LINC promotes investing in literacy as a way out of poverty, with representatives saying, “It’s both the smart solution and the right thing to do!”
The group holds regular workshops for parents on literacy and education so that parents can help their children prepare for school. During the meeting, Gomez provided an overview of LINC’s major programs, including the “highly involved parent” or VIP volunteer program, a book distribution program, a read everywhere program, and the “lit zone” program. The latter involves partnerships with local businesses where boxes full of free books are available for community members to take home for their children.
Gomez said LINC is also accepting book donations for their lighted areas at their Bronx locations. In Fordham, these are the Bronx Library Center (BLC) at 310 E Kingsbridge Road, Saint Barnabas Hospital WIC offices at 260 East 188th Street, 2021 Grand Concourse and 4507 3rd Avenue, Twin Park West at 365 Ford Street and Niño of the Caridad Foundation at 578 E Fordham Road.
In Kingsbridge, these are United Pharmacy at 5539 Broadway, Marble Hill Senior Citizen Center at 5365 Broadway and W TwoThirty Laundry Services at 215 West 230th Street. All CLIC programs are free and, as of mid-February, were taking place virtually. For more information, residents are encouraged to visit lincnyc.org.
Later in the meeting, Pam Cora, chief librarian at the Bronx Library Center, the borough’s largest public library, located at 310 E Kingsbridge Road in Fordham Manor, provided updates on activities and resources from the library. She said in-person programming was on hold but was expected to return in mid-February.
Cora added that BLC is also hosting a small-scale exhibit called the “Micro Museum of Care” for a month, which explores the future of care work through the voices of healthcare workers. She also highlighted the availability of STEAM from the New York Public Library. [Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics] kits for children, which can be accessed for three weeks at a time with a library card.
Last September, as noted, NYPL announced a range of new programs for the fall season, including the STEAM program. Students have access to five different types of STEAM kits: Engineering, Stargazing, Young Coders, and Young Builders. In addition, ten branches of the library offer Sphero robotic kits.
Used in conjunction with books from the library and resources from home, the kits help students develop their skills in STEAM topics and support creative, scientific and collaborative thinking. “There are different types of gadgets, gizmos, technology that make it really fun and exciting for kids to learn about STEAM collaboratively with their siblings or family while they’re at home,” Cora said. .
BLC is also hosting tax preparation classes in partnership with Ariva on Friday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. To qualify for the program, the income limit for a single person must be $32,000 per year and the income limit with dependents must be $56,000.
Meanwhile, Cora said the College and Career Pathway Program (CCP) provides parents and students with information about the college application process. CB7 member Chad Royer asked about SAT prep help, and Cora said SAT materials are also available in the library and that CCP occasionally hosts prep programs.
Acosta asked if the library was still hosting story time for children, and Cora confirmed that the sessions were virtual but would return to an in-person format in the future, as would the Children’s Aid Program after the school. “It was very, very busy before our hiatus on in-person programming, and we expect it to be just as busy once we restore in-person programming,” Cora said. As noted, an after-school program is also available at the Mosholu branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL).
Isha Taylor, Community Education Council (CEC) District 10 President, then introduced herself and provided an overview of the CEC’s history and resources. “This term, we decided we wanted to empower students, educate families, and unite our individual school and local external communities,” she said.
Taylor said there are 36 CEC councils in New York City, with 32 district councils and four citywide councils. District 10, in which Norwood is located, has 62 schools in total with 55 K-6 schools, two 6-12 schools, and five pre-kindergarten centers.
“Our priorities for this 2021-2023 mandate [are] to, once again, empower students by ensuring that every student in District 10 receives a high-quality, culturally relevant, responsive, and sustainable education,” Taylor said. She said the council wants to ensure that families are properly informed and empowered, that they understand the program and can make informed decisions that benefit their children and the surrounding community.
A meeting participant named Leteisha raised the issue of more families coming into the district when schools in the district are already overcrowded. Taylor acknowledged that 38 of the 62 schools in District 10 have more than 100% capacity. She said she was learning about plans to open new schools in the district.
Ischia Bravo, Bronx CB7 district manager, agreed that local schools were heavily overcrowded. “The point tonight was kind of to bridge the fact that we’re all doing the same thing, separately, and we have to make sure we come together to stand up for the same things,” Bravo said of the question.
Both Leteisha and Royer asked Taylor about resources for special education students. Taylor shared links to resources, adding that she doesn’t understand why children with special needs have to travel to District 75 to have their needs met. She said she plans to have a meeting with the District 75 council and the district planning office to open new seats in some District 10 schools for families in special education.
Later in the meeting, Joy Knight, Second Vice President and Scholarship Chair for the Bronx Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, shared information about their 2022 scholarship application program. scholarships are open to high school seniors in the Bronx who have a grade point average of B or better, who will be full-time students taking a four-year college course this fall.
Knight said an $8,000 scholarship is available, awarded in $1,000 increments per semester, as well as numerous one-time grants for students. She said the organization awarded more than $29,500 in grants and scholarships to students last year.
Naqi Cruz, a representative of the Civil Complaints Review Board (CCRB), which, as noted, investigates allegations of misconduct by NYPD officers, then gave information about the CCRB’s “Know Your Rights” workshops. regarding encounters with the police, which he said should keep everyone safe and hold both parties accountable. “We’re here just trying to push this line of education,” he said.
Norwood News recently reported that the CCRB is recommending disciplinary action for 65 police officers accused of misconduct during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. We also reported that in February 2021, the CCRB approved new rules for investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and misrepresentation by the NYPD. In January 2021, as noted, the CCRB held a special meeting to discuss the agency’s disciplinary matrix.
Local Bedford Park resident Sirio Guerino, whose child attends Bronx Collaborative High School, located on the DeWitt Clinton campus, said the school once had a student pool for gym and other activities, and don’t use it anymore. He said he wanted to look into why it wasn’t usable and see if that could be changed.
As part of the discussion, Hugo Gonzalez said the Bronx High School of Science does not have a pool on site but has an agreement with Lehman College to use it. their swimming pool and suggested it could also be an option for Bronx Collaborative High School.
Finally, Tasha Andrews gave a presentation on the local Buccaneers football team which trains at the Williamsbridge Oval. She said that the group takes all children who want to play football from 6 to 14 years old. The group meets on Saturdays at 11 a.m. for two hours.
More details about NYPL’s after-school program can be found at:
More details on NYPL’s STEAM program can be found at:
*Síle Moloney contributed to this story.