Around the UFT

UFT community learning schools showcase

Sharing best practices

Miller Photography Karen Alford, the UFT vice president for elementary schools, leads a discussion for CLS educators, parents and school leaders.
Miller Photography During the small group discussions at each table, Julia Komito, a speech teacher, and Ramon Lopez, the community school director, both of PS 196 in Brooklyn, review their school’s work on partnerships.

For Miriam Familia-Roa, a librarian and the chapter leader at PS 192, a community learning school in Manhattan, the UFT’s community learning schools showcase was a great opportunity to learn from those more experienced in the community schools model. Held at the Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH) in upper Manhattan on March 27, the showcase gave 55 educators, parents, board members and administrators from all the UFT’s 29 community learning schools the opportunity to tour CHAH and participate in small-group discussions about the development of partnerships with community-based organizations at their own schools. “We wanted to inspire and encourage our newer schools and also create a learning community where our school staffs can share best practices,” said Christine Schuch, the executive director of the Community Learning Schools Initiative. CHAH has been part of the initiative since its inception in 2012 and has excelled at creating partnerships and a flourishing school environment. “We just became part of the initiative this year, so we are new,” Familia-Roa said. She saw a lot that wowed her and that she hopes will be a road map for her school. The layout of CHAH’s building and its many services impressed her, but what really caught her attention was how engaged students were in the classes she observed. “It was wonderful to see the rigor of the classes and the enthusiasm of the students,” Familia-Roa said. Rudine Wright, a chapter leader and 2nd-grade teacher at PS 30 in Harlem, was also impressed. “They are really making a difference. I can see how a vision can manifest itself in a way that helps you help your community,” she said. Wright loved CHAH’s parent room for outreach and hopes to bring more hands-on parent engagement to her school “to help parents realize the impact they have on their children’s education.” 

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