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United Community Schools’ partner expo

‘Instrumental in our success’

New York Teacher
Members share a laugh at the information table at the UCS partner expo.
Cara Metz

Checking out the Tower Garden display are Bronx teachers (from left) Cindy Lomonaco of PS 83, Carly Ayala of PS 14 and Mia Martinez of PS 18.

Forty youth organizations packed Shanker Hall at UFT headquarters in Manhattan on Jan. 30 for the United Community Schools’ second annual partner expo. The organizations, whose focus areas include gardening, art and social-emotional learning, work with the UFT’s community schools program, which brings wraparound services to 31 high-needs schools in New York City and one school in Albany. The partners are “instrumental in our success achieving good academic student outcomes and social and emotional wellness,” said UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford, who spearheaded United Community Schools. Twenty-five to 30 partners are active in each school. Teachers in the program, including Michelle Miller of PS 335 in Brooklyn, notice the benefits of the partnerships. “They’re cool incentives for kids to come to school,” said Miller. She said she loved having many “different approaches to helping kids. To give kids what they need, we need to raise them as a village.”