How would you build a better school?
That’s the question the UFT and the other sponsoring groups asked school communities across the city for the second annual Build a Better School contest. The three winning schools were honored at a reception at union headquarters on Sept. 22.
The contest “allows school communities to say what will make things better,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the students, teachers and partners in attendance.
UFT Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools Sterling Roberson, who oversees the contest, said another goal is to “celebrate schools.”
Contestants were asked to submit a three-minute video explaining why their school is in need and the project they would undertake to improve it — if they had the funds.
The winners were selected based on need, the spirit of collaboration exhibited in their video and proposal, the creativity of the proposal and its potential to strengthen the school community. Each won $6,500 to put toward its proposal, a school-supply shopping spree, professional development for the school community and more.
PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, will use the money to repair and expand outdoor physical education facilities damaged during Hurricane Sandy, while PS 47 in the Bronx will put the funding toward creating a hydroponic garden and putting plants in every classroom, expanding on an already existing partnership with the New York Botanical Garden.
Students and teachers at Research and Service HS in Brooklyn plan to use their award to create a food pantry at the school to support their community and involve students in the fight against hunger.
“We’re just grateful to have the opportunity to show everyone what we’ve been lacking and what we need to make it a better environment for the students,” said PS 106 physical education teacher John Redden.
The other contest partners are the Municipal Credit Union, the Department of Education, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the City University of New York and the New York Daily News.