Diving Deep in the Zone
Working with Everyone
(for people interested in authentic collaboration) 
by Anthony Lopez, Executive Director

In Danielle S. Allen’s book, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education, she makes the case for replacing seeds of distrust planted within the democratic citizenry after this historic legal decision, with the transformative power of a “citizenship of political friendship.” Democracy needs authentic and trustful discussion between and among strangers to melt away the divisions that block it.  So far in my work here in the Zone, the issues surrounding educational outcomes are still tinged with the interracial distrust of a by-gone era more so than that of immediate personal experience. When distrust shoots through citizenly relations, efforts or actions to address—let alone solve—collective problems always fail. 

At Zone 126, we see ourselves as the arbiter for building trust among the citizens living and working within the Zone. Yes, its messy and fraught with not so hidden agendas, but we are perfectly positioned to bring disparate groups of stakeholders together on behalf of future generations of citizens. At its best, our democracy is saturated with debate about who is doing what to whom, but has yet to free itself of a generational pattern of mutual disdain. It’s time we transform conditions of utility into experiences of goodwill and overcome the fossilized distrust among us. We started the dialogue at our last Cradle-to-Career Convening. Here are your responses:

  1.  Out of 40 participants, 36 people (90%) agreed that there are plenty of jobs, shops, and restaurants in the neighborhood, but people who work here cannot afford to live here.
  2. All 38 participants agreed that low/moderate income residents will be priced out of the neighborhood 
  3. Out of 37 participants, 35 people (94%) agreed that schools in the neighborhood need community support to educate our youth.  
                            

News from the Zone
Mentoring Success with Students
Jacob Blackwell 
Community School 111Q 
David* is a part of our Success Mentoring Initiative at CS 111Q. As a result of the mentoring program, David’s attendance has improved a total of 11% from last school year. Rain, snow or shine, David makes it to school, and that is why he is our Success Mentee of the month! 
Long Island City High School
Maurice* started the 2016-17 school year with 11 absences that showed he was present 31% in the month of September.  As a result of the intervention, Maurice's attendance percentage has increased by 29% and, he received positive feedback from his chemistry teacher. The teacher even said “I am very happy to see the change and I hope he continues to do well with the help of all the concerned staff.”
Although Maurice had a bumpy start, he is gradually making stride in his attendance and behavior considering the promise he made to himself that he would do better. 

Thank you to our Americorp members, Anita Williams and Ariana Salas, for a job well done at the Renewal Schools.
Holiday Celebration
Cradle to Career Children’s Concert
Principal Vivian A. Selenikas (LICHS), Principal Rebecca Heyward (PS17Q) and Principal Alex Angueria (IS126Q) made their vision of connecting the arts in the Zone a reality! In collaboration with Zone 126, Long Island City High School (LICHS) hosted its first Cradle to Career Children’s concert. On December 19th, 2016 over 200 students from across the Zone gathered at LICHS for a special performance. The line-up included several performances put together by the band and choir at Long Island City High School for the younger students at the feeder schools. 
Pipeline Update
 Vision Screening Is A Clear Win for Students
This December, Community School 111Q conducted free vision screenings for all students through a partnership with the City of New York and Warby Parker. Through this initiative, 258 students were screened and 71 students will receive a free pair of glasses. 
Long Island City High School Siblings Get Ready for College
Brandy*, is a 16-year-old junior at Long Island City High School (LICHS), was enrolled in the Let’s Get Ready (LGR) free SAT prep program this fall..."

Read Article
Astoria Rocks the Street, Wall Street that Is!
Rock The Street, Wall Street (RTSWS) is a financial literacy program for young women to learn the world of finance. It was first introduced in New York as a pilot program at Long Island City High School and due to its success was brought to William Cullen Bryant High School where a group of young women were given the opportunity to learn about finance and the myriad of possible careers over the course of four weeks. After the end of the program, the young women were taken on a field trip to NASDAQ to ring of the bell and were given a tour to see first hand how the world of finance works. After the tour, the girls were given the opportunity to hear from a group of panelists from TD Ameritrade about what it means to be a woman in the field of finance. When asked about the RTSWS program and their visit to NASDAQ many highlighted the impact the program had on them:

“I enjoyed the classes and the trip was a life changing experience. Getting to know the business industry so closely…” -Taylor *

“The program itself was very fun and I learned a lot about how I can save money. The trip was especially fun, I had a very good time and I’m glad that I was a part of this program”    - Ingrid*
                           

Neighborhood Champion
CS 111Q Custodian, Corey Rivera, is a Community Champion known for his ability to make staff and students smile. Raised in NYCHA Queensbridge , Corey attended CS 111Q when he was in elementary school. He has been giving back to the community and school for the past 16 years where he worked in the after school program and now works as the custodian. When asked about the community he said,  “I love working in the community. I can relate to the kids because I live in the same community.”

What We Are Reading

  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothestein

Happy Holidays from the Zone! 

*Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual 
We would like to thank all of our funders for all their help: Thomas & Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation, New York City Department of Education, Altman Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation and Staples Foundation.