Diving Deep in the Zone
Way Finding in Long Island City's New Economy
by Anthony Lopez, Executive Director

Long Island City (LIC) and Astoria is experiencing unprecedented commercial real estate development that will produce new jobs beginning in 2018. Additionally, a coalition of public and private sector stakeholders has formed to promote a 21st Century transportation system along its waterfront. As these communities gentrify, low-income residents living in public housing and youth attending neighborhood schools must benefit from these changes and enjoy the workforce opportunities that the growing economy, especially in the tech sector, and transportation system will bring.

Long Island City High School (LICHS) is the neighborhood high school. With two current CTE-certified programs—Culinary Arts and Restaurant/Hotel Management, a third program in Sports Medicine pending State approval and a planned program in Global Informatics, LICHS is rightly positioned to prepare its young people for the new world of work. However, if these skills are only learnt in a classroom with outdated methodologies, the ability of students and graduates to perform in the 21st Century workforce will be hampered. More importantly, to ensure the issue of job placement is of vital importance. Consider the facts:

  • Long Island City is considered the newest mixed-use community in New York City

  • The emerging tech sector is pivoting LIC to become the east coast’s version of “Silicon Valley”

  • LIC and Astoria will see an increase in residents, tourist, workers along with several thousand square feet of retail

  • Technology is changing the way people do things and get things done

  • New jobs will not require advanced degrees, but critical thinking, problem solving, communications and computational skills

Zone 126 is taking a lead role in helping schools rethink skill-building that create early opportunities for school to career exploration and prepare youth for the next wave of automation. To get there, we need a complete system for accessing middle class jobs in the new economy and pathway to progress for homegrown talent.

Zone 126 is taking a lead role in helping schools rethink skill-building that create early opportunities for school to career exploration and prepare youth for the next wave of automation. To get there, we need a complete system for accessing middle class jobs in the new economy and pathway to progress for homegrown talent. Let us know what you think and join us to ensure that local schools and youth benefit from opportunities the new economy will bring. 

News from the Zone
Pipeline Update
Developing Parenting Skills to Promote Student Learning
by Claudia Esteva, Community School Director CS 111Q

NYU ParentCorps at CS 111Q is a family-centered, school-based program to help all young students develop foundational skills for learning. The program does so by engaging parents in their children's school and home life. NYU ParentCorps parent Anette described her overall experience of participating in NYU ParentCorps as “helpful and an learning experience”. She believed that she gained new skills to better work with her daughter. She was able to build a “better and more trusting relationship with her daughter” as well.

Anette’s highlights of the program include meeting new parents and sharing her parenting stories with others. She was able to relate to other parents and the challenges they were facing with their children. In addition, she learned strategies from other parents, and shared effective interventions that she utilizes with her daughter. Anette described the parents in the group as her “support system.”

The program has also had a positive impact on her daughter. Her daughter felt more confident because she realized her mom would no longer scold her but talk through the challenge and create solutions with her. This allowed their relationship to grow tremendously. Anette's willingness to spend more time with her daughter was another positive impact during the growth of their relationship. The program reinforced the importance of reading and engaging in other everyday academic-centric activities with one's child.

Her takeaway message from NYU ParentCorps which she would like to share with other parents is “Listen to your child and pay attention to your child’s behaviors. Sometimes your children speak to you without actually speaking.”

Sparking Interest In the Law During the Summer
by Yetunde Y. Olayinka, Community School Coordinator IS 126Q

For the past three years at IS 126Q, 8th grade students in social studies are introduced and recruited for the Legal Outreach program with an introductory mock trial. The trial begins with: “All please rise as the court is in session.” The students giggle and stand, then they are given a stranded-at-sea court case. Through this case, students are given the opportunity to debate and defend their options against their peers and convey their point to the judge.  

I sat down with Mr. Kokoronis, 8th grade Social Studies Teacher, and learned Legal Outreach is an engaging and supportive summer program which focuses on advancing student’s personal and professional skills such as public speaking, debating, and creative writing preparing them for high school. As well as laying a foundation for these students, providing them with early career experience and exposure as they work with attorneys and judges, they attend sessions at CUNY School of Law and conduct mock trials.

For Mr. Kokoronis, Legal Outreach is a valuable opportunity for IS 126Q students. As a result, he is willing to support students who apply to the program, helping to writing letters of recommendations and offering his classroom for the introductory mock trial for the program. Legal Outreach motivates students to focus on their future and careers, paving a pathway for them to follow towards a successful career.

Let's Get Ready... for College A Year Later
by Michelle Makabali, Community School Director, Long Island City High School
Above: Michelle Makabali with Jane Rivers*, LICHS graduate and former Let's Get Ready student

Our Let's Get Ready! SAT Prep Pilot Cohort graduated on June 28. I journey back to when this program was in its concept stage. I am fortunate to be part of their milestone. From the Let's Get Ready! Executive Director speaking to the Community School Team about his proposal, to actually rolling up our sleeves speaking to students one-on-one about the program, I reflect and realize the huge impact this opportunity has had on our students.

Our 64-student cohort emphasized that Long Island City High School is ready to bring college and career readiness to life for free. This program was more than an SAT Prep Program, this was more than sitting in evening classes for 9 weeks, more than the actual exam. This program set high expectations and an experience that shifted the mindset of our young people to letting them know that this opportunity does truly exist for them. One of our graduating seniors reminded me about how daunting it was to even talk about college but to then have a real-life on campus experience visiting SUNY Stony Brook. 

Regardless of where they choose to attend, our young adults are leaving with a tool kit about what post-secondary options are and what they need to do to thrive in that environment. 

It has been a wonderful experience to see the students become more savvy with the FAFSA lingo, self-regulating themselves about their attendance to classes, advocating for their own needs, and speaking to their younger peers about what life looks like as a senior. 

There is no perfect recipe for College and Career readiness, however I know firsthand this program works and the Zone 126 team will keep working word to making this a premier program for the future. 

Camp Herrlich: The Delgado's
by Andre Stith, Organizing Director

Camp Herrlich is a longstanding partnership in collaboration with Zone 126 through the generous support of the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation. Camp Herrlich is a summer program designed to provide youth throughout New York City with an opportunity to make new friends, have fun, and develop a sense of cooperation and independence at a sleepaway setting in Patterson, New York.  

The campsite is located on 156 acres of land with lakes, streams, courts and forests filled with hiking trails.

Camp Herrlich is a chance for our scholars in the inner city to experience something a little different from the norm of a typical NY summer. One family that has experienced the joy of camping is the Delgado family of Astoria. Twins Daniel and Gabriela have become repeat campers. They play an integral role each year at the Camp Herrlich Kickoff as they connect with new campers to let them know what to expect when they arrive. 

Mom, Maria Lopez expressed her joy with the program explaining, “It’s one of the best things that ever happened to my children. They can hardly wait for the beginning of camp each year." Her husband shares the same sentiment. When asked how he felt, Daniel said, “It is a fun experience and I love the lake activities more than anything”. Gabriela chimed in by saying, “I love everything about it from the counselors to all the activities: horseback riding, zip lines, archery, the movies, and music classes.” We are looking forward to hearing more of Daniel and Gabriela's Camp Herrlich stories and having more students become repeat campers.

What We Are Reading

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari

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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.
  *Some  names  and identifying details  have   been   changed  to protect the privacy of the individual