Driving Community Transformation

Zone 126 is proud to present   Driving Community Transformation , a bi-monthly feature on the work we are a part of in zip codes 11101, 1110 2, and 1110 6
Next week is Zone 126's first  GradNation Community Summit. A year has flown by since our decision to host. There is much to celebrate this year, yet it is clear that so much more has to be done. In 2015-2016, the first full school year of providing programs at all ten of our partner schools, more than  1,800 children and parents will be served by more than 20 Zone 126 Implementation Partners ; an increase of 43% over 2014. As indicated in our latest Progress Report , the following changes in academic performance transpired for the Zone 126 2013/2014 Program Cohort:
  • Students in Zone 126 programs performed better than comparable students in Zone schools in terms of school attendance rates; and ELA, Mathematics, and 4th Grade Science exam scores
  • Students in Zone 126 programs performed better than comparable students in New York City public schools in terms of school attendance rates; Mathematics and 4th Grade Science exam scores
  • Students in Zone 126 programs performed worse than comparable students in Zone schools and New York City public schools on the 8th Grade Science exam and High School Regents exams.
The findings are encouraging for Zone elementary students and our next steps are clear:  to scale up programs and services to serve more students. However, it is not surprising that our middle and high school students need more support.  A staggering 84.3% of our testing grade (grades 3 and above) students are not on grade level. In 2014, only 55% of Black students and 60% of Hispanic students achieved 4 year graduation in Zone high schools, compared to 74% of Asian students and 70% of White students. English Language Learners and Special Needs students fared even worse -- at 21% and 35%, respectively. 
For many years, we have witnessed how programs and services have had a positive impact for children and families. There has been progress, but the reality is that it is not significant enough to produce the large-scale change we need. The change Zone 126 wants is to have every child graduate from high school prepared for post secondary education and successfully enter the workforce equipped with the skills needed to thrive. 

As a backbone organization building Cradle to Career Community Schools, we understand that intentional collaboration is needed to transform our community. I am thrilled that we are expecting 300 participants at our GradNation Summit. At the Summit, participants will be exposed to ideas and best practices and inspired to action. My wish is that all participants walk away with a commitment to intentional collaboration that is rooted in shared goals, shared data, and feedback loops to inform continuous improvement. 
"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action." 
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

I look forward to seeing you all next week! 
New Program Spotlight!
New among Zone programs this fall is Rock the Street, Wall Street, a nonprofit offered in community centers and schools in Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, and New York City that aims to empower girls and young women with financial literacy. Rock the Street, Wall Street hopes to break the cycle of multi-generational financial naiveté so that girls have a better chance at improving their lives, their households, their communities, and the financial services industry. With the generous support of the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation, Rock the Street, Wall Street has partnered with Zone 126 to have a four-week financial literacy session with a cohort of girls at Community School Long Island City High School

One of the LICHS students currently participating in Rock the Street, Wall Street is Anahi, a 9th grader who also participated in the Zone 126/ Legal Outreach summer program. Her favorite subject is English, particularly writing and is in the culinary arts -- hospitality management track offered by LICHS. Anahi often sees that her classmates give up early when they do poorly in classes, or choose to follow the advice of their friends rather than teachers or parents. Anahi wants to see college as an option for her future, despite worrying about the financial costs it will bring. She says, "it's not like if you don't go to college you won't have a future, but [it might not be] as good as you want it to be. Knowing that it's not a joke anymore makes me want to be hardworking." 

Anahi credits her mom as the most important role model in her life, motivated by how her mother put their family before her own needs, and exemplifies confidence and encouragement that Anahi doesn't always have. Additionally, she values her teachers that challenge her to excel when she is falling behind because they see her potential and her relationship with Zone 126 Community School Director Michelle Makabali, who she sees as a friend and someone she can rely on. It takes individuals such as Community School Directors and Coordinators, Implementation Partner programs, teacher development and support, and family engagement to develop our students, whether they are in elementary, middle, or high school, and beyond. Through a collective impact led by Zone 126, partner organizations and our community schools can create a culture of shared responsibility for student success that will lead to improved student achievement, increased parent involvement, and a healthier community.
Rock the Street, Wall Street students will conclude their four week curriculum with a field trip to Morgan Stanley. The girls will have the opportunity to see successful women at work in the "M" of STEM, ask candid questions, and visualize their own financial career paths.
Toast the Host! An Evening with Zone 126

You are invited to spend an exclusive evening with Zone 126 in the Chelsea Room overlooking the Hudson River at the Citi ICG Conference Center after the Summit. 


Join us for wine, hors d'oeuvres, and the opportunity to get to know the Zone and honor those who make Astoria and Long Island City great.


All proceeds will be used to support the activities of Zone 126, a project of the Fund for the City of New York  

LIC Partnership Annual B2B  Trade Show and Luncheon 
The Long Island City Partnership's (LICP) marquee event of the year-the Annual #LICB2B Trade Show & Luncheon-is the premier business-to-business trade show in Western Queens, featuring more than 100 exhibitors, local tastemakers and thousands of attendees. On Nov. 13, the event will take place at Astoria World Manor from 9am-2pm, showcasing the fabric of LIC with exhibitions from a wide range of industries, from food and beverage, to arts and education, to real estate and technology.
The Luncheon portion of the event will host more than 350 prominent business, government and community leaders for an awards ceremony honoring Jamestown, L.P. for their creative vision for LIC's Falchi Building, and the LIC YMCA will receive this year's William D. Modell Community Service Award.

To learn more and to register, visit licpartnership.org/tradeshow or call 718-786-5300. Discounts are available for LICP Members, Non-Profits, and Food & Beverage Purveyors. To become a sponsor, email jpetok@licpartnership.org.
What We're Reading
  • College 
    • High school diplomas are often not an indicator for college and career readiness [Education Week]
    • Thinking beyond the traditional high school drop out model [Education Dive
    • Chart of which top colleges are doing most for low-income students [Upshot/New York Times]
  • The Classroom
    • Keeping black men in the front of the class [NPR
  • Community Schools
    • When neighborhood schools gentrify, why aren't their public schools improving [The Atlantic]
    • What we lose when a neighborhood school goes away? [NPR]
    • Feature on how community schools in Baltimore are serving families and the community [Baltimore Sun]