Driving Community Transformation
Earlier this week, we jumped ahead into Daylight Savings Time! It is clear to me that spring is truly in the air and everyone in New York City has an extra pep in their step. Today, I find myself reminiscing about the last several years and all of the program launches we have had across the Zone and I am really proud of the many success Zone 126 has achieved over the past five years.

One of the key things that consistently emerges in Zone 126’s story is that: the work we do is not easy. All of the work and success that we have had could not have been possible without all of our Implementation Partners organizations, our schools, and our own staff. Our Implementation Partners are amazing experts at what they do, be it early childhood development, mental health services, arts education, college prep, or career readiness. It is their drive and determination to fulfill our collective mission to go deep in a neighborhood like Astoria/Long Island City and serve the community collectively that has our schools opening up their doors and welcoming our partners with open arms. Our Zone schools are more than just brick and mortar, they are also places where all children must go, and where parents and community members know learning happens. Our schools are places where caring adults can be found, and where grit and perseverance are strengthened. Our very own Zone 126 staff are committed individuals (aka #Zone126elves) who come to us from all walks of life, and through their unique personalities and skill sets, are able to connect with our partners, students, families, and schools to bring everyone together. Without them, we would not be where we are today.

As you read through our newsletter this month, I ask that if you are a long-time friend of Zone 126 … think about the growth we have made over the course of the last several years. If you are a new friend … then welcome! Your task is to think about how you can help contribute to our collective growth in the upcoming years.

Always in collaboration,

          Anju J. Rupchandani        
  Interim Executive Director 

Partners Collaborate for Parent Engagement


PS 112Q had a successful first program launch as NYU ParentCorps expands across the Zone, featuring evidence-based practices for promoting social, emotional and behavioral regulation skills. The Pre-K teachers, including Ms. Eoanidis, Ms. Rivera, Ms. Riesenfeld, Ms. Immello, and Ms. Galicia, implemented 14 weeks of lessons focused on students’ social and emotional development, nutrition, and healthy habits. The school’s guidance counselor, Ms. Manners collaborated with an average of 20 parents a session to help them develop skills to continue their children’s learning in the home. This month, PS 112Q will be launching the spring ParentCorps session, which will also include an after school arts program for siblings of the Pre-K students. 


City Harvest is returning to PS 234Q once again to connect with families through the Cooking Matters classes. The program allows parents and children the opportunity to be hands-on in the kitchen, learn from professional volunteer instructors, and share recipes with community residents. Along with this program, the parent alumni of last year’s class will be taking a shopping tour in the neighborhood of Astoria to find the best produce for great prices. With this great partnership, and many more the school community of PS 234Q is quite excited to be supported from cradle to college to career thanks to Zone 126.

TOP RIGHT: Parents at NYU ParentCorps sharing encouraging statements 
BOTTOM LEFT:  Michelle Boyd, NYU ParentCorps; PS 112Q Parent, Ms. Manners, PS 112 Guidance Counselor, Andre Stith, Zone 126
We're GROWing!
We are proud to introduce to you the newest members of the Zone 126 team!

Hailing from Prince George’s County, Maryland, minutes away from Washington DC, Yetunde has always been a New Yorker at heart. Spending her summers in New York growing up, Yetunde always dreamed of living and striving in New York City. As a result, after graduating from The Lincoln University; BS in Anthropology and Sociology, she moved to New York to serve with City Year New York in the South Bronx, and the Family Tree and Sandown Winchester Community through Public Allies Maryland. Returning to her native New York by adoption, Yetunde is currently enrolled at Pace University. Yetunde is a Community School Coordinator serving PS 171Q and IS 126Q.

Stephanie, a native Texan and current Astorian, brings diverse experience in local and international nonprofits. She received her B.A. in Sociology and a Master of Public Service & Administration from the Bush School at Texas A&M, with a focus on nonprofit administration and international development. Previously, she worked with Pro Mujer International in NYC, Victor’s Vision in Peru, and Metro Achievement Center in Chicago. Stephanie is currently a culinary student in Baking and Pastry Arts. She dreams of opening up a community-centered bakery to empower women and their families through job and management training and enrichment activities. Stephanie is excited to bring her passion for helping others to the community of Astoria and empower youth and families to positively transform their lives. Stephanie is a Community School Coordinator serving IS 204Q and William C. Bryant High School.

Ivette  was born and raised in the Lower East Side, growing in up in NYCHA housing there. She is currently enrolled in school studying Accounting. She has worked in almost every job you can think of: cashier, airport agent, bartender, paraprofessional etc. Ivette loves supporting a good cause such as ALS walk, Hug it Forward Foundation, #HashTagLunchBag. In her spare time, she likes to write poetry, and loves spoken word. Ivette's family is from the Dominican Republic and she has two special needs brothers who she loves and adores. Ivette is our Administrative Assistant, supporting the Zone 126 team across all our departments.
April Zone 126 Cradle to Career Convening:
Creating a Path College & Career Readiness

Zone 126 focuses on building the cradle-to-career pipeline for children and families in Astoria + Long Island City. This upcoming Cradle to Career Convening will spotlight the work happening in our school and through partner programs that is being done to prepare youth in high school for college and career. Join us at the Variety Boys & Girls Club on April 20, 2016!

Additional Reading:

  • Learning empathy through dancing: feature on Dancing Classrooms, program that will launch at CS 111Q! (The Atlantic)
  • One school teacher's experience seeing segregation in New York City public schools (Vox)
  • A Bronx high school uses hip hop as a counseling tool to reach students (The New York Times)
  • If you're curious about the day in the life of a Community School Director, Chalkbeat New York writes about a CSD at MS 50. 
  • #WeNeedNutritionEducation -- why poor children can't be picky eaters (The New York Times)
  • Astoria Pride: Learn about the passion behind the Ancient Astoria project (GiveMeAstoria
  • Hear our VP of Collective Impact Partnership's story here on Astoria Performing Arts Center!  
  • New report about the new generation of cross-sector collaborations and collective impact work in America (Wallace Foundation)
  • Community Word Project was highlighted for their amazing arts-enrichment programs at Zone school PS 17Q! (DNAinfo Queens)
  • Implementation Partner providing a summer program for students in the Zone is hiring for their team! Apply here.

Stay tuned for Zone 126 staff blogs! Here's our latest one from the Long Island City Q450 team on Zone partner Let's Get Ready!'s program launch & a field trip to the Cliffs at LIC.