In honor of this week of learning, collaboration, and inspiration across School District 30, I’m delighted to share with you the very first Save for College Program School Partner Newsletter.
In this newsletter, you’ll find some of the many stories of how schools across the district are building, using, and integrating the Save for College Program. You’ll also find exciting updates about how other community partners and leaders are using the Save for College Program as a tool to promote their neighborhoods’ educational and economic success.
My team and I feel privileged to be working with you--the principals, parent coordinators, teachers, secretaries, and other key school staff across District 30--to build the Save for College Program together. We hope this quarterly newsletter can be another jumping-off point for collaboration in our Community of Practice to support every participating child's future.
Each quarter, the School Team Spotlight will feature stories from 1-2 school staff about how they are using the Save for College Program to engage their families and accomplish their goals.
"Why Did You Join the Save for College Program?" - Parent Conversations and Preparing for NYC Scholarship Week
By Jasmine Calderon, Parent Coordinator at VOICE Charter School
“Why did you choose to join the Save for College Program?”
This conversation-starting question allows me to assess parent intentions and steer the conversation to target what is most valuable to them. In the Save for College Program’s second year, NYC Kids RISE has made it easy to embed the program at VOICE. NYC Kids RISE provided the parent coordinators with the tools to create a yearly school plan, which not only taught me how to embed the programming, but also taught me how to create my own school events--increasing parent engagement at VOICE! Every month we have at least one event dedicated to the Save for College Program, including an upcoming NYC Scholarship Week event. [...]
Our Fantastic Building Block Party at PS 69 - Tips for School Teams
By Marina Mrazovic, Parent Coordinator at PS 69 Jackson Heights
In October, Ms. Mrazovic worked with colleagues to host a Building Block Party at her school. She wrote about it for the January Parent/Guardian Newsletter. Check out her article on the NYC Kids RISE blog.
Below are Ms. Mrazovic's tips for her fellow parent coordinators and school staff about how she and her colleagues made the event a success:
Using knowledge of the constituencies we serve, the teams from my school (PS 69), PS 212, and The Renaissance Charter School reached out to our respective communities in ways most effective for our schools to increase attendance at our Building Block Party. Here were some of our outreach tactics:
All three schools backpacked flyers on Thursday and again on Monday.
I sent an email to all the first grade and kindergarten teachers at PS 69 with details about the event and a request to remind parents to attend.
Ms. Flores (PS 212) sent out reminders to first grade and kindergarten parents using REMIND.
Ms. Rachel (Lead kindergarten teacher at Renaissance) also sent reminders to her families for the celebration.
The result was that 17 families attended the event--17 families who are now better informed about the program and can share its merits with other families.
Updates from the Save for College Community
Announcing the Community-Based Organization Partnerships Pilot Initiative
Last month, NYC Kids RISE launched a Community-Based Organization (CBO) Partnerships Pilot Initiative with seven CBOs across Western Queens. Over the next year, with the support of NYC Kids RISE and Hester Street, these seven organizations will develop and implement innovative projects that integrate the Save for College Program into their programming and services. These organizations are:
The Save for College Program is just one piece of an ecosystem in each neighborhood that impacts a child’s likelihood of attending and graduating from college and career training. That ecosystem includes the schools, which are the heart of every community. It also includes local organizations that provide financial counseling, employment training, college preparation and access programs, after-school programs, immigration legal support and advocacy, and other essential services for students and families. As a decentralized platform, the Save for College Program aims to support, reinforce, and become integrated within this broader ecosystem in each neighborhood.
Through this partnership, these seven organizations will integrate the Save for College Program into their work, leverage their subject matter expertise and local knowledge to inform the ongoing development of the program, and continue to find creative ways to build assets and expectations for college and career training in their neighborhood using the Save for College Program as a tool.
Look out for more information about these CBO partnerships as their projects get off the ground.
The Concert for College: A Community Black History Month Celebration
We are delighted to announce that The Concert for College raised $20,482.00 for the NYC Scholarship Accounts of students at PS 17, PS 76, PS 111, PS 171, PS 112, Growing Up Green Charter School, Our World Neighborhood Charter School, and VOICE Charter School!
Each kindergartner and first grader enrolled in the Save for College Program at those schools has received an additional $18.86 into their NYC Scholarship Account as their portion of this donation.
Thank you Bishop Taylor and the Center of Hope International, Reverend Mason and the the Community Church of Astoria, and all the community partners who contributed to make the evening such a special event.
Community Scholarships are a way for communities to leverage their unique neighborhood assets, institutions, and traditions to visibly and tangibly support their children’s educational futures. We look forward to announcing more Community Scholarships in the future and working with you all to identify new opportunities.
Seamless Change -> Money for College & Career!
During the month of February, NYC Kids RISE partnered with Seamless to allow every Seamless diner to round up their order to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to District 30's NYC Scholarship Accounts. This was the first citywide Community Scholarship partnership to bring together assets from across New York City and reinvest them toward children’s higher education.
Kindergarten and first grade families in every participating school will see a deposit from Seamless diners into their NYC Scholarship Accounts before the end of the school year! Stay tuned for an announcement in the next few months about how much money will be deposited into each account.
Let’s read about how some of your colleagues have made the Save for College Program their own...
Ms. Reyes, Parent Coordinator at PS 150, created her own DIY piggy-bank making activity for kids for a Building Block Party. While kids were occupied, their parents were able to get support in completing all three Building Blocks.
Principal Hwang and Parent Coordinator at PS 361 supported families in registering to view their NYC Scholarship Accounts and taking the survey. Ms. Cacioppo also recently opened her own college savings account for her children, and she often shares this with her families who are interesting in learning more about college savings accounts.
Ms. Rachel Beadle, Parent Coordinator at 277Q, purchased books using her support budget to give to participating students along with a letter to encourage families to take the next step with the Save for College Program and complete Building Block #1.
All the PS 70 kindergarten teachers presented about the Save for College Program financial education lessons and their connection to the NYC Scholarship Account to parents at a recent workshop, with the support of Parent Coordinator Ms. Hernandez and the curriculum extension guides developed by the Queens North Borough Office and partners.
PS 84 Principal Buffa and Parent Coordinator Ms. Andrea designed a Savings Tree that they showcase for families during workshops. The tree includes information about the Save for College Program, pictures from workshops, and a place for parents to showcase their pictures on how they’re saving for higher education.
PS 228 Pupil Accounting Secretary Ms. Angela Bitterhoff has implemented the Opt Out Process at her school and shared feedback with the Program team that has informed improvements to the process.
Want to share what you and your teams have done at your school to creatively integrate the Save for College Program? Reply to this email to submit a best practice for the next newsletter.
This quarter's one-question survey is...
Who in your life most influenced your educational and career path?
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s futures. It’s a scholarship and savings program designed to make college more accessible and achievable for all NYC public school students—regardless of their family’s income or immigration status. The Save for College Program is a tool that families, along with their schools and neighbors, can use and customize in the way that best fits into their lives and best supports their dreams for their children. NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit organization, manages the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York.