From the Principal’s Desk
Rosa Arrendondo, PS 128, Manhattan
What does it take to improve academic achievement in New York City’s public schools? As more and more educators are learning, building effective private sector partnerships is key to helping students reach their full academic potential.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of the positive impact that private sector partnerships can have on student achievement can be found at PS 128, a K-5 elementary school in Washington Heights.
This month, for example, PS 128’s third and fifth grade students, along with thousands of other NYC elementary school students, will sit for NYC’s Citywide English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests. The exams are a closely-watched gauge of academic achievement, not to mention a barometer of the success of Mayor Bloomberg’s educational agenda.
At PS 128, it is very possible that 2006 will bring higher test scores than 2005. The reason: PS 128 has entered into a three-year partnership with supplementary education publisher and technology solutions provider, WRC Media, whereby the school will receive $100,000 in cutting-edge educational materials developed to enhance students’ proficiency in subjects including English language and math. The comprehensive package of research-based curricula and instructional materials will be especially valuable in raising English language proficiency, as more than 90 percent of PS 128 students live in homes where English is not the primary language spoken.
PS 128 has also partnered with Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and Children’s Hospital of New York– Presbyterian to give many of the school’s most challenged students—some grossly overweight, some aggressive and prone to violence—an opportunity to participate in an extraordinary school program. The holistic program blends nutrition, physical activity, tutoring, mental health counseling, education and parent/teacher involvement. The program has been a tremendous success as kids are learning to eat better, to draw more out of exercise and to play sports. They are attending health fairs, practicing yoga and enrolling in aerobics classes. In the process, they are being taught to behave and to socialize more easily.
These are just two examples of how PS 128 is working with the private sector to make a meaningful difference in the way students learn. I am available to discuss the above partnerships and to share my points of view on the important role that partnerships such as these play in creating more effective public schools.#