Puerto Rico Children

On Tuesday, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico leveling buildings, destroying roads and infrastructure, and causing a massive power outage across the island. Despite the conditions and wreckage, our dedicated and determined Head Start and Early Head Start staff won’t back down. They are visiting families, assessing damage and immediate needs, and doing everything they can to comfort and support not only the kids, but parents, family members and the entire community.

Education Conference

Guest Post by Steve Alschuler

When The Foundling launched its charter school, Haven Academy, more than a decade ago, it marked the beginning of an effort to understand the educational needs of children in foster care and to develop measurable, replicable strategies for meeting those needs. Simply put, ensuring the future well-being of these children must include providing them with an adequate education.

The Foundling’s education conference on November 19 – “Safeguarding Their Futures” –  further placed the education of children in the child welfare system front and center. For a full day, experts from around the country convened to describe their own efforts and to share information about effective programs and research from New York and around the United States.

Made possible with support from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, this may have been the first conference of its kind, and we hope it’s not the last. Collaborating and brainstorming with other professionals, reviewing data and learning about effective programs, is essential if we are to raise education on the agenda throughout our child welfare system.

Education Conference - David Hansell

David Hansell, ACS Commissioner

ACS Commissioner David Hansell kicked off the event and set the tone right from the outset. “Education,” he said, “is central to everything we do at ACS.”

We heard about several promising new programs from Jess Dannhauser, President and CEO or Graham Windham; Julie Farber, Deputy Commissioner of ACS; and our own Jessica Nauiokas, Head of School at Haven Academy. Janis Avery, CEO of Seattle-based nonprofit Treehouse, described her organization’s goal of raising graduation rates among children in foster care to match those of the general population.

Education Symposium - Maryanne Schretzman

Maryanne Schretzman, NYC Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence

Jennifer Pokempner, Senior Attorney for the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, described the current state of federal law. And we heard a fascinating presentation of research findings from a panel that included Mark Courtney of the University of Chicago, Vanessa Xiemenes Barrat of WestEd, Amy Dworsky of Chapin Hall, and Maryanne Schretzman of the NYC Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence.

Those of you who are familiar with The Foundling’s work in this area may already know how our educational programming has grown beyond Haven Academy, providing coaches to high school students and partnering with ACS and CUNY on The Dorm Project, supporting the education and life needs of youth from the foster care system as they attend college on CUNY campuses. These programs have proven extremely effective – putting many kids on a trajectory toward a successful life.

Still, these programs are small compared to the overall population. Most children in the child welfare system are attending public schools that, through no fault of their own, are ill-equipped to deal with their unique challenges.  Only 9% of foster youth in middle school in New York City are proficient in math. Only 25% graduate from high school on time. Many change schools multiple times over the course of a school year as their addresses change.

Clearly, there is much to be done and many challenges ahead. All of us must keep this conversation going, continue supporting and conducting research, sharing information and collaborating with each other. This conference was an important milestone and we are proud to have been part of it.

 


Interested in learning more? View the full video of the conference below:

 Read more about our Education Programs here.

Haven Academy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving came early at a Bronx charter school on Tuesday for more than 500 students — some of whom are homeless or in transitional housing.

The feast at Mott Haven Academy Charter School was part of an annual event that provides a traditional meal with all the trimmings for some of the neediest children in the South Bronx.

Read more at New York Post.

Youth Today Education Conference

Nine percent of foster youth who are in middle school in New York City are proficient in math compared to approximately 40% citywide. Only 25% of students in foster care graduate from high school on time compared to 45% citywide.

These were just a few of the numbers shared and discussed by education and foster care professionals from around the country at “Safeguarding Their Futures: Supporting the education of child-welfare involved children & youth,” a conference last week. They gathered at the New York Bar Association to share research and data gathering techniques and to brainstorm ways to collaborate across systems and agencies to make sure that youth in foster care get the education they need to succeed.

Watch the video and read more at Youth Today.

NY1 Noticias - Haven Academy

En la escuela Charter Mott Haven Academy de El Bronx, el 25 por ciento de los estudiantes no tienen un hogar. Es la primera escuela en toda la ciudad que está dedicada a jóvenes sin techo.

“Tenemos un equipo de trabajadores sociales que trabajan desde el principio, cuando los niños comienzan aquí en la escuela, para asegurar que tengan uniformes, que tengan comida, transportación, para que tengan las mismas experiencias que tienen otros niños que no vienen de la misma situación”, explico Sara Touma, directora de grados de 6to a 8vo de la Charter Mott Haven Academy.

Con esto, la escuela trata evitar los efectos negativos que sufren los niños al no tener un lugar donde vivir. Según las cifras más recientes del departamento de educación del Estado, uno de cada 10 estudiantes de la ciudad de Nueva York no tiene un hogar. Tienen que vivir en un albergue o temporalmente con un familiar.

Read more and watch the video at NY1 Noticias.

Male Role Model Day

Mott Haven Academy honored the important men in its students’ lives Thursday. The school kicked off its annual ” Bring Your Male Rode Model To School Day” with a fun photo shoot. At the event, students were seen with dads, grandpas, uncles and community leaders.

Some male teachers from the academy also got involved in the event. The school also hosted a panel discussion for the men. This created an open dialogue about their own role models. They were also able to share advice about everything from parenting to being an involved community member.

The day encouraged the men to build a support group with each other to continue these discussions outside of the school.

Read more and watch the video at News 12 Bronx.

Christina Young

Christina Young is one of a fraction of foster youth that make it all the way through to college graduation with a bachelor’s degree. Only 50% of foster youth graduate high school by the time they turn 18. Those that do graduate often do not fare well in college. Only 20% go on to post-secondary education. The numbers vary, but experts say that 1 to 11% finish their degree.

As a foster youth over 21, Young had been part of a pilot program called the Dorm Project. It offered a solution to one of the biggest problems facing foster youth: stable housing. It allowed Young and a few dozen other students to live in their dorm rooms all year. When other students went home for break or holidays, Young could stay in her room without having to navigate the complicated foster care system and worry about finding a new temporary home to live in until the semester went back into session.

Read and watch more at Youth Today.

Written by Foundling Guest Blogger, Christina, a Graduate of The Foundling’s Road to Success Program.

My recent semester at Johnson & Wales University was a memorable one, and getting ready to transition from a college Sophomore to a Junior is difficult, emotional, and exciting—all at the same time.

This past semester I began to meet with my academic advisors and they helped me plan the classes I will take over the next two years at school. It’s hard to believe that I’ve now completed two years…I’m halfway done with school, and it’s gone by fast.

Sophomore year was trickier compared to my Freshman year, which is what I expected, so it didn’t come as a surprise. My Abnormal Psychology course was quite intense, and required study time to keep up with the fast pace and new concepts. I was thankful for my Criminal Courts and Deviance classes, however. I learned so much in these hands-on courses, and even got to visit a juvenile facility!  I’m glad I was able to stay motivated, no matter how difficult a class may have gotten, or how difficult a professor may have been.

One thing I can say for certain: I remained focused on my goals and knowing that I completed two years! This has kept me excited for the rest of my college path, and the remaining classes I need to take towards my major in Criminal Justice.

The Foundling has stayed by my side for these past two years, and throughout my adolescence, and I know they continue to support me as I continue to grow and learn. I can’t wait to look back when I’m older at what I was able to accomplish, despite the challenges I had growing up in foster care. Today I have a great relationship with my foster family, and I’m in close contact with members of my biological family too—which is really special and important to me.

This summer is going to be really busy, and the work doesn’t stop. I am interning with The Foundling for a second summer, this time with the Human Resources Team as a Project Assistant (last year I interned with the Business Operations Team).  I can’t wait to learn about the different areas of recruitment, benefits administration, and other HR practices. These are skills I can bring back to campus at Johnson & Wales to continue my success.

 


The Foundling’s Road to Success program is a tutoring program especially for high school students who are in foster care. Watch this video story to learn more about Road to Success and how our wrap-around education services empower students to succeed in high school and beyond.

Written by Foundling Intern and Guest Blogger, Liam M.

 

As students at The New York Foundling’s charter school, Mott Haven Academy wrap up classes for the year, they are still taking the time to enjoy once of a lifetime opportunities, including field trips and activities to help them learn about teamwork, setting and achieving goals, and applying what they’ve learned in the classrooms to real-life experiences.

 

Here is a recent roundup of what our students ‘scholars’ have been able to achieve in recent weeks:

  • Middle school students were invited to watch the New York Jets take the field for a pre-season practice. Watching an NFL team run drills, sprints and other activities was a blast for the students as they got to see some of their favorite football players. Thank you to the New York Jets for providing our students with an unforgettable experience!

 

Kids Meeting the NY Jets

Students waiting eagerly to meet their favorite Jets players!

  • 5th graders went on an exciting field trip to Club Getaway in Connecticut to celebrate all of their achievements in the classroom over the past year. Throughout the day, the students were challenged with a multitude of entertaining activities and sports. This was a great bonding experience for the kids as they learned how to develop a sense of community with one another, and encouraged each other to overcome tough obstacles.  Mott Haven Academy would love to thank Club Getaway for providing the children with an exhilarating day in the outdoors.
  • 4th graders performed an impressive ballet recently which told the story of the American Revolution. The students prepared for weeks and learned the techniques and skills of ballet from experts at the Art of the Dance World Academy. Learning the art of ballet as they studied the American Revolution added an element of excitement and passion to the curriculum, tying together history and dance. Special thanks to the Art of the Dance World Academy for providing input and guidance on this incredible performance.

 

Ballet of American Revolution

4th graders performing their ballet of the American Revolution

  • Mott Haven Academy scholars visited the Met Opera House on the Upper West Side to watch a dress rehearsal of Whipped Cream performed by the American Ballet Theater. Prior to the event, students took advantage of a beautiful day and had a picnic lunch in Central Park. Thank you Met Opera House and the American Ballet Theater for providing the students with an entertaining and impactful day!

 

Lincoln Square Fountain with Kids

students at the Revson Fountain in Lincoln Square

  • Haven’s middle school students visited Governor’s Island to learn about farming! The students had an awesome and insightful day as they learned different techniques, skills and approaches to farming and agriculture. Mott Haven thanks the staff members at Governor’s island for teaching the students about farming!

 

Students taking in the atmosphere on Governor’s Island

Students taking in the atmosphere on Governor’s Island

As the 2018-2019 school year is coming to a close, The Foundling would like to applaud and celebrate the teachers, staff, and students at Mott Haven Academy for another successful year! For more updates, please visit Haven Academy’s Facebook page!

 

Written by Foundling Guest Blogger, Christina, a Graduate of The Foundling’s Road to Success Program.

 

Freshman year was definitely the year where you brace yourself for the following three years of college. Now that I am in my sophomore year, I feel ready to finish off the remaining years and earn my degree. I keep myself motivated by remembering that the end is going to be very beneficial. Yes, there is a load of school work—I must admit—but when you are determined, nothing is ever too much. This is the year for internships and connections in the criminal justice field, and I can’t wait to get started.

 

I’m beyond grateful that I’m enrolled in college because I am learning so much about myself about the world. This year has brought many different options and different views on life. I came into college determined to go into the FBI , and now that I am in my sophomore year, I see that there are more fields that interest me other than the FBI (for example a real estate attorney).

 

The best part about college is that you get to explore and change your mind as many times as you want until you find something that really fits you best!

 

I’m happy that The New York Foundling is by my side through it all, being there for me, whether I wanted to go into the FBI or become a doctor. Having support while in college is very crucial because many kids may not be as motivated when they don’t have someone there pushing them, or even just being there for them emotionally. I’m excited to finish the rest of this year and to start my junior year with a smarter and stronger mindset…because there is always room for improvement!

 

The Foundling’s Road to Success program is a tutoring program especially for high school students who are in foster care. Watch this video story to learn more about Road to Success and how our wrap-around education services empower students to succeed in high school and beyond.

 

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