Notice on After-School Program for 2019 - 2020
Dear RBS Community:
This is the notification from the P.S. 125—The Ralph Bunche School administration to the families and faculty regarding our relationship with After-School All Stars New York (ASAS). Following the efficient and successful selection of After-School All Stars New York led by the efforts of our parent/caregiver leaders, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the parent/caregiver leaders for their exceptional service identifying After-School All Stars New York as our after-school provider. Their dedication has always been about providing better services and programs for all kids.
We were directed by After-School All Stars New York during their presentation on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 that “We are thrilled to be moving this partnership forward with you and learned so much from our conversations today. We truly appreciate your lens, hard work and commitment to youth.” The issue of operating costs and fees to families has always been a topic of discussion. It was discussed at the meeting with families and faculty that the program was more than likely going to be 80% free at no-cost because the ASAS team felt they could identify resources to operate their program. During this time, the school’s administration learned from Boys and Girls Club of Harlem that an Advantage grant opportunity existed and they encouraged that we explore this opportunity with the ASAS team. Later, I shared the details of the Advantage grant with the executive director of ASAS and the school signed off on a memorandum of understanding with them regarding our relationship. On the last day of school our understanding was that ASAS would be our after-school provider for 2019 – 2020.
In early July we learned that the executive director we had been working with left the ASAS organization and the parent/caregiver leaders that led the initial effort generated questions being asked from families about application distribution, payment/fees, start/end dates etc… I requested a meeting and met with the interim executive director to discuss what families were asking and to get a sense of where were in the process. The interim executive director was not aware of the previous commitments made by her predecessor and didn’t understand what had been promised to the school community. Moreover, she was clear that without the Advantage grant being awarded to ASAS that they would not be able to operate a program at the RBS this year. The ASAS organization does not have ability to run an after-school program at the RBS because to operate a quality program would cost between $150K - $200K.
A meeting was held with the ASAS interim executive director, program director, site director, administration and co-presidents of the parents association about different options that might serve the needs of the community. Unfortunately, these options are based on a shared understanding that the program would be a fee-based program which would limit access and opportunity for many families. Furthermore, it was an outrage that ASAS was only now communicating this information with the school year about to begin and forcing the school to seek out alternative after-school program options for families. When I left the meeting I understood clearly that a relationship with ASAS is not possible because they were reliant on the Advantage grant. Since the information about the awardees of the Advantage grant haven’t been released, ASAS was not willing to begin a partnership for a program at no-cost.
I deliberated for a long time about what we needed to do for our families having an after-school program option. I went and advocated to the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem team about my situation. Dominique Jones, Executive Director was very understanding and empathetic about what has transpired between the school and ASAS. However, she stated that because we decided that we no longer wanted to work with BGCH that no monies were allocated in her budget for a program at our school. As well as, she would have to be granted permission from her board of directors to begin working with us again in a different capacity because of issues/concerns that took place in the previous years. Dominique stated that there would have to be a structure put in place where she had a guarantee from the school that our relationship would be formalized in the form of a memorandum of understanding. Also, she requested that a structure be created where a liaison at the school would interface with the BGCH team. Her board of directors felt that she spent a lot of time at the school meeting with families when some of the families’ concerns could have been addressed by a program director. Her suggestion is that Mr. Batista serve in this capacity and that he would be recommended to take on the role of program director. When I last spoke with Dominique on Friday, August 9, 2019 she stated with 95% certainty that BGCH would be able to assist in helping with our after-school program where they would coordinate programming.
Since, I operated under the belief that ASAS was our after-school provider I did not allocate any monies in the school budget for after-school services. Due to the situation I decided to create a school-sponsored after school program in partnership with BGCH. This program would be for PK – 5th grade. As a result, certain programs (Power Brain, Bank Street ERP, NYC Ballet) will not return to the school this year to cover operational costs for the school-sponsored after school program.
Due to the high demand we anticipate for this program applications will be distributed on Monday, September 9, 2019 via paper copy and Bloomz messaging system. A lottery will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2019 during the evening back-to-school night event.
Priority is considered for families that qualify for free lunch under the lunch eligibility program and who have a parent/caregiver that works or is enrolled in a school/vocational program (both criteria must be met.) Families that have one or both caregivers that work or are enrolled in a school/vocational program.
There is a survey that we ask you to complete. A link will be sent via Bloomz, email, Twitter feed and is posted on the website.
School-Sponsored After School Program (with programming support from BGCH)
Ø 10 seats for PK
Ø 10 seats for K
Ø 10 seats for 1st grade
Ø 10 seats for 2nd grade
Ø 10 seats for 3rd grade
Ø 15 seats for 4th grade
Ø 15 seats for 5th grade
Total: 80 students
The program would run from 2:35pm – 5:30pm. A grace period will be provided for families until 6:00pm. Our first day of after-school will be on Monday, September 16, 2019 and the last day will be on Thursday, June 11, 2020. Families are not expected to make any financial payment to the school for the school-sponsored after school program.
Griselda Hernandez, Parent Coordinator will provide after-school resources for families that are not able to get a seat in the school-sponsored program. Some of these options include:
MMCC (Grant After-School)
JCC of Harlem
Harlem Children Zone After-School
I wanted you to know what has been going on behind the scenes and that we appreciate you as partners. Your patience and understanding in this matter is important. I will continue to salvage the relationship with ASAS but with them not providing certainty around operating this year, I feel this is the best course of action. Please note that the administration and parent association co-presidents are working aggressively on a solution that works for all families which includes exploring legal options, partnering with a different group, and strengthening the school-sponsored program for more access to include additional families.
If you have any questions or need further information, I will return the week of August 26th.