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Poughkeepsie advocates for Community Schools

community schools logoDistrict leaders and Poughkeepsie City School District Community Schools supporters joined representatives of districts from throughout New York in speaking with state officials about the importance of funding for community schools and their programs.

Tuesday was the ninth annual Community Schools Advocacy Day, established as a way to engage state lawmakers in understanding the school, home and community benefit of community schools.

Parents and caregivers, school staff, community school partners and other supporters of community schools from across New York came together in a coordinated effort to amplify the importance of increased investments to expand Community Schools and technical assistance for the strategy throughout New York.

Though the day was originally scheduled as an in-person event in Albany, the winter storm that blanketed portions of the state forced meetings with state lawmakers to be held over Zoom.

Dr. Eric Jay Rosser, superintendent of Poughkeepsie schools, and Jay Roscup, Wayne County community schools director, welcomed the many representatives from across the State articulating the importance of educating lawmakers of the impact of Community Schools in addressing the academic, social, emotional and wellness needs of children through a school, home and community approach. Rosser shared that 80 percent of a student’s waking hours between kindergarten and 12th grade is spent in the community, whereas 20 percent is spent in schools, elevating the need for school, home, and community to identify and provide opportunities collaboratively that will holistically address student need.

Representatives of the Poughkeepsie district presented to State Sen. Rob Rolison and Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson, and spoke with staff members from the offices of State Sen. Lea Webb and Assemblymember Donna A. Lupardo. The Poughkeepsie group was comprised of: Rosser; Natasha Brown, executive director of community schools; Greg Mott, assistant superintendent of elementary education; Janet Bisti, director of elementary education; Julianna Lindquist, ACC AmeriCorps fellow; Charm Blaze, Community Schools support; and Community Schools liaisons Lorraine Boughton (Early Learning Center), Gilbert Colon (Morse Elementary), Jessica Ortiz (Poughkeepsie middle and high schools) and Justinne Rodriquez (Krieger Elementary).

In 2020, the district designated all seven of its schools as Community Schools. Across the country, community schools build bridges between school, home, and community to facilitate a holistic approach that will better guarantee that children find success in and out of school.

"I've seen firsthand the value of the Community Schools model in Buffalo and now here in Poughkeepsie,” Rosser said. “Advocating for an evidence-based approach to creating schools that serve as community beacons, bringing together school and community resources to improve student success and create stronger families and healthier communities is a strategy that I support implemented in communities across New York and other states.”

This year the New York State Community School Network urges the state to adopt the following priorities:

  • Dedicate $100 million to expand community schools statewide.
  • Maintain the current Community Schools.
  • Set aside $250 million to ensure sustainability for current community schools.

Information provided to lawmakers during Community Schools Advocacy Day is available through these links: