Transformational Practices Show Elementary School Success

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Recent research underscores the urgency that children develop proficient reading skills by the third grade, especially those living in high-poverty areas. Enabling children to read by the third grade is a key factor in St. Nicks Alliance’s NABE 3.0 School Success Model which seeks to improve students’ academic performance and empower them to achieve long-term school success. This model was initially implemented in four elementary schools in a high-poverty area of North Brooklyn. For children who were struggling academically and behaviorally, especially those presenting warning signs of high school dropouts, the 2016-17 school year was an excellent time to reinvent afterschool centers and introduce transformational practices.

503 students received 253 hours of progressive literacy instruction enriched with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and family engagement at the four afterschool centers. At the start of the 2016-17 school year 7% of these students were reading at a third grade level. Nine months after this model’s introduction 31% of this group of students were reading at a third grade level. That is a 343% increase!

A series of innovative transformational practices were elemental to the struggling students’ literacy improvement. These took the form of a three pronged approach: (1) two Transformational Coaches (a reading coach and non-cognitive coach, a social worker to address emotional and behavioral challenges that negatively affect learning, as well as link families to internal and external services); (2) Embedded School Partnerships (afterschool and school staff worked closely together to maximize the impact of afterschool hours and summer camp thus creating a seamless day for students and reducing educational loss); and (3) Performance Management (data collection and analysis).

St. Nicks Alliance has since brought this model to a fifth school and is expanding. In addition they are in the planning stages for establishing a NABE 3.0 School Success Institute to train other organizations in a NABE 3.0 model tailored to their populations.


Workforce Development Grows Greenscaping Grads

 St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development’s 1st urban greenscaping training class graduates, pictures with some of their supporters.

St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development’s 1st urban greenscaping training class graduates, pictures with some of their supporters.

This March St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development launched their new urban greenscaping training in partnership with the Brooklyn Grange and Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). On May 9th a fortunate thirteen graduated this training, which included the BBG’s intensive horticulture course, workplace success training, and certifications in OSHA 10 and forklift operator. The Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm was the perfect site for this sort of career launch, as this green roof was surrounded by skyscapes of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which could be seen as beacons of greenscaping potential.

“Greenscaping is a prime example of how St Nicks Alliance Workforce designs training programs with employer partner input.  Our employer partner [Brooklyn Grange] contributed to the design of the 2.5 week Horticulture Intensive training with training partner BBG,” said Larry Rothchild, Dir. of St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development.

Council Member Rafael Espinal and Boris Santos (community organizer from Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s office) inspired the graduates with their words of encouragement and were among the leading lights at this celebration.  

“Job matching starts prior to graduation as students are introduced to potential employers prior to graduation on site visits.   Employer partners attended graduation and actively interviewed the students.  Two Greenscaping graduates have been hired and a third is pending for jobs at the new Domino Park. The new Domino Park has been recruiting at St. Nicks Alliance Workforce,” said Rothchild.

 “They’ve offered me the chance for a new opportunity and it is a great one. I’ve been to many great places and learned so much. I was aiming for growth in knowledge and they’ve delivered. My goal is to become a great horticulturist, in turn, save the world,” said new urban greenscaping grad, Veronica Hernandez.

Graduate Zaya Brown said, “My favorite part of the program was being able to learn about urban garden design. It was interesting to be able to learn how to perfectly adjust and adapt a certain space to a specific client’s desire. I am truly grateful to those at St. Nicks Alliance. Now I have the chance to use my newly earned skills and my love for nature to help the world grow.”


The Healthy Way to Fundraise!

 Michael Rochford, Exec. Dir. St. Nicks Alliance and Kenneth J. Mahon, Pres. and CEO of Dime Community Bank with this year’s runners at the Dime McCarren 5K starting line

Michael Rochford, Exec. Dir. St. Nicks Alliance and Kenneth J. Mahon, Pres. and CEO of Dime Community Bank with this year’s runners at the Dime McCarren 5K starting line

The Dime McCarren 5K fundraising effort ran its 6th run/walk to support learning services for North Brooklyn youth. This was the 3rd year with Dime Community Bank as the naming sponsor. More than 1,000 people came out to support this year’s event!

Kenneth J. Mahon, Dime Community Bank President & CEO, stated, “We truly appreciate the consistent show of support by members of the Williamsburg community and Dime family who participate each year.  As a result, many children in North Brooklyn will benefit from the educational programs supported by this event.”

What sorts of activities does the money from the Dime McCarren 5K go toward? Camping and summer field trips; karate and tennis instruction; cooking classes; media production classes; college tours; that’s just for starters.

St. Nicks Alliance takes time to celebrate community leadership at the Dime M5K.  This year they acknowledged: Pat and David Dobosz (retired teachers and longtime residents of Williamsburg who are on the frontlines of community activism to maintain fair housing in the community), Ezequiela Nieves (a teacher at PS 250 who has striven to win grants that broaden the students’ artistic and academic potential), and Evelyn Melendez (the Community Coordinator for Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability and a Williamsburg native who sees her work in assisting NYCHA residents into higher levels of career potential as a way of giving back).


More New Board Onboard

St. Nicks Alliance’s board and affiliate boards are made up of community members whose experiences living, working, and/or raising their families in North Brooklyn have inspired them to participate in the areas of youth and education, workforce development, affordable housing, and elder care. This spring, St. Nicks Alliance welcomed two new members:

  Lidija Nikolic , Senior Vice President Market Executive for Brooklyn & Queens Global Commercial Banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has been a supporter of St. Nicks Alliance for several years through Bank of America’s sponsorship of Touch A-Truck

Lidija Nikolic, Senior Vice President Market Executive for Brooklyn & Queens Global Commercial Banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has been a supporter of St. Nicks Alliance for several years through Bank of America’s sponsorship of Touch A-Truck

Lidija Nikolic

Lidija has 20 years experience in the banking industry. Prior to joining Bank of America in 2008, she worked in mid-corporate, international and public finance divisions of JP Morgan Chase in New York and Credit Swiss First Boston in San Francisco.

Involved in the professional women community, she is active in several professional women’s associations and mentorship programs. She also serves as co-treasurer of the PTA of Bard High School Early College in Long Island City, Queens.

She has been an active supporter for St. Nicks Alliance’s Touch A Truck, as she represented Bank of America’s sponsorship at this event for the past two years.

 

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Kim Gabriel

Kim has been the president of the PS 132 PTA for the past two school years. Before leaving the work force to start her family, she worked as an attorney for an investment advisor and was in real estate prior to that. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and worked with autistic children, active with Amnesty International and her sorority, Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States.

Kim  has supported St. Nicks Alliance in their fight to save Small World Early Childhood Center.  She says, “[St. Nicks Alliance] is a wonderful community organization with various programs helping youth, seniors and the under-privileged,”


Bocce Supports Senior Bus!

 The Meat Hook team with their trophy presented by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Conselyea Block Association President Phil Caponegro (far left) and Conselyea Block Association Vice President Frank Citera (far right)

The Meat Hook team with their trophy presented by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Conselyea Block Association President Phil Caponegro (far left) and Conselyea Block Association Vice President Frank Citera (far right)

The 2nd Annual Swinging Sixties Senior Center Bocce Tournament brought local businesses out to play this ancient Italian bowling game all in support the new Swinging Sixties Senior Bus. The games and fun began at 10 a.m. and lasted until the champions were crowned at around 5 p.m. by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. The Meat Hook team won the trophy this year besting 2017’s winners, Crest Hardware.  But the real winners are the seniors who need the Swinging Sixties Senior Bus as this fundraiser generated $7,345!

Thanks to the following who helped to make this event such a success: Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Bitesize Pediatric Dentistry, Best Pizza, Two Trees Management/Domino Park, The Meat Hook, Variety Coffee, Da Francesco, Fortunato Brothers Café, Crest Hardware, Silvagni & Como Attorneys at Law, Harefield Road, Barano, Law office of Carmine E. Esposito, Daughters and Sons of Italian Heritage, M & J Services and Consultants Corp.

Second Chance Saloon, and St. Nicks Alliance sponsored their own team: Rompipalle!


EPA Grants $200K to Workforce Development

 Workforce Development Environmental Remediation Training graduate Roger Leak on the job.

Workforce Development Environmental Remediation Training graduate Roger Leak on the job.

Earlier this spring 2018, St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development Center was selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive a $200,000 environmental workforce development and job training grant to be utilized over two years. St. Nicks Alliance plans to train 56 students and place at least 45 graduates in environmental jobs.

Their core training program includes 179 hours of instruction in: 40-hour HAZWOPER, OSHA 30-hour construction health and safety, asbestos handler, and confined space entry. Participants who complete the training earn four federal certifications and one state certification. St. Nicks Alliance largely seeks to provide career growth to the undereducated, unemployed, veterans, and public housing residents of Brooklyn. They work with state and local government agencies and employer partners which include the City of New York, Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation; New York City Brownfield Partnership; Evergreen, Inc.; New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Big Apple Occupation Safety Corporation; Two Trees Management Company; Aerotek; Resource Options, Inc.; WRS Environmental Services, Inc.; and Horsepower Electric.

“We are excited by opportunity this award supports to continue our established and proven environmental remediation training offered since the early 2000’s for job seekers seeking an opportunity out of poverty and career ladder,” remarked Larry Rothchild, St. Nicks Alliance Director for Workforce Development.


Evergreen 2018 Benefit Success

 Evergreen Board Member, Sandy Weiner (Joyva Corp.) with Joseph Terzi (TerraCRG), Joseph Robles (St. Nicks Alliance, Board Chair), and Dan Marks (TerraCRG)  Photo Credit: Anastassios Mentis

Evergreen Board Member, Sandy Weiner (Joyva Corp.) with Joseph Terzi (TerraCRG), Joseph Robles (St. Nicks Alliance, Board Chair), and Dan Marks (TerraCRG) Photo Credit: Anastassios Mentis

For over 35 years Evergreen has been a vitalizing force for manufacturing, creative production, and industrial service businesses in North Brooklyn and beyond. Their annual celebration offers their members a chance to mingle. This year Evergreen presented three awards to local industry: Investment and Expansion Award went to The 1896, Business Partner Award went to Kaplon-Belo Commercial Real Estate, and the Industrial Development Award went to Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center.  This year the benefit raised $100K!

“We are elated at the success of this year’s Annual Celebration” stated Leah Archibald, Executive Director of Evergreen.  “It was very nearly record setting in terms of income.  We’re so grateful to our wonderful honorees, sponsors, ticket purchasers and journal advertisers for making this one of our best years ever.  Of course we couldn’t do it without hard work from our board, staff and event planning committee.  Everyone did a great job and we all had a great time!”