On Friday, January 27, Kinvolved and South Bronx Rising Together (a joint Children’s Aid Society and Phipps Neighborhoods initiative) co-hosted the 2017 NYC Summit on Family Involvement to Elevate Attendance at Bronx Leadership Academy II High School.
The event brought together 130 school and district leaders, school attendance and family involvement teams, nonprofit partners, and policy and research advocates.
Beginning with motivating remarks from our leadership of the event’s co-hosts, attendees then moved into three breakout sessions:
In-The-Trenches to Bird’s-Eye-View: Policy, Research, and Practice
A panel discussion on current research and policy work related to attendance improvement and increased family engagement in NYC schools.
- Michael Alcoff, NYCDOE Renewal High Schools Superintendent
- Michelle Kim, Policy Associate, Office of the Public Advocate of the City of New York
- Nicole Mader, Senior Policy Researcher, The Center for NYC Affairs
KiNVO by Kinvolved: Let’s Elevate Attendance Together
An open forum tailored for both current and prospective users on how KiNVO can improve school attendance.
- 05M36 Margaret Douglas
- 07X547 New Explorers High School
- 09X412 Bronx High School of Business
- 07X527 Bronx Leadership Academy II High School
South Bronx Rising Together: Going “All In On Attendance” in the Heart of the South Bronx
A workshop on data trends at individual schools in Community District 3 (the geographic zone for SBRT) and resources to kick-start attendance improvement efforts through the end of the year.
- Abe Fernandez, Co- Director, South Bronx Rising Together, Director of Collective Impact, Children’s Aid Society
- Leaders of school and organization members
During sessions, participants exchanged best practices, engaged in lively discussion, developed solutions to tangible challenges, and networked with like-minded practitioners and experts. The event concluded with lunch and concluding remarks by Letitia James, Public Advocate of the City of New York.
A Brooklyn native, James shared her own story as a shy, bright child, who hid away in her books, and found a safe place in the stacks of her school’s library. She explained how easy it would have been to slip by, one in a family of eight children. She described how her second grade teacher changed her life by nurturing her promising qualities. She expressed her personal connection to the students in New York City’s schools, and called upon educators to find those with promise, and to bring out the best in them.
James discussed the work of her office to fight for children in homelessness and foster care. She charged that schools have a critical role in caring for these children by connecting them with community resources that can help them. She acknowledged that teachers might not have signed up to be social workers, but they are. With a few words, they can brighten a child’s day, and make sure they are cared for. She outlined the horrible increase in homelessness among New York City’s youth, up 22% just since the last school year.
She asked everyone in the room to stand up, fight for, and protect our most vulnerable children. She implored that, as New Yorkers, we cannot separate immigrants from the rest of our community, because they are so vital and embedded. When we go back to our schools and communities, take forth these charges, and keep fighting for our students and families. It will be hard work, and it will take a long time to change, but by working together and coming together at occasions like this, we will make change.
This is our first annual NYC Summit. We aim to hold several smaller local events around the city throughout the year, in the effort to galvanize a movement of people who will elevate attendance by involving families in education. New York City has a special place for Kinvolved. It is our hometown, but we aim to bring this model to other urban centers across the country, and invite other communities to join our movement in their own local way.
View our summit photo library here here (use password: nycattendancesunmit if prompted).