By Katerina Belales
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) called for $100 million to increase the number of community schools statewide.
During a visit to Fassett Elementary School in Elmira Friday morning, officials highlighted the success of Elmira’s community schools in helping students and families address the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Getting back to ‘normal’ isn’t good enough for our students —?it’s time we demand a public education system that truly supports every child,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “When children face poverty; when their families face food insecurity; when they don’t have access to health care or social services, they don’t come to school ready to learn in the first place. That’s where community schools change the game: helping students and families thrive.”
The Elmira City School District offers resources including, but not limited to, on-site health care, after-school and summer programming, mentor programs and a weekend vacation food backpack program.
“Community Schools in Elmira is a sustainable effort with long term vision,” Elmira City School District Superintendent Hillary J. Austin said. “Through the collaboration of Elmira agencies and programs, the school district can introduce and embed effective programming as part of the regular school day for students and families, allowing a seamless integration of needed services. From social and emotional support to vision and dental screenings, our educational approach is on the whole child — physical, social, emotional and academic. We are pleased to showcase our Community Schools model to our colleagues and community.”
Expanding the number of community schools is an essential part of the union’s Future Forward campaign. Currently, fewer than 300 out of more than 700 school districts use the community school model statewide.
For more information on NYSUT’s Future Forward campaign, visit their website at futureforwardny.org.