2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

Images

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

girl blowing rocket Lights on After School

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

girl painting rocket Lights on After School

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

Lights on After School Program

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

kids launching rockets Lights on After School

Robots and Rockets Launch Harlem Ivy After-school Partnerships

rocket Lights on After School

TC has received a $3.2 million grant to work with New York City community-based organizations to create after-school programs at public schools in Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights and Inwood. 

The Office of School and Community Partnerships, which received the three-year grant from the New York State Department of Education, will design and run after-school programs focused on the so-called “STEM” disciplines, science, technology, engineering and math. These subjects have received insufficient funding and attention in recent years, especially in schools where poverty is high and funding is scarce, and where, as a result of pressure to meet the student proficiency goals of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, teachers have had to focus most of their efforts on literacy and basic math, and test preparation.

The Harlem Ivy project is a partnership with The After-School Corporation (TASC), Children’s Art and Science Workshops, Harlem Children’s Zone, Harlem Dowling, and the New York City Mission Society. The after-school programs will run at Public Schools 161, 115 and 92, and Middle School 344. Students who participate will get the chance to operate and program a robot and do other types of hands-on projects intended to spark their interest in technology and the sciences. 

“There is no more important place to do that work and no more important place to start than in our own neighborhood,” said TC’s President Susan H. Fuhrman to the group of 30 who gathered at TC on Oct. 15 to launch the project. The Harlem Ivy project will create “the highest quality after-school programs to provide a model for the rest of the country.”

The programs had previously been run by The After School Corporation, which requested TC’s involvement and will continue to offer technical and administrative support. 

“We are going to be able to help children in cutting-edge ways through new technologies and connections to the university campus and community,” Nancy Streim, associate vice president at Teachers College and director of the Office of School and Community Partnerships, told the group.

Mary Bleiberg, Vice President for Policy and Program Development at TASC, was enthusiastic about exposing the after-school participants to Teachers College and Columbia University. “All of the community-based organizations and all of the kids are now going to be able to have access to the greatest university in the world and the opportunity for our kids to come onto campus to see what they can do—and that is so exciting,” she said. “In six or seven years we may see kids, who might not have thought of going to college beforehand, entering Columbia University, Hunter or Yale.”

Added Stephanie Palmer, executive director of the New York Mission Society:  “Never before has there been a time when these services are so important to residents in Central Harlem. We often hear that the neighborhood is changing, but despite evidence that poverty is decreasing, there are disturbing statistics that show child poverty in this area is increasing.”

Harlem Ivy is part of a national organization, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which funds and oversees after-school programs across the country and helped organize national “Lights On Afterschool” day Oct. 16. To commemorate the day, children at one of the Harlem Ivy schools, P.S. 161 in Harlem, set off air rockets using handcrafted launchers constructed of empty soda bottles.

“After-school is a movement,” Palmer said at the program launch. “It is a right for kids across the nation and especially in communities where parents are struggling.”

Harlem Ivy is one of several new ventures by Teachers College to support New York City public schools and their students. It is managed by the Office of School and Community Partnerships at Teachers College, which was created in 2007 with a mission to engage the College more closely with public schools in New York City. In spring 2008, the Office secured a $5 million grant from GE Foundation to partner with 12 public schools in Harlem on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. For more information, visit: www.tc.edu/oscp/ 

previous page