PCSD Secures $2.5M Grant For Community

POUGHKEEPSIE – The US Department of Education has awarded a $2.5 million, five-year Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant to the Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD). The award is one of the largest federal grants ever secured by PCSD and will be used to scale PCSD’s Community Schools Initiative across its five elementary schools.

Community schools collaborate with local nonprofits, health providers, community partners, and other agencies to coordinate and deliver services that improve conditions for student learning and healthy development. PCSD will be using its funding to support a range of evidence-based whole-child and community-wide supports including: high-dosage tutoring; afterschool and weekend enrichment; early childhood family education; and targeted interventions addressing chronic absenteeism and violence prevention.

“The Poughkeepsie City School District is grateful to be one of only 30 recipients in the nation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Full-Service Community Schools grant funding,” said Dr. Eric Jay Rosser, superintendent of schools. “This funding will help expand on our school, home, and community approach to addressing the academic, social, emotional, and wellness needs of our students. Winning such a competitive federal grant is a major signal that our district’s embrace of collaboration is being recognized and rewarded on the national stage.”

Natasha Brown, Executive Director of Community Schools, said, “Over the last three years, we have worked hard to develop our district’s Community Schools model and believe this is a major turning point in ensuring our children succeed in school and life from cradle to career. As the inaugural Executive Director of the PCSD Community Schools Department, I am grateful to the US Department of Education and our many community partners that made this historic investment possible. I would like to particularly thank the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet for its crucial support in developing our winning application.”

Poughkeepsie City School District
The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet worked closely with PCSD to support its application, enlisting the assistance of national partners such as the EdRedesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the William Julius Wilson Institute at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Through this collaboration, the PCSD grant application was able to feature a range of dynamic partnerships and programs.

“The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet is thrilled with the announcement of this groundbreaking federal investment after working closely with the school district to develop this proposal with leading local and national partners. This proves what can be achieved when we come together as a community to put youth and families first,” shared Rob Watson, Jr., Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Board Chair and Deputy Director of the Harvard EdRedesign Lab.

New and expanded programming that will be implemented with the Full-Service Community Schools grant money includes:

City Connects: Innovative data-tracking system that creates an individualized success plan for each student to address the out-of-school factors that impact learning. The nationally-renowned program from the Boston College Lynch School Of Education empowers trained coordinators to identify each student’s strengths and needs and what resources are available to help that student. This federal funding will allow PCSD to expand on a City Connects pilot program previously launched in the district with funding support from Dutchess County.

EveryDay Labs: Evidence-based solutions that use behavioral science, data science, and family engagement strategies to reduce absenteeism and improve student outcomes.

EveryDay Labs was co-founded by Dr. Todd Rogers, behavioral scientist and professor of public policy at Harvard University.

Early Learning Corps / Math Corps: AmeriCorps programs that support schools and early learning centers by training local residents to serve as on-site tutors. Launched earlier this academic year in PCSD, these two programs are already providing 20 tutors in multiple school buildings, supporting students from Pre-K to Grade 3. This additional federal funding will support expanding the programs.

Saturday Morning Lights: This PCSD program provides weekend enrichment for students in grades Pre-K through 12 and their families. Breakfast and lunch are provided for students, and coffee and snacks are available for families staying for workshops. Students engage in a variety of project-based academic courses and interactive enrichment activities.

Poughkeepsie Basics University: Presentations and workshops for families with children ages 0-3 to help ensure they have the information and supports they need to launch their infants and toddlers toward life success and to help ensure their children are socially, emotionally, and cognitively kindergarten-ready. Families will have access to the Basics Insights system, which is an evidence-based text messaging program that helps parents and caregivers incorporate early childhood learning into everyday routines.

Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Afterschool Programming: Leverages cross-sector collaboration between PCSD, local community-based organizations, faith-based institutions and the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department to promote positive youth development and academic achievement and reduce risk behaviors.

“Partnering with the Poughkeepsie City School District, particularly through the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, has been a central focus of my administration and the previous administration of Mayor Rolison,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Marc Nelson. “Investing in collaboration is at the core of how we build the best possible future for

Poughkeepsie. I am so excited that this historic infusion of federal funding will allow the school district to expand its many successful community partnerships, including with City government.”

The Full-Service Community Schools grant implementation will begin January 2024. Implementation of the full grant program will occur in phases over the five-year grant period.

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