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Dear Partners,

With Fall approaching, this month’s newsletter includes updates on new SBRT staff, our latest trainings and project meetings, and spotlights for Kindergarten Readiness and Attendance Awareness Month.

Early Learning System

James (Jaime) Rivera is a Bronx-born Puerto Rican and has been involved in activism, organizing, and advocacy for over 25 years. Prior to joining SBRT he organized campaigns for environmental, social, and food justice, prisoners' rights, healthy home products, and climate change. Jaime has also been involved in coalitions advocating against jail expansions in the South Bronx, coalitions to end and prevent gun violence and the self-determination of Puerto Rico.


All Succeed in School

This summer, SBRT continues to work towards ensuring that all children in Bronx Community District 3 are able to succeed educationally, graduate high school ready for college, and are able to begin a career. Our Continuous Improvement training brought together various local stakeholders to refine and design various data-driven strategies and plans for the upcoming school year. To support local schools and their effort towards decreasing chronic absenteeism, SBRT’s Attendance Improvement project group held a meeting to discuss strategies for better communication with parents and caregivers.

If you are a Bronx-based CBO or school (early childhood, preschool, or K-12) and interested in Continuous Improvement training, please contact Director Michael Partis (michael@risingtogether.org). To learn more about SBRT’s work to increase student attendance in Bronx Community District 3, contact Manager Kendall Lewis (kendall@risingtogether.org).


All Are Ready For Kindergarten

Early childhood education is critical for Kindergarten Readiness and lifelong academic success. This month, SBRT is excited to spotlight the Little Scholars Early Development Center and its Founder and Educational Director, Jasmin Corniel.

1. Who are Little Scholars students and families?

Little Scholars provides early childhood education services to 250 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old. Our three sites provide quality programming to an otherwise severely under-served population - almost all of our families are at or below the federal poverty line, and many of our families experience challenges like homelessness, housing insecurity, and domestic violence. Our culturally responsive centers serve families speaking Spanish, various African dialects, and other languages. We take a lot of pride in offering our programming in this community, where few quality childcare options previously existed for parents.

2. What are some standout features of your curriculum?

Little Scholars applies a constructivist philosophy to education: we believe students construct their world of knowledge by taking ownership of their learning, instead of passively absorbing information. We employ a cross-curricular approach where teachers and students learn from their environment alongside each other by stretching various learning muscles - literacy, math skills, science, and social-emotional skills are each brought in simultaneously as students explore themed units through music, art, movement, and other activities.

3. What are some ways you involve and engage with parents, caregivers, and the community?

We’ve been really fortunate to enjoy deep engagement with very responsive families - the community we work in has welcomed us with open arms. Because we understand how much value our families see in our centers, we have taken a look at what other value we could bring to our community. We offer summer camp for youth ages 6 - 16 to fill that summer gap and offer youth a space to spend their out of school time. Through a partnership with the NYC Department of Aging, we house a foster grandparents program where retired seniors, many of whom are long-time residents in the neighborhood and former city employees, keep active by coming into our daycare and supporting our programming.

4. How do you define success for your center?

Success for Little Scholars lies in the connections we have made with other leaders. This allows us to bring more and diverse resources to the communities our centers serve. I believe we are a beacon of light for many of the children and families in our programs. We pride ourselves in being a constant positive input to our families; one that will span from early childhood through adult and beyond.

One other aspect of success for us is advocating for the field of Early Childhood Education as a whole. This is evidence through our activism with other like minded organizations. Our issues include advocating for funding for our children, unifying the workforce, and professionally developing teachers and program leaders. It is important to bring awareness to issues that are affecting the field. To make sure that equity is always present in the decisions made by policy makers, we fight for our teachers, children, and communities.


September is Attendance Awareness Month

Join SBRT and all of BX Community District 3 as we usher in the new school year and Attendance Awareness Month! Chronic Absence is when a student misses more than 18 DAYS (2 days a month) of school for any reason! Join us in our push to raise awareness around the barriers to school attendance and how we can collectively eliminate them!


Join The Team!

Visit the “Careers” section of our website to see the latest openings on our Backbone Team.