“Let’s build communities, not walls,” a kindergartner cried out to a packed auditorium at PS/IS 184 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on March 21. The closing words of the young oratory contest winner were met with thunderous applause from the nearly 200 people in attendance at the annual showcase designed to promote the accomplishments of the newly renamed UFT United Community Schools initiative.
“We’re bringing academically grounded, evidence-based approaches,” said UFT Vice President Karen Alford, who has shepherded the initiative since its inception. “We’re building whole children and strengthening whole communities.”
United Community Schools Executive Director Doug Friedlander said PS/IS 184 is an exemplar of both the challenges the 31 schools in the initiative face and what the program can achieve. PS/IS 184, he said, has “overcome tremendous obstacles,” including the task of supporting a substantial population of students in temporary housing.
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