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Immigration Coalition, New York City Council, Parents, Schools, and Consulates Launch New Citywide Immigrant Parent Engagement Program


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Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
New York City  (Thursday, October 13, 2011)

Immigration Coalition, New York City Council, Parents, Schools, and Consulates Launch New Citywide Immigrant Parent Engagement Program

Members of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Immigration Chair Danny Dromm, parents, community leaders, schools, consulates, and elected officials, converged on the steps of City Hall today to announce the launch of the school-based Family Resource Center initiative (FRC) in each of the five boroughs.

With parent engagement a key factor in the educational success of their children, the idea for Family Resource Centers was developed as a response to the immigrant student dropout crisis. The graduation rate for students still learning English (ELLs) is only 42%, compared to the overall city graduation rate of 61%. Furthermore, according to New York State, only 7% of ELLs are college- and career-ready.

Initial services to be provided by the FRCs include Consulate ID and passport services—to provide immigrant parents with documents that the Department of Education and the New York Police Department, after advocacy by the NYIC and its member groups, now recognize as acceptable forms of ID for entering school buildings. The FRCs will also offer parent workshops focused on financial literacy, financial planning for college, and college readiness; and will facilitate immigrant families’ access to banking services so they can begin to save for their children’s college education.

“We know that great parents make great schools,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “The consulate ID initiative is a wonderful way to let parents know that they are welcome in our city, our country, and our schools. Our many thanks to the Immigration Coalition, the General Consul of Mexico, Dominican Republic and Ecuador, and community organizations for encouraging immigrant families to become more involved in their child’s education.”

"As a former public school teacher of 25 years, I know firsthand how crucial parent engagement is to a child's success," said NYC Council Member and Immigration Committee Chair, Daniel Dromm. "I am proud to support this initiative because it will help clear the way for immigrant parents to be directly involved in schools and in their communities. By providing them with services such as consulate ID programs, we can enable them to benefit from the resources afforded to every other New Yorker. Our immigrant families need to be given the opportunities and the resources necessary to become fully integrated in our society and these Family Resource Centers help do just that."

"Parental involvement in a child's education has long been recognized as a fundamental predictor in a student's academic success. Acting as a welcoming gateway to services, the FRC model will be instrumental in enabling New York immigrants to be active participants in their child's learning and future. Creating these safe havens in our city's education system is especially critical in a time when schools in other parts of our nation are being wrongfully used to alienate immigrants. This initiative will say to ALL New Yorkers: welcome to your school; welcome to your child's education; and thank you for being a partner," said Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the Education Committee and Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

“The Family Resource Center will foster the kind of partnership between schools, community groups, and parents that will ensure further success for immigrant families. The Family Resource Center will provide valuable services and information so that immigrant families can overcome basic barriers that they may face as they integrate in our communities,” stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras.

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said, “It’s inspiring to see the City Council, the Mayor’s Office, immigrant community groups, private funders, the public schools, a host of city agencies, and consulates that represent such a large portion of the city’s population come together to move this initiative forward. The multi-service FRC provides a vehicle for greater parent engagement in their children’s education and for greater civic and economic integration as well for immigrant families. Especially when you look at what happens in places like Alabama, I am proud to be a New Yorker, where positive measures that strengthen immigrant communities and the city as a whole continue to happen.”

Carla Trujillo, a parent and member of La Union, has already benefitted from the initiative. She said, "As a mother, I feel very happy about having a family resource center in the school because in that way, parents will find the support they need for their families to go ahead, ensuring that our children go to college and achieve a great future.”

“The New York Immigrant Coalition is a tireless advocate for the rights of undocumented New Yorkers and they have really hit the ball out of the park this time,” said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Having a photo-ID is essential to living a productive life, which is why this new consular ID program is such a game changer. In East Harlem alone, over 600 immigrants were able to obtain IDs. Not only will these immigrant parents have access to the schools their children attend, but also photo IDs will more fully integrate these vital communities into our city. I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to the Department of Education and NYPD for being so amenable to these new policies, and to Speaker Quinn for providing funding for this initiative. This is a step in the right direction.”

“There is nothing that brings greater trust for newly arrived immigrants than a school setting,” said Assembly Member Guillermo Linares. “Family Resource Centers provide a unique opportunity for collaboration between parents, schools and the community to help newly arrived New Yorkers access services and integrate into society."

Several of NYIC’s member groups have worked tirelessly on this initiative as part of the Coalition’s Education Collaborative. El Centro del Inmigrante on Staten Island works with the borough’s immigrant community to ensure their needs are met.

"St. George defies the preconceived image of Staten Island, it is a diverse place made up of many immigrants groups,” said Kevin Ferreira, education and community outreach coordinator of El Centro del Inmigrante, Staten Island. “The City Council's support provides a link between parents and schools, a link between financial empowerment and going to college, a link between parent involvement and childhood academic success to all these diverse families on Staten Island. A Family Resource Center acts a crucial link that will support how the community and the city at large supports immigrant families and student success."

The Internationals Network for Public Schools, a key partner in the Immigrant Parent Engagement Initiative, had facilitated the placing of Consular ID initiatives in schools across the boroughs.

“Internationals Network has always understood that International High Schools need to be deeply embedded in the immigrant communities they serve, which is why we collaborate extensively with a variety of CBO's that also serve these immigrant communities,” said Claire Sylvan, executive director and president at Internationals Networks for Public Schools. “Through the creation of community based partnerships, Internationals is continuously able expand our capacity to scaffold support services and advocate for our schools’ students and families. Our work with the NYIC on a college readiness guide for immigrant parents, as well as on opening our schools for consular ID initiatives and co-locating a Family Resource Center, are all ways through which we successfully build these partnerships and create college and career pathways for our students and their families in order to prepare them for full participation in democratic society.”

The Family Resource Centers represent a strong private/public partnership: with seed funding provided by the New York City Council, additional support for the overall centers and/or their core services comes from the One New York City, One Nation Fund, a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the New York Community Trust; the Donors’ Education Collaborative; the Durst Family Foundation; and Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.




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