The 1st Annual Uptown Education Forum, hosted at The City College of New York and sponsored by the Uptown Education Collaborative (UEC), was held on June 26, 2013 in Harlem.
Free and open to the public, this forum presented an opportunity for members of the Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood communities to learn more about, and help shape the work of the UEC, including the upcoming release of the Uptown Education Navigator (originally named the Uptown Education Survival Guide).
Launched in January 2013, the Uptown Education Collaborative was developed with input from Uptown community education councils (CECs), community-board (CB) education committees, and UEC convener and facilitator Total Equity Now, a nonprofit organization that fosters and promotes community engagement in education, including participation in the meetings and events of Uptown community education councils and community-board education committees.
Historically, an Uptown CEC or CB education committee looking to tackle a complex education issue would devote enormous amounts of time and energy to researching and developing an initiative or strategy to address that issue, not realizing that a neighboring CEC or CB had already accumulated a wealth of experience and expertise on that topic. Because no mechanism existed to facilitate systematic, education-focused information sharing and collaboration across Uptown neighborhoods, these bodies often found themselves “reinventing wheels” instead of learning from and with their neighbors (and devoting the resulting saved time to addressing other important education matters).
The Uptown Education Navigator intends to be a user-friendly guide that will help Uptown students, parents, educators, and other community members better understand and navigate the organization and functions of the various education-related offices within the NYC public school system as well as the roles and responsibilities of other education-related decision-making bodies (including, but not limited to, CECs and CB education committees, parent-teacher associations (PTAs), PTA presidents’ councils, and school “networks”). The guide will draw on existing public information as appropriate and develop new material as needed- all in one place!
To help get it ready, those attending the meeting on June 26 – including education experts, members of various community boards, heads of local charter schools, teachers and parents – broke into small groups to brainstorm ideas for what information should be included in the guide.
Subjects raised included:
* Testing deadlines (including Gifted & Talented)
* Programs broken down by child’s age and grade
* Special needs
* Questions to ask your school on the first day
An earlier poll of UEC members revealed the top five subjects in need of improvement:
* Parental involvement
* Co-location (not indicated whether between public and charter schools, or between elementary schools and high-schools)
* Class size
* Adequate afterschool programs
* School choice
For more information about the guide, their next meeting or to join, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org