$1.4 Million State Grant for Yonkers After-School Programs Targeting Struggling Schools

November 30, 2017

Assemblymember Shelley Mayer; Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; President of the Yonkers Board of Education Rev. Steve Lopez; Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada; President of the Yonkers Council of PTAs Sally Pinto; representatives from participating Yonkers Public Schools, partnering community based organizations, and children in after-school programs.

YONKERS, NY— The Yonkers state legislative delegation along with Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools, announced the details of a $1.4 million grant for the Empire State After-School Program at Yonkers Public Schools on Wednesday, November 29th, at the Robert C. Dodson School in Yonkers.

Named YASA (Yonkers After School Academies) through "Project EMPIRE" (Educating Minds to Prepare Inspire and Reach Excellence for All), the program is subsidized with funding secured from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State After-School Program, which is a statewide initiative that will serve 22,000 students in high-need New York State public schools. During the 2017 state budget negotiations, the Yonkers state legislative delegation was successful in ensuring that Yonkers Public Schools are eligible to apply for a portion of the statewide funds.

The $1.4 million grant is awarded annually for the after-school programs for 5 years. Each of the participating Yonkers public schools is partnered with a Yonkers community based organization. The ultimate goal of the Yonkers After-School Academies is to decrease the risk factors associated with struggling schools, and increase protective factors and the likelihood of high school graduation and successful college completion.

“I am glad that my colleagues and I were able to ensure that Yonkers Public Schools are eligible and received this $1.4 million for after-school funding,” said Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer (AD-90, Yonkers). “After-school programs are effective in keeping children on the right path, increasing graduation rates, and mitigating the risk factors associated with attending high-need schools. I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for having the vision to initiate the Empire State After-School Program and for working with us to ensure Yonkers received this funding. I look forward to hearing about students’ experiences in years to come.”

“After school programs are absolutely crucial for families with working parents. By providing kids with the support they need after the bell rings, New York State is ensuring a solid foundation for all of our children,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “I am proud to be part of an administration that continuously puts the interests of New York’s families first.”

“I am truly excited to stand with my colleagues and members of the Yonkers City School District in announcing this grant,” said Assemblymember Gary Pretlow. “I, along with my colleagues who represent Yonkers in the New York State Legislature, understand that we have an obligation to ensure that our children have the opportunity to attend an after-school program that will further enrich their education while providing safe and well-organized afterschool activities”.

“Yonkers has long recognized that after-school programs are key to improving students’ success which is why we have them in many of our schools,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “These new funds will expand and enrich our existing programs, especially in the schools where there are higher risk factors and needs for students. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for putting our students and families first and for continuing to support our Yonkers schools.”

“It takes this kind of commitment for quality education from our elected officials to provide programs like YASA,” noted Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez. “Thank you, Governor Cuomo and our state legislative delegation, Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and George Latimer and Assembly members Shelley Mayer and Gary Pretlow.”

Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools, added, “Yonkers students at nine (9) schools assisted by fifteen (15) community agencies will be offered enriched after-school academies for targeted learners. Over the next five-year, YASA will offer participating students assistance including weekly, Saturday and summer extended learning academies focused on research-based strategies. Our programs will enhance their academic, social, and emotional growth. In addition, through family engagement we’ll offer strategies to strengthen student achievement and family success. These initiatives can shift the direction of child’s academic progress and offer them tools that can ultimately yield a more successful future.”

“We would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assemblymember Shelley Mayer and her colleagues for their work in ensuring that the Yonkers Public Schools students have the opportunity to attend after-school programs through the Empire State After School Program grant,” said Sally Pinto, President of the Yonkers Council of PTAs. “The students will be able to build skills that they will use in the future, be introduced to new experiences, and be able to build and improve their literacy skills all while remaining in a safe environment. That will be priceless to the students, families and community!”




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