From the CEO

Dear Friends:

What a way to start the school year!

On August 29, I had the privilege of looking on as dozens of kindergartners and first-graders passed through the freshly painted doors of their new school, Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School. On that day, we officially opened our doors and made good on our promise to 132 children and their families in the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx.

Children’s Aid College Prep provides a nurturing school environment for a neglected community. It prioritizes struggling students, such as those who are English language learners, at risk of academic failure or currently involved in the child welfare system. Its mission is to ensure that these children achieve academic success by providing them with a first-rate education and physical, emotional, and social support, fostering a sense of hope while serving as a safe and engaging community hub.

The Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School bears our name and our relentless commitment to excellence. It reflects our belief that the future of even the most vulnerable child is without limit, and it will succeed because of our commitment to academic achievement and the healthy development of children. While the journey ahead is long, we are certain that we are giving our children the absolute best chance to be part of college graduating classes in 2029.

That’s our goal for all the children in our care, whether they come to us through one of our 12 community schools, our 13 community centers or our 17 family services, adoption and foster care sites. The comprehensive support we provide in high-needs neighborhoods is transformational for children and their families. Just beyond the doors to a new school lies a pathway out of poverty and toward a better life.

As we mark the start of school at our Children’s Aid College Prep and at locations across the city, we are proud to partner with you to improve the lives of thousands of New Yorkers in need. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Richard Buery

Featured Story

Creating programs that are rooted in research is a significant – and growing – practice at Children’s Aid. This is true of our work with parents, since decades of research show that parent involvement in education is critical to student success. Higher grades, test scores and graduation rates, as well as increased motivation and self-esteem, are just some of the benefits of parent engagement. Even more than socioeconomic background, an engaged parent is a reliable predictor of improved academic performance.

Unfortunately, too many parents in our high needs neighborhoods lack skills to help their children succeed in school. But with guidance and support, they can become strong models for learning at home and at school.

At Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, which opened in late August, we are planning to hold a workshop series and leadership trainings to provide parents with the skill sets they will need to become engaged members of the school community. We hope to cover topics ranging from understanding developmental milestones and organizing homework time to planning for college and navigating standardized test results. Each of these sessions will be focused on our goal: to help the students at our charter school become college graduates.

We are also organizing a Parent Leadership Council to help ensure student success. The Council will advise the school’s leadership, plan activities and create a firm connection to the community. A member of the Council will also serve on the school’s Board of Trustees, which has primary responsibility for decision-making at the school.

Most parent activities will happen onsite at Children’s Aid College Prep, which is located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Beyond stubborn poverty, this community faces grim odds: just five percent of adults over 25 have a bachelor’s degree, and single mother births account for 80 percent of all births there. Children’s Aid is committed to its work strengthening families in this community and lifting the neighborhood out of poverty.

Student Spotlight

In many ways, the odds were stacked against Kujegi Camara. Born to Gambian immigrants who settled in the Bronx, she grew up in a working class family, with a modest single income split between a growing family here and relatives back in Africa. At school, classmates teased her for her hijab, which she wore from an early age as a sign of her Islamic faith. The eldest of eight children, she struggled to be a role model for her siblings as she bridged cultures at school and at home.