America’s Promise Gives First Legacy Award to Community School P.S. 50

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Stating that P.S./I.S.50, a Children’s Aid Society community school in East Harlem, “exemplifies all that is America’s Promise,” Board Chair Alma Powell announced on Wednesday that the school would receive the inaugural Colin and Alma Powell Legacy Award of $100,000. The organization’s board of directors met at the school on Wednesday, June 27.

America’s Promise, the nonprofit organization founded by General Colin Powell to ensure that America’s children receive the fundamental resources they need to succeed, is focusing on schools as hubs, with an integration of school and community services, an essential element of Children’s Aid Society’s community schools.

CEO C. Warren Moses and Alma Powell

CEO C. Warren Moses
and Alma Powell

America’s Promise seeks to deliver to at-risk children its “Five Promises,” which are the developmental resources that young people need – caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others – via three national strategies, the first of which is to consider schools as hubs.

P.S./I.S. 50 is able to fulfill the Promises because of the partnerships in the school, especially that with The Children’s Aid Society. Children’s Aid partners with the Department of Education in the school, and maintains a health clinic onsite, provides social services, parent programming and education, after-school and summer programs, and brings vital resources, such as corporate donors and volunteers, into the school. P.S./I.S. 50, a school with a health emphasis, is led by Principal Rebekah Marler-Mitchell, who was recognized by the Powells and by New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein as an extraordinary leader. “She’s understood that to succeed,” said Klein, “the school cannot be hermetically sealed;” in other words, it needs partnerships. He pointed to the relationship with Children’s Aid as “powerful.” Jeanette Then is Children’s Aid’s community school director at P.S./I.S. 50, and works closely with the principal.

“Our partnerships are the roots of our success,” noted the principal at the America’s Promise board meeting at the school. Ms. Marler-Mitchell also appeared on Larry King Live on Thursday, June 28 with the Powells. During the program, Alma Powell noted that Angela Diaz, president of Children’s Aid, had called Ms. Powell’s attention to the school. After learning about the school, Alma Powell wanted to have the board meeting there to show the board that “this is America’s Promise.”