by Gary Axelbank
February 25, 2019
In their on-going effort to support important community initiatives, Teddy Cars visited C.S. 61 the Francisco Oller School on East Crotona Parkway on Monday to help accentuate one of the school’s core goals: to make sure children attend school every day. As an essential component of the South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT) mission to skyrocket academic and other success outcomes for school children, #AllDayEveryDay has become a mantra in the south Bronx .
“I’m very proud of these children,” remarked Steven Cohen, the Teddy Cars Director of People Operations, as soon as he stepped into the school’s auditorium and saw 300 students and two dozen parents who were there in the name of the fundamental concept of attending school every day.
The event included dialogues with the children about the importance of attending school and prizes for the best attendance. It was skillfully orchestrated by the staff from the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the school’s CBO (Community Based Organization) that has a busy office in the school building.
Mentors said “ALL DAY!” and the children replied in unison, “EVERY DAY!” so there would be no underestimating the importance of attending school.
According to the school’s CBO, getting kids to school in the face of chronic issues like asthma and transient home situations can be a challenge. Solving it, they say, is not only about alerting the children.
“There’s a lot of work to be done with parents in regards to making them aware of the importance of coming to school and how that’s going to benefit their kids as they grow up and go into college,” said Maria Panora, the Community School Director with the CAS at C.S. 61. “It’s about collective impact. Here in the Bronx, if all our agencies and partners come together for the same goal we can actually make things happen.”
For their part, Teddy Cars presented each student in Ms. Dechon’s 4th-grade class with teddy bears as a reward for leading the school in attendance. Currently C.S. 61 students are attending at a 92.7% rate but CAS and school administrators are firm that they want to reach their goal of 94% by the year’s end and they go to many lengths to try to make that happen.
“We have The Walking School Bus where we have staff members pickup twenty students every morning and bring them to school so they get in school on time for breakfast and ready for class,” said Ronald Cope, Interim Deputy Director for CAS at SBRT.