While the Beacon program’s provider will change in the fall, the free programing that the Beacon provides will remain. According to DYCD spokesman Mark Zustovich, “DYCD is committed to funding a Beacon program on Roosevelt Island this fall.”
Three off-Island groups interviewed with the school to apply for the Beacon contract:
Stanley M. Isaacs
The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center currently runs a Beacon program on the Upper East Side’s Yorkville at the edge of East Harlem and services primarily low-income residents.
According to their website, in 2015, their Beacon program served 529 adults and 305 youth with weekend and evening programming. In addition to an afterschool program for kindergarten through 4th grade, they also offered a “Beacon TweenZone” with after-school programming for middle schoolers that they say is “designed to expose youth to various careers while supporting their socio-emotional growth.” The group works with a long list of partners and community organizations. In addition to a Beacon program, the group also runs a senior center and youth center.
Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP)
Originally formed in 1979 to serve immigrant communities, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP) currently runs two Beacon programs – one at MS 328 in Washington Heights and another at MS 117 in the Bronx – as well as several other after-school and adult programs throughout the City. According to the Washington Heights-based organization, they currently serve 27,000 children and families annually.
They say they believe in “facilitating community empowerment through education, provision of human services, and the development of individual skills and community leadership.”
Child Center of New York
Founded in 1953, the Child Center of New York runs more than a dozen afterschool and summer programs in the City, including four Beacon programs at PS/IS 43, Parsons Community School, Virgil Grissom Middle School, and Catherine Count Basie Middle School 72. The group says on its website that it serves more than 26,000 children and families annually. The staff speaks over 22 languages.
The Child Center says it takes a holistic approach, realizing that children don’t grow in isolation but rather as a part of families and communities, and that its research-based methods help youths and adults develop academic, social-emotional, and physical skills.
Role of Principal: According to the new Beacon RFP, the host-school principal is tasked with defining and establishing the Beacon director expectations, including being part of the hiring process for the Beacon director. The principal is responsible for gathering key stakeholders, such as parents, community members, the school’s School Leadership Team (SLT), and Beacon participants to develop and clarify the program vision.
According to the DYCD, this was a strategic approach, and was made to promote cooperation among programs and providers, and to create a culture that supports community-building efforts.
Services: Beacons are expected to serve youth from kindergarten through age 21 and adults ages 22 and older, including seniors. They are located in public schools across the City and they operate year-round during non-school hours. On weekdays, weekends, and throughout the summer, Beacons transform their host schools into resources for their whole communities by offering an integrated range of free programming, tailored to local needs.
According to the RFP, Mayor de Blasio’s administration has committed to a significant increase in funding for the Beacon initiative in 2017. They are required to provide three community events per year, including one on health. A summer camp is mandatory, lasting seven weeks with a minimum of 175 kids.
Enrollment: Beacons must enroll a minimum of 1,200 individuals during the program year, including a minimum of 600 youth and 100 adults in drop-in or planned activities and 500 youth and/or adults in community events.