Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
The federal Department of Education finally officially launched its Promise Neighborhood program last week. The department invited interested non-profits to submit applications for planning grants. Those are due June 25. In Jacksonville, Florida, two separate groups are planning to apply, according to a story in the Times-Union.
In today’s St. Petersburg Times, an article about a program to revitalize the Sulphur Springs neighborhood in Tampa, inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone:
Beginning in 1997, the Harlem Children’s Zone followed [the] strategy of pouring every resource into a single, 24-block neighborhood. Within a decade, its charter school students were outscoring peers across New York State on standardized tests, and 90 percent of high schoolers in after-school programs were making it to college.
Until recently, such a plan might have seemed unrealistic for Sulphur Springs. It’s a place with more renters than owners, a median income of just $10,500, and Tampa’s highest concentration of children. Foreclosed and abandoned homes mar the landscape, and police mount extra patrols. By 2008, its elementary school was on a short list of the state’s most troubled schools.
But sometimes, when you slip down far enough, you get a fresh start.
In the South Florida Sun-Sentinel this week, an opinion piece by Kimberly Mitchell, a West Palm Beach city commissioner, about efforts there to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone:
This past August, along with 60 state and local leaders from all parts of the business, political, economic and educational spectrum, Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater and I launched our own local initiative, Family Zone: West Palm Beach, modeled on the nationally recognized Harlem Children’s Zone project. …
HCZ has found support from liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans – from former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who first brought this to our state’s attention, and Jeff Atwater to Orlando’s Democratic Mayor Buddy Dyer and President Barack Obama. …
President Obama has found this program to be so special, so important, he included it among his top priorities for his first year in office. In fact, West Palm Beach has the opportunity to become our own version of the Harlem Children’s Zone as one of 20 cities chosen by the White House to take part in this dramatic new program.
Newspapers around the country are reporting on local efforts to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone and to take advantage of the Obama administration’s Promise Neighborhood initiative. Here are stories from Minneapolis, Kansas City, Jacksonville and Austin, where the Austin American-Statesman reports:
By addressing the challenges associated with living in poverty, Austin organizers hope to provide students with basic services — from ensuring that mothers get prenatal care to tutoring schoolchildren — ultimately improving academic performance at chronically struggling campuses. Organizers said they envision being heavily involved in the lives of as many as 1,500 children in such a zone.
I’m reading about Canada’s quest to change Harlem and America in “Whatever It Takes,” by Paul Tough.
The book is a chronicle of the growth of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which provides cradle-to-college educational and social services to 8,000 children in a 97-block neighborhood in central Harlem — everything from parenting classes to an all-day prekindergarten to a network of charter schools.
What does Canada, the Harlem Children’s Zone and Tough’s book have to do with Pensacola?
Quite a bit if Pensacola could become one of the lucky U.S. cities to be a part of a federal program modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone.
In the Palm Beach Post, an editorial urging civic leaders to create a Promise Neighborhood in West Palm Beach:
The Obama administration wants to help 20 cities adopt anti-poverty programs modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City. Founder/Director Geoffrey Canada may work with programs in four communities, including one in Florida.
For two years, City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell has laid the groundwork for that community to be West Palm Beach. Last week, she unveiled the West Palm Beach Family Zone, a nonprofit corporation that has state Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, among its supporters. The kickoff meeting, held at The Palm Beach Post, included Democrats and Republicans, potential donors from Palm Beach and residents of inner-city neighborhoods.
The current approach of independent and at times overlapping programs – a midnight basketball game here, a family counseling session there – has been playing out without success in Palm Beach County’s poorest communities. The Dunbar Village case reveals how low things can go. “We know what works,” Commissioner Mitchell said. “We have seen what works. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
In today’s Jacksonville, Florida, Times-Union, an editorial about the Harlem Children’s Zone, Whatever It Takes and the city’s new “Success Zone”:
Late in the new book describing the Harlem Children’s Zone, Barack Obama is mentioned for the first time.
In July 2007, the future president of the United States gave a speech on urban poverty and held up the Harlem Children’s Zone as a model.
If elected, he would replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in 20 cities.
Could Jacksonville leap ahead into that select group of cities? All the ingredients are there.