Diving Deep in the Zone
Program Building = System Changing:
Building Blocks For Success
by Anju J. Rupchandani, M.S.Ed., Managing Director
BrowardPalmBeach.com: Collective Impact Resource Mapping
“Program Rich, Systems Poor,” is often a phrase that we hear repeated over and over again in collective impact, and especially in the field of education. A plethora of programs exist to do work to increase attendance, pregnancy prevention, combat the drop out crisis, provide academic support and engage families. However, very few of these ideas are interlocked with systems change in mind.
Collective Impact isn’t a concept that is new, its an age old principle that multiple actors working together can achieve better results than a single organization doing it on its own. The 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review piece written by John Kania and Marc Kramer, legitimized the framework around what is needed to solve complex social problems, and identified five key elements that are critical to systems change:

  1. A Common Agenda
  2. Shared Measurement
  3. A plan for Mutually Reinforcing Activities
  4. Continuous Communication
  5. A backbone organization to support its efforts.
When Zone 126 initially started seven years ago, we were heavily focused on community engagement, and we also, looked at bringing in a ton of programs and services to the schools we worked it. As time has evolved we learned about the process and the work, that engaging and leveraging resources for under-resourced schools are important parts of the building blocks to the long-term work of breaking the cycle of poverty. Its now at this juncture in our organizational history that we are focused on the population level changes around Kindergarten Readiness, 3 rd and 8 th grade reading proficiency, on time 9 th grade credit accumulation that leads to on-time graduation from high school.
Zone partners are now shifting their focus from programs to impact. Their coordinated efforts are beginning to address longitudinal population level change. We’ve reached a point in the process of Collective Impact around engaging communities, building inter-organizational trust by discussing the data they collect, with outcomes and impact as a common goal. Zone 126 is changing the narrative from program building to systems change. That is the true power of Collective Impact. 
News from the Zone
Pipeline Update
Books = Brain Power
 by Anju J. Rupchandani, Managing Director
Zone 126 sprang into the spring season by hosting an Egg-Stravaganza Hunt at PS 171Q for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 1st grade. Zone 126 bunnies hopped into the school library and hid eggs with sweet treats along the shelves of books, with several Golden Eggs strategically placed for some lucky students to discover. The prize for discovering the Golden Egg was a brand new book for students to select amongst some wonderful titles such as Last One Is A Rotten Egg, It’s Spring, Too Many Carrots, and Thumper Finds An Egg.

Students were very excited to find the Golden Egg, and to have the opportunity to select a book of their choice to add to their home library.
Zone 126’s long-term goal is to ensure that all students living in the Zone or attending a partner school are college and/or career ready. This goal is deeply rooted around our work continuous efforts to promote the importance of literacy. Ensuring students have access to age-appropriate books that are culturally relevant inside the home, at school and in the library is something we strive to ensure alongside our partner organizations.

As Zone 126 and our partner organizations work collaboratively around ensuring Kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading proficiency, and on time high school completion, we will continue to provide opportunities to students and families that build the most important muscle, THE BRAIN.
A Inside Look Into
Community-Word Project at CS 111Q
by: Claudia Esteva, Community School Director CS 111Q
Community Word Project (CWP) is an arts-in-education organization working with Zone 126 and the scholars of CS 111Q . In previous years, CWP has partnered with some of our younger scholars in K-2nd grades to boost their literacy, writing and social skills though their 10-15 week program. Two Teaching Artists come into the classroom to practice theater games to get scholars moving and shaking to the theme of the lesson. Later on, poetry is implemented through acting and writing prompts for individual students and the class community as a whole (hence: Community Word Project)! The classes culminate with a performance and a published anthology inclusive of individual and group poems for all to enjoy!

This year, CWP is working with four classes. The residency began earlier this Spring so we at Zone 126 reached out to the teachers to get their take on how the residency has played out within their classrooms:
What did you enjoy about the program?
Kindergarten Teacher: Community Word Project has been an amazing program for the children, thus far. One thing I certainly enjoy about this program is allowing the children to Act! I love how this program incorporates the arts, giving the children the opportunity to see beautiful photographs by numerous artists, and listening and dancing to catchy music that the children can relate to.

3rd Grade Teacher: Our kids love Community-Word Project. They really like the acting and the games they play. They also really love the instructors.
Teaching Artists Deanna Green and Taylor Valentine with one of CS111Qs Kindergarten classes
Photo: Teaching Artists Deanna Green and Taylor Valentine with one of CS 111Q’s Kindergarten classes 
What does it mean for you to have this program?
Kindergarten Teacher: It has been a wonderful learning experience for both the students and myself. It truly has been a pleasure having Community Word Project in my classroom these past few weeks! Looking forward to working with them next year!
Zone 126 at Ready By 21
by Michelle Makabali, Community School Director Long Island City High School
For three days, hundreds of leaders who work with young people to get them ready for college, work, and life by age​ 21 gathered in Palm Beach County to exchange ideas and dialogue. The birth to 21 initiative brought together local and national partners. Each year's Ready By 21 National Meeting brings attention to collective impact initiatives, policy alignment and program quality improvement. Various stakeholders provide a lens on how the work is moving forward.
The Forum for Youth Investment , which spearheads the Ready by 21 National Meeting, coalesced folks in academia, collective impact, and equity who are doing the work. Another feature of the conference were the keynote speakers and plenary sessions.
Ms. Ruby Nell Sales was one such plenary speaker that resonated with many attendees . Ms. Sales is a deeply-committed social activist, scholar, public theologian, and educator in the areas of Civil, Gender and other Human Rights. For over 40 years, she has worked towards non-violence, peace and justice. She is the founder of The SpiritHouse Project in Atlanta, Georgia. During the plenary, Ms. Ruby Sales asked the audience “how do we build a youth community in a fragmented world where often young people are searching for roots?” She also stated, “I argue that love can create anger, but it’s redemptive anger. It’s anger that moves you to change things, to create a better world to be compassionate about someone else’s struggle. That’s redemptive anger.”
The Ready by 21 National Meeting provided a much needed transparent conversation regarding young people and the barriers they are currently facing. It is a clear reminder that we can celebrate small wins but we still have much to do to make long term impact.
Supporting Success Through
Partnership and Parent Engagement
by Dylan Woloszczuk, Community School Coordinator CS 111Q
At Zone 126, some of our most profound work includes engaging with children and families in our community. While there are many important tasks at hand, creating supportive systems for our families and seeing these systems utilized at family events are some of the most salient for us. Thus far in 2018, we’ve coordinated several events at CS 111Q designed to support our families and showcase our work.

To best support and engage our families, our events include a great deal of collaboration. A successful family event requires the work of Zone 126, our community partners, CS 111Q, and our parents and families.
Scholars Hunting for Eggs
City Harvest Breakfast
City Harvest Food Pantry
We’ve had the privilege of working with both City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City (FBNYC) in order to engage our families while also providing them with necessary services. With the collaboration of FBNYC, Zone 126 is able to run a free food pantry out of CS 111Q for scholars and their families. Our families not only shop in the pantry, but also become involved by helping stock shelves and make suggestions for food orders.
Ultimately, all of the family events we host have a primary focus: how can we best support the children in our locality and ensure they have all the building blocks they need to foster their own success? Bringing families into the fold of our work is not simply a rewarding experience for us, but also helps us to meet that goal. As an organization, we are aware that when it comes to children, it takes a village. Therefore, our best success comes from the collaboration of the schools we work in, our families, our partnerships, and our community.
Scholar Led Conference
What We Are Reading
  • Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, Ph.D.
Zone 126 Data Update
Springing into Literacy
Zone 126 Cradle to Career
Partner Data Gathering
On April 24, 2018 Zone 126 Partners gathered to discuss the value of data sharing and their collaborative efforts.

The interactive meeting included a data walk-through where program partners were encouraged to identify the impact of their work on the cradle to career pipeline.
Zone 126
at Long Island City High School
Spring Showers
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We would like to thank all of our funders for all their help: Thomas & Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation, New York City Department of Education, Altman Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, Phyllis Backer Foundation, and Staples Foundation.
  *Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual