Please see the UFT and Community Learning Schools partners press release here, or read below.
Click here for more information on LFHC's School Health Program and the new center in Coney Island here
June 19, 2014, NY, NY (via UFT)...The United Federation of Teachers, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers, SUNY College of Optometry and the non-profit OneSight today announced the start of construction for a school-based health and vision center at PS 188 in Coney Island.
The $2 million center at Brooklyn's PS 188 will offer comprehensive eye exams, vision care and glasses to students from PS 188 and neighboring schools. In addition to vision services, the center will offer medical, dental and mental health services to area public school students as part of the UFT's Community Learning Schools initiative.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew used today's construction kick-off to announce three additional Brooklyn schools had been selected to become Community Learning Schools: PS/IS 184 and PS 156 in Brownsville and the Gotham Professional Arts Academy High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
"Our students deserve every chance for success. But it is hard to excel if a child can't read her textbook because she needs glasses, or misses days of school because of asthma, or is frightened for her family's future because her dad lost his job. Our children struggle with these kinds obstacles every day — but we can make it easier for them," said Mulgrew.
Brooklyn Borough President Adams secured $1 million in capital funds to help build the health and vision center on the ground floor of PS 188 in Coney Island. The 1,800-square-foot center will serve not only the school's own 540 students, but children from public schools within a two-mile radius. Construction will start in July. The center is expected to open in early 2015.
"Brooklyn is in the business of building healthy children and families, the foundation for our future success. Education tied to wraparound services is a common sense approach; it makes sense for students, parents and taxpayers. PS 188 will be the center — the heart — of the Coney Island community, where learning and support for students get equal billing," Adams said.
NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers will run PS 188's health and vision center working with OneSight, a global vision non-profit, and the SUNY College of Optometry. The goal is to provide sustainable high-quality, year-round health and vision care.
"Health and education are intricately connected and we believe strongly in co-locating services in schools, offering children immediate access to high quality care without sacrificing time away from school,” said Larry K. McReynolds, president of the NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers, which currently operates 28 school-based health and dental clinics in New York City. “We are committed to helping Coney Island residents who are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy."
The need for vision care was made clear in April when OneSight sent its mobile Vision Van to two UFT Community Learning Schools. More than 500 students at Brooklyn's PS 335 and MS 584 were screened for vision problems, and over 120 were found to need glasses. OneSight and volunteers from LensCrafters provided the children with free glasses that same day.
“Children who see better, learn better,” said Dr. Jason Singh, executive director of OneSight, which has provided vision care to more than 8.5 million people worldwide. "We believe all students deserve access to quality vision care and glasses to help them see and learn their best."
OneSight estimates PS 188's vision operation alone could service approximately 4,000 Brooklyn students a school year.
"About one out of every four school-aged children suffers from an undetected or untreated vision problem,” said Dr. Richard Soden, executive director of the University Eye Center and Vice President for Clinical Affairs, SUNY College of Optometry.
“This initiative offers us a unique opportunity to address this challenge where it affects children the most — in the classroom. We're proud to be partnering with the UFT, NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers, OneSight and Borough President Adams to help provide these children with a healthy environment where they can learn and thrive,” Soden said.
With today’s three additions, the UFT has 19 Community Learning Schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.
The project started in the 2012-13 school year with six schools. The UFT added 10 more schools in 2013-14 and created the non-profit NYC Community Learning Schools Initiative in 2012 to oversee the project.
The UFT is currently interviewing candidates to run an independent assessment of the impact of the Community Learning Schools Initiative on student achievement and school climate in the participating schools.
PS 18 in the South Bronx is slated to have its own health and vision center open in 2014-15. Montefiore Medical Center will operate the center working with OneSight and volunteer support from Sunglass Hut.
"Between our work, Mayor de Blasio's announcement of 40 additional Community Schools opening this fall, and other Community Schools partners, we can knock down barriers to our students' success," Mulgrew said.
The NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), based in Sunset Park, is a federally qualified community-based ambulatory health care system affiliated with NYU Lutheran. LFHC is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home. Governed by the NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers’ Board of Trustees, LFHC is one of the largest health center networks in the country serving as southwest Brooklyn's medical home for more than 45 years. With nine full-time community health centers, 28 school-based health centers and community programs, including three WIC programs, adult and family literacy programs, three child care centers and a family wellness center, the network is the primary medical provider for more than 100,000 people providing nearly 700,000 patient visits per year. Learn more at www.LutheranFamilyHealthCenters.org and visit http://bit.ly/rRGASG for nine ways to connect with Lutheran on social media.