"Parents need to be made aware of the schools that are closing, and the new ones coming in. Moreover, I want to empower parents, allowing them to play a greater role in developing the next generation of Bronx schools," said the Senator, a member of both the Education and Higher Education Committees in the State Senate.
The Education Forum, which took place at the Patterson Community Center in Mott Haven, was co-sponsored by the Patterson Houses Tenant Association
The first half of the event addressed public school education. Panelists included: Jacqui Lipson, Community Education Council Administrative Coordinator for the Department of Education (DOE); Joshua Morales, Director of the DOE Charter School Office; Justino Rodriguez, Chair of the Bronx Community Board 1 Education Committee; and Lakisha Walker, Public School 18 PTA President.
Carlos Ventura, from the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), was on hand to discuss Project Inspyre. The program seeks to reduce crime, delinquency, and truancy by helping student stay in school.
The second panel provided parents with information on getting into and paying for college. The panel featured Lee Llambelis, Director of Intergovernmental Relations for New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. Ms. Llambelis discussed how families can protect themselves against predatory student lending.
"All families deserve to have the knowledge and tools to choose the loan that best suits their needs," said Lee Llambelis, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. "We are excited to bring Attorney General Cuomo's Student Loan Education Initiative to the South Bronx and work alongside Senator José M. Serrano to help educate students in the South Bronx community."
Yvonne Przybyla, Community Liaison in Senator Serrano's office, made a presentation on state-funded financial aid and academic support programs for low-income New Yorkers. She was joined by Dr. Maudette Brownlee, Director of the Seek Program at The City College of New York.
The Senator said: "Here's the message I want you to take home tonight. For every child in the Bronx who wants to attend college, there is not a reason in the world she should not go. Not money, not time, not the neighborhood where you grew up."
He added, "Opportunities abound, and we must do all that we can to identify and take advantage of them. What is more, I want you to consider my office a resource and ally as we continue to raise the bar on Bronx education."