21C’s original strategic plan focused on the following desired outcomes:

  1. Ensure quality health and mental health care for all children.
  2. Ensure that every child is in a safe, secure, and caring environment.
  3. Provide opportunities and support for all children to learn and achieve, in and out of school.
  4. Promote family support for, and involvement with, their children.
  5. Provide a comprehensive means of receiving and disseminating information.
  6. Ensure that children in trouble get help.
  7. Attain the community support and involvement necessary to achieve these goals and objectives.
  8. (Later) Design an organizational structure to support the plan.

Our primary ‘delivery device’ for the ongoing activities to realize these outcomes are the schools’ Family Resource Centers. Each is guided by school goals, and responds according to its local community. Indeed Rockland schools run the gamut from rich to poor, from diverse to increasingly minority-majority. But, all offer a mix of:

  • Early childhood development programs, including home-visiting
  • Family and community engagement programs
  • Student development programs, including literacy support
  • Family support, including translations and information and referral services.

From Dr. Edward Zigler, the esteemed developer of the Yale School of the 21st Century Program and one of the architects of the national Head Start program, we have a limitless, strength-based belief in the importance of the family as the foundation of all learning, and seek to meet the parents where they are (not where we may want them to be). Coordinators put their needs and interests first and seek to voice them at school governance tables. As an initiative, and also as a legacy from Dr. Zigler, we look to engage parents as early as possible through home-visiting (thank to many donors, and United Way of Rockland) and free preschool story hours and playgroups in schools, libraries, and downtown locations.

21C unites funding streams:

  • School district Title, grant, and tax levy dollars, plus a BOCES Coser dedicated to professional development and services
  • County contract agency funding

Thanks to school board and superintendent buy-in, 21C also leverages commitments of other funds, such as BOCES’ partnership with the Mental Health Association of Westchester; EPIC parent programs in East Ramapo; AmeriCorps funding from OCFS, Town of Ramapo funds, and the Rockland County Department of Health’s commitment to school health, and more.

Other partners offer their programs to schools, with coordinators assisting in their implementation: Network coordinated services across districts (MHA of Rockland); Office for New Americans ESL classes in Ramapo Central; The Haverstraw Community Center serving as a downtown site for the North Rockland FRC, etc.