Academic and expanded learning opportunities developed for students served at The Commons are based on the principles of Strycker’s Bay Neighborhood Council’s highly successful LACASA Youth Program.

Founded in 1993, LACASA was built on the philosophy that children, when given the opportunity to grow within a safe and nurturing environment, are able to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. LACASA itself is an acronym for Learning Action Center for Academic Success & Achievement. The LACASA program is designed to incorporate project-based learning by exposing students to a variety of activities and disciplines that offer opportunities for creative exploration and self-expression. LACASA Youth Workers are trained in Social and Emotional Learning practices, so that the whole participant is receiving support in all areas of their time with us.

Elementary

LACASA @ The Commons (De Hostos Community Center)
This program primarily uses a cohort model. Our goal is to provide a variety of services to our youth from the beginning of their time with us in Kindergarten through their second year in college. Participants in this program receive literacy intervention through our evening Reading Buddies program (supported by a partnership with the Jewish Community Center), project based learning in area subjects, and math literacy support. Open from 2:45 to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday, after school programming is provided to students in grades K-5 and includes homework help, snack time, and enrichment activities designed to meet the individual needs of students, as voiced by their parents and school personnel.

The Young People’s Project
Students in grades 3 and 4 receive math literacy instruction twice per week as part of their afterschool activities. The Young People’s Project (YPP), based on the Algebra Project, encourages children to think creatively when applying mathematical concepts, while building academic resiliency and increasing academic confidence.

Middle School

Each One Teach One Program
The Strycker’s Bay/DOME Project philosophy of aspiring toward and achieving academic success is exemplified through the diverse components of the Each One Teach One (EOTO) Middle School Initiative at The Commons. EOTO exemplifies the LACASA legacy of mentoring and building positive relationships, which will result in lifelong community connections. Components of the program include: Homework Help, Monday Evening Tutoring, Civic Engagement, Physical Fitness, High School Application Assistance, Higher Learning & Educational Access, and Project Based Learning through a social justice lens.

High School

YPP/Math Literacy Workers
YPP is a national non-profit organization that uses Math Literacy Work to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life, and in doing so involves them in efforts to eliminate institutional obstacles to their success. YPP envisions a day when every young person — regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class — has access to a high quality education and the skills, attributes, and community support s/he needs to successfully meet the challenges of their generation.

At the Commons, YPP is an opportunity for our teen participants to develop new skill sets in a nurturing, structured environment while compensating them with both personal development and employment. It is also an integral part of the academic portion of the afterschool programming delivered by LACASA at The Commons.

Expanded Learning and Youth Leadership

Academic Support Program K-12
Our academic support program at The Commons pairs students in grades K-12 with carefully selected volunteers, through our partnerships with the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and New York Cares. Support services include one on one tutoring services for participants enrolled in our programs. Students in grades K-5, who are in need of literacy intervention, participate in our Reading Buddies Program. Older students in need of support in various subjects participate in our weekly one on one tutoring services. Our participants are paired with a tutor, who they remain with for the duration of the school year. Every session focuses on one particular subject area in need of improvement, as indicated by each student’s individual academic needs, as well as input from parents/guardians and school personnel. Program participants receive ongoing, intensive educational support, targeted tutoring, skills building, and test preparation assistance from their assigned tutors. Our Program Coordinator,who supervises the sessions, assists our volunteers to ensure they are effectively meeting student needs.

Night Scholars (Drop In Services)
Night Scholars engages teens in programming from 6:00-9:00 PM on weekdays, 4:00-9:00 PM on Saturdays, and 3:00-11:00 PM everyday in the summer. This programming was inspired by the Mayor’s drop-in initiative to keep teens engaged and off the streets. The De Hostos Community Center is used as a space for both learning and fun, with a structure that encourages academics before entertainment. Commons Night Scholars are expected to attend study hall and a structured activity before free time at the center is allowed. This program model ensures that teens get what they want while they get what they need.

Saturday STEM Program
The Parris Foundation is dedicated to promoting educational opportunities and fostering awareness in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) via scholarships and community outreach programs. The Parris Foundation currently fulfills its mission by:

  • Servicing disenfranchised communities by providing access to STEM education
  • Providing scholarships to students from disadvantaged, socio-economic backgrounds enrolled at an accredited college or university pursuing a degree in a STEM discipline
  • Collaborating with organizations focused on improving access to technology for low-income families

Learn more about their programs, and how to enroll, here.

Summer Day Camp
LACASA summer day camp provides seven weeks of adventure during the summer months from July through August. Day camp activities are designed to expose campers to various cultural institutions and attractions throughout New York City and incorporate the arts in diverse learning activities.