A ‘Boost’ for Bronx kids! State funds get kids out of the classroom and out in the field

A ‘Boost’ for Bronx kids! State funds get kids out of the classroom and out in the field
Photo courtesy of Senator Klein’s office

They’re bringing the field trip back to students in the East Bronx.

Project Boost — the acronym for “Building Options and Opportunities for Students” — uses state dollars to provide students with cultural experiences outside the classroom that tight school budgets often don’t allow, and now 25 Bronx schools can get in (or out) on the action thanks to $500,000 a local state senator helped secure for the program.

“Delivering a quality education means providing a whole educational experience that offers learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom,” said state Sen. Jeff Klein (D–Throggs Neck), who worked behind the scenes to get the dollars.

Supporters of the program say its awesome because it allows school administrators to decide what types of programming they want to provide.

“Jeff is really empowering the schools to do what is good for their school,” said Carl Vinci, director of Student Services for Project Boost. “It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”

Many of the schools use their money to take groups of students to museums, plays, restaurants, and events at college campuses, said Vinci — experiences most of the students wouldn’t have outside of school that gives them a taste of what they could have if they work hard and got a good education.

“The more you see, the more you want,” said Vinci.

Longtime faculty administrators pointed out that Project Boost has paid for drama club trips to Broadway shows, art club excursions to the Guggenheim Museum, and the chess club competitions across the city that have helped students socially because it gets them out of their community and allows them to interact with different people.

“It’s preparing them not just for high school, but for life,” said Victor Villegas, assistant principal at PS 105 in Pelham Bay.

And parents say experiences outside the classroom — like trips for tea at Gracie Mansion, learning how to use a sound system at the Paley Center for Media, or fourth graders competing in ballroom dancing, gives kids extra confidence in themselves.

“It’s one thing to do something in school or read about it in a book,” said Veronica Brugman, the Parent Coordinator at PS 72 in Throggs Neck. “It’s another thing to actually do it.”

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.