Since 2003: Creative Teachers, Targeted Learning

GOAL - Giving Open Access to Learning, is a New York City based nonprofit program established in 2003 to provide structured educational and motivational programs that help children from under-served communities. GOAL is special: We seek to identify the students in their East Harlem community who need us most and then support the most creative teachers in their own schools to design curriculum that the teachers are passionate about as they present it in small groups with much attention to individual student needs. This student-centered after-school program, housed at P.S./I.S. 171 and P.S./M.S. 108 in East Harlem, serves over 100 students in grades three through eight during the regular school year, Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday.  GOAL programming represents an early intervention strategy to help under-served children succeed in school so they will have more opportunities to determine the quality of their lives and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. An important direct program benefit is the establishment of a pattern of successful student behavior in primary school that, in turn, has been shown to correlate to the increased probability of success in succeeding school years.

Our program curriculum integrates technology, project-based learning and real-world experiences to expose students to a world of opportunities otherwise not available to them. Our program methodology is aligned with the Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets, emphasizing social and emotional learning. Program attributes include strong school and parental support, expert teachers, a committed board of directors, and impressive feedback by means of screening and evaluation instruments designed especially for GOAL.

Experienced Based, Small Groups

GOAL teachers engage their participants in a variety of activities; through cross-curricular education, reinforcing an historical lesson with a sketching exercise, or enriching written material with student-produced film adaptations. Focused units on pre-determined topics and themes allow for overlapping and content mastery. Program courses this year are intended to develop communications and arts skills, self-confidence, resourcefulness and a positive view for the future. Courses focus on experienced-based learning and life-skills and include: cooking for a healthy lifestyle, art and design, GOAL chorus, cultural studies, drama and theater, painting, performing arts, fitness, young geographers, writing travelers, and technology.

GOAL has a full-time presence in P.S./I.S. 171 operating September through June (10 months).  Students attend GOAL Tuesday through Thursday from 2:20 pm -5:00 pm. GOAL has a part-time presence in P.S./M.S. 108 operating September through June (10 months).  Students attend GOAL Wednesday and Thursday from 2:30 pm-5:00 pm.  During the weekday program, students are separated into small groups of varied grade levels. There are seven teachers at P.S./ I.S. 171, three program aides and several High School aides, who are GOAL graduates. There are nine teachers at P.S./M.S. 108, as well as one teacher in charge working at this site.  GOAL employs a parent coordinator for each site. 

Continuing Relationships, Community Service

To cement a continuing relationship with our students, GOAL also stresses out-of-school activities that foster confidence, social skills and good citizenship.  GOAL students from both schools are invited to participate in the Saturday program from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on one Saturday per month.  Saturday GOAL involves opportunities for volunteering and giving back to the community, organized sports activities, organized cooking and healthy lifestyle experiences, use of the computer lab for projects and research, arts and crafts projects, music-making opportunities, and trips to New York’s many cultural and historical sites. Activities take place in the schoolyard in the early fall and spring, and in the gym, cafeteria, and auditorium in the winter.  Three teachers, two teacher aides, and two student aides supervise the Saturday program. Further, each summer GOAL provides week-end and overnight adventures such as visits to the historical sites of Philadelphia and Washington, DC, and camping in the Catskills and Poconos.

At GOAL, we seek to open access to learning and spur love of lifelong learning and confidence in under-served students whose potential would otherwise go unrealized.