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Mar 23, 2017.

Program Director Michael Roche of IS 51R has spent the last decade of his career inspiring his students through innovative programs. Michael was nominated for a PASEsetter award. Partnership for After School Education or PASE, is a child-focused organization that promotes and supports quality afterschool programs, especially those that serve students from high-need communities.

Below is Michael’s PASEsetter nomination letter.

Michael Roche prepared for his career as an after school educator early in his youth. A lifetime resident of Staten Island, Michael attended the afterschool program at Saint Charles where he participated in the school’s basketball team. As a senior at Mont. Senior Farrell High School, he facilitated religious instruction after school for the program “Teaching the Christian Message.”  Joining the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) team in 2006, Michael started as an After School Program Assistant Director at Middle School 27. Two years later, he became the After School Program Director at Intermediate School 51 (IS 51) where he now implements innovative programs for 450 students. SASF’s program at IS 51 is comprised of creative activities that encompass youth empowerment, academic enrichment and quality collaboration with day school teachers.  Michael has developed a passionate team of employees who exemplify his after school program vision of providing enrichment resources for students and families in the Port Richmond community. The key to his success in identifying and developing high-quality staff is his ability to get the buy-in of so many Department of Education (DOE) teachers at the school to invest in the program.

Over the past 3 years, Michael has expanded the after school program activity offerings at IS 51 from 7 to over 20 which operate 6 days per week.  Michael introduced robotics to the program in which students have excelled to the point that the robotics team competed and won first place at the First Lego League Qualifier in 2016. The Jazz Band had the opportunity to play two songs at SASF’s Theater Benefit performed at the Penn Club in Manhattan’s theater district.   In collaboration with Principal Mele, Michael has developed a new leadership initiative, Virtual Enterprise, for the afterschool participants at IS51.  Virtual Enterprise is a simulated business created and run by the students under the guidance of a teacher. The program empowers students to perform the activities and handle the responsibilities involved in starting and operating a business. An authentic workplace experience is provided with the use of a classroom that has cubicles with the titles of various departments (Human Resources, Marketing, Accounting, Graphic Design), a conference table and laptops. The students are creating a customized advertising business and will compete at a regional trade show in April to present their company.

 Michael is committed to parent engagement opportunities.  He coordinates college readiness initiatives by offering college campus tours and collaborating with school staff to open a college office for all families to receive information. In recognition of the school’s large Latino population and in response to parents’ expressed need, Michael is providing Saturday workshops for families to help them become more confident and proficient in the English language. A bilingual English/Spanish teacher will facilitate workshops utilizing the language learning software, Rosetta Stone.

In addition to his after school program, Mr. Roche has provided summer day camp services for his middle school students.  With scarce summer services available in the Port Richmond community for middle school youth, his program is a much-needed resource for working families and students in need of additional academic enrichment.  The summer theater program and music programs introduce new students to IS 51 and welcome those returning.  As a community liaison, Michael provides support services such as orientations and events for elementary school students who will be transitioning into middle school.  

Michael Roche is a bright, thoughtful, strategic, caring, creative youth development and education leader who is passionate about the work he does for his students, families, and community. SASF is proud to introduce him to PASE as a 2017 PASEsetter nominee.

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