More than 30 participants logged into Zoom for an interesting and informative meeting of Community Education Council 18 (CEC 18) on Monday evening, March 6th, which featured two guest speakers and a number of pertinent District updates.
NYC Department of Health, Public Health Educator Dr. Jewel Ghosh gave an enlightening presentation on the importance of indoor air quality at home. Dr. Ghosh explained that since we spend an estimated 90% of our time indoors, where there are two to five times more pollutants than there are outdoors, it is absolutely imperative to keep homes dry, ventilated and clean in order to avoid many of the most common issues that contribute to poor air quality. He discussed mold and fungus, dust mites, pest and insect dander, as well as pollutants like aerosol sprays, scented candles, chemical cleaning products and carbon monoxide. While some of the issues he mentioned often result in headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea, others can aggravate conditions like asthma and allergies, and the worst can actually cause cancer and death. To learn more, the group was encouraged to visit nyc.gov/health/healthyhomes.
In that same spirit, a representative from the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit provided an in-depth look at fire prevention and discussed some of the most common causes of fire in the home. The captain explored the dangers of smoking indoors, burning candles, overloading electrical sockets, and using outdated space heaters, heated blankets and extension cords without the UL logo that ensures proper testing. He also explained how dangerous it can be to use aftermarket chargers for electronic devices and warned against charging any device under a pillow or blanket that could heat up and possibly light, and charging e-bikes indoors. The captain encouraged attendees to invest in a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen since grease fires are so common and to make sure their fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date and fully functional at all times. He also invited everyone to visit soundthealarm.com or call (877) 733-2767 to have new units installed free of charge.
Standing in for District 18 Superintendent Celeste Terry, Deputy Superintendent Daveida Daniel shared data pertaining to chronic absenteeism – when a student misses 10% or more of the academic year, at least 18 days, for any reason, excused or unexcused. With chronic absenteeism at an unprecedented high citywide and estimates that nearly 41% of students fell into this category during the 2021-2022 school year, those in attendance were happy to learn that District 18 ranked second in the City for attendance year to date. Daniel explained that District 18 had 90% attendance in February of this year and that by June, their chronic absenteeism rate was estimated to decrease by at least 5% from the 2021-2022 school year, from 41.7% to a projected 36%. She also shared news of a new partnership with Goalsetter (founded by a Brooklyn Mom) and Wells Fargo Bank that is being piloted to 8th grade students that will promote financial literacy.
The next meeting of CEC 18 will be held on Monday, April 3rd at 7 p.m. via Zoom.