Monday, November 23, 2020

Enroll Now In Roosevelt Island NYC DOE Learning Bridges Program For Free K-8 Child Care, Academic Support And Enrichment Activities At Sportspark And Tennis Bubble

According to the NYC Department Of Education

Learning Bridges is a new program that provides free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning.

and is available even as public schools have closed due to the rise in Coronavirus cases.

As previously reported, a Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program for K-8 grade students is available from HCK Recreation, the managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club:

... HCK Recreation Inc. recently received approval from the City of New York to provide a Learning Lab program for up to 200 seats through the Learning Bridges Initiative. This City funded program will provide, at no charge to families, academic support and enrichment activities from 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays...

... The program will utilize space in the Sportspark facility, located at 250 Main Street, and surrounding outdoor space, the north bubble of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, and Firefighters Field. The facilities were thoroughly inspected by the City, culminating in an approved air quality test. 

HCK Recreation Inc., which is the managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, was approved by the City as a qualified provider based on the combination of excellent facilities it could provide as well as HCK’s 20 plus years of experience operating summer day camps licensed by the NYC Department of Health (DOH). Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK, has past experience as the CEO of two charities, NYJTL and Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, now named New York Edge, that are together the largest (160 schools) provider of afterschool sports, arts, and academic support programs in New York City public schools. ...

... Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK stressed that, “The key to success will be our ability to provide sound academic coordination and motivating enrichment activities while maintaining a safe environment for the children and the staff. We do have, thanks to RIOC’s collaboration, fabulous spaces.” HCK has qualified staff on board and is also actively seeking approximately 25 additional staff, that include licensed teachers in math, stem, literacy and technology, college grads, and college students taking a gap year....

Roosevelt Island parents can pre-enroll their children in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges Program by calling Paul Fontana, the Director of the Roosevelt Island Learning Lab at 914 656 0614 for more information or also email at

HCK Recreation has been talking with Island Kids recently about working together on the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program at Sportspark and Tennis Bubble. The Island Kids application for a separate Learning Bridges program was rejected without explanation in October by the NYC Department of Education. The HCK application was submitted last July and they learned in October that it was accepted.

But Learning Bridges child care service is not currently available for Special Needs families.

WCBS TV Channel 2 News reported on a Roosevelt Island Special Needs family that is not able to use the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges site. 

According to CBS Channel 2 News
... "a HCK Recreation spokesperson said: ... Unfortunately, at this time, we are not able to enroll children with individualized education plans due to limitations with our program staff"....

For more info on enrolling your child in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program, call Paul Fontana at 914 656 0614 or email   


UPDATE 11/24 - HCK Recreation's Skip Hartman responded today to CBS Channel 2 News story about enrolling Roosevelt Island resident Kristin Braun's special needs daughter in the Roosevelt Island Learning Bridges program

The well publicized rejection of Kristin's daughter was actually my mistake in instructing the staff not to accept special ed children as we were not equipped to handle them. With all the start up tasks, I had not focused on this enrollment issue and did not consider the full range of children that encompasses the special ed population. 

Many children with special needs can fit in just fine, although others may not. It is a case by case matter. Our Education Specialist on staff is well versed in these issues and interviewed Kristin, Alice's mother, yesterday morning. 

We did accept Alice Bruan after we understood her needs. She was the first and only child we had rejected - so we were able to change our policy on a timely basis and correct the error. Any applicants identifying with special needs will be considered for the program on a case by case basis.