Over the last five years, Iris Shaw has dedicated her professional life to develop and sustain a network of programs, activities and services to address the child-care needs of youngsters in a diverse, northeast Queens community.
Hired in 1999 as the Site Director for the Samuel Field YM-YWHA/TASC PS 115Q after-school program, Shaw has managed to remain true to her vision.. to provide a much needed school-age after-school program that speaks to young children’s psycho-social development. Within the framework of an elementary school that offered little academic, recreational, social and arts-related activities during after-school hours, she found and trained dedicated staff willing to travel from all over Queens, to devote their afternoons to youngsters whose parents were unable to be with them between 3pm-6pm. In her own words, “at our site, children consistently feel valued and respected.”
Shaw’s career originally began in the classroom with pre-school age children, and after much satisfaction working with this age group, she decided to return to academia for an M.S. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. After nine-years of night school, while raising her two children (presently 10 years old and 18 years old) and working full-time, it is safe to say she has found her niche in the world. She currently is a member of PS 115’s School Leadership Team, participates on TASC’s Advisory Board as a Peer-Facilitator for Queens elementary schools, is a Peer-Fellow with The Robert Bowne Foundation doing qualitative research in the field of after-school programs, presides as a Board Member for NYSSACC (the New York affiliate of NSACA) on the Quality Improvement Workgroup, is a certified Quality Advisor with NIOST, and facilitates workshops for PASE for new and experienced TASC site coordinators.
The staff at the after school program often hear “nobody can do everything, yet everybody can do something.” At her site, each child is encouraged to be his/her best, and it is the human connection between the staff and the youngsters at the P.S. 115 after-school program, that brings lots of determination and hope to the hearts and minds of the children.