Support the Darien Road Race on 9/16/18!
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September 16th is the 39th annual Darien Road Race for the benefit of the Community Fund of Darien, a longtime Carver donor! Please considering participating in this fun family event.

Everyone is welcome! The Darien Road Race is The Community Fund’s largest fundraiser, and they would love your support – not to mention a lot of fun in a beautiful setting.

Please see the Darien Road Race details here!

This fun event begins at Pear Tree Point Beach in Darien at 9AM for the "fun run" and at 9:30AM for the 5 mile run. 

Thanks everyone who supports this important charity and their most important annual event!

Jim Schaffer
Images of Parent Night at the Carver Community Center Summer Camp!

See all the images at Facebook here!

During each summer, our campers learn and play and discover new fields of interest inspired by field trips near and far. We take the learning very seriously, though for the kids it feels like play.

One other objective is for each age group to prepare for Parent Night! They learn skits and dances and other performances to delight their families. Here are a few images at Facebook of the great time everyone enjoyed yesterday evening at Parent Night at the Carver Community Center! 

Jim Schaffer
Images of Parent Night at Columbus Magnet School Summer Camp!

See the images at Facebook here!

During each summer, our campers learn and play and discover new fields of interest inspired by field trips near and far. We take the learning very seriously, though for the kids it feels like play.

One other objective is for each age group to prepare for Parent Night! They learn skits and dances and other performances to delight their families. Here are a few images at Facebook of the great time everyone enjoyed yesterday evening at Parent Night at Columbus Magnet School! 

Jim Schaffer
Images of the last days of summer 2018 at Carver!

Here are images at Columbus Magnet School and at the Carver Community Center today (stored in Facebook albums) of our campers at play and preparing for Parent Night this evening. 

Carver’s Summer Enrichment Programs at the Carver Community Center and at Columbus Magnet School are among the most affordable and high-quality programs available to (200) Norwalk students ages 5 through 13 years old. The program offerings range from swimming to project-based and hands-on personalized learning to prepare students for the coming school year. The summer literacy program, facilitated by certified teachers, uses the myON and Lexia Reading Core 5 software to provide personalized learning. NPS certified teachers also teach math sessions, the two primary programs are TimezAttack and ThinkCentral. TimezAttack is a computer-based math fact game that strongly supports fact fluency. ThinkCentral is the online component of the GO Math Common Core math program used in NPS K-5 classes. A Computer Adaptive (CAT) intervention targets individual strengths and weaknesses. Summer camp program partners include Girl Scouts, The Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk Grassroots Tennis and The Norwalk Seaport Association. Noteworthy also are the age appropriate field trips that reinforce learning such as to the Peabody Museum, CT Science Center, Discovery Museum, NBC Studio Tour, Stamford Nature Center, Beardsley Zoo, Bishop Orchards, New York Botanical Gardens and Maritime Aquarium. Fun outings included trips to the beach, Lake Compounce, Playland, My Three Sons, and New Roc City.


The summer of 2018 was a great one for everyone! Learning and friendships will endure into the new school that gets underway this fall. 

Jim Schaffer
Community Fund of Darien generously renews its support of Carver programming!
 (L-R) The Community Fund of Darien's incoming Board President, Frank Huck; the Board Chair of Grants, Cindy Banks; Nikki LaFaye, Carver's Director of Philanthropy; and the Community Fund of Darien's Director of Development, Laurie Orem.

(L-R) The Community Fund of Darien's incoming Board President, Frank Huck; the Board Chair of Grants, Cindy Banks; Nikki LaFaye, Carver's Director of Philanthropy; and the Community Fund of Darien's Director of Development, Laurie Orem.

Carver is deeply grateful for the long-term and generous annual support we receive from The Community Fund of Darien.  Here is a photo of Nikki LaFaye receiving the 2018-2019 grant award of $40,000 for our after-school Youth Development Program and our Summer Enrichment Program. 

For more than 68 years (almost as old as Carver!), The Community Fund of Darien’s mission has been to help Darien and their neighbors in Stamford and Norwalk by investing in programs aimed at improving the quality of life for all.

In addition to its community initiatives, The Community Fund of Darien awards grants to local nonprofits helping to address a broad spectrum of vital human services including mental health, substance abuse, at-risk youth, homelessness, hunger, child abuse, special needs and more.

The Community Fund of Darien is made possible by many generous people changing lives with their investments of time, expertise and support. They improve the quality of life for their many beneficiaries through responsible, conscientious and strategic grantmaking through annual grants, small and emergency grants and their Touch a Life Fund. Through their initiative and leadership, The Community Fund of Darien brings social service professionals and Darien town leaders to assess needs, evaluate services, identify and pursue solutions. 

Thank You to all the donors and staff who make The Community Fund of Darien so insightful and generous!

Jim Schaffer
Inner-City Foundation For Charity & Education supports Carver's Middle School Summer Transition Program

The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education awarded Carver a competitive grant of $10,000 for our middle school summer transition program. 

Here are photos of our students attending our summer transition program at Roton Middle School.

Carver offers a comprehensive summer program to help incoming middle school students to each of Norwalk's four middle schools to be positive and look forward to the coming year. Led by each school's certified teachers, Carver's summer program helps students form a realistic expectation of what middle school will be like, it provides a positive and successful first impression, and it insures a successful introduction to the middle school experience. Parents, too, have their concerns and questions answered about their children's transition from elementary to middle school. 

Carver's summer transition program involves all the stakeholders: students, school personnel, and parents. Incoming middle school students experience a variety of activities preparing them for middle school. They have the opportunity to meet other middle school students and their teachers. Educators provide activities for students that lessen their concerns, build their confidence, and reduce their anxiety. 

The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education has consistently supported Carver through the years. The Foundation has awarded over $29 million in grants to many worthy charities such as Carver since 1992, including $15 million in scholarship aid for inner-city school students, and $6.4 million to social service agencies that provide food, clothing, health services, counseling, transportation and shelter to those in need. In addition, the Foundation has awarded another $7.7 million to support programs for students with learning disabilities, recreation and education programs for children, and adult literacy and job-training programs that empower individuals to become self-sufficient.

The Carver community is deeply grateful for the crucial financial support and encouragement it receives from the Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education. 

Jim Schaffer
Carver campers visit Stepping Stones Museum for Children!

Yesterday, as they do each summer, our summer enrichment camp students visit Stepping Stones Museum for Children, which is just down the street from the Carver Community Center.  Stepping Stones is a hands-on children's museum for ages 10 and under. 

The museum's interactive exhibit areas include: "Energy Lab"; a "Multimedia Gallery" with a theater, a state-of-the-art broadcast studio, and an 35-foot high-definition screen; "Healthyville", with exhibits about bodies and healthy living; "Family and Teacher Resource Center" where parents, caregivers and teachers have access to the latest and best information and programs about learning through play, early literacy, 21st century learning skills and the developmental needs of young children, helping them to facilitate a child’s learning – at home or at school.

The entrance lobby houses ColorCoaster, a 27-foot (8.2 m) kinetic sculpture designed by artist George Rhoads.


The garden features three Kinetic Energy Sculptures that use local solar, wind and water energy to delight and instruct museum-goers. This colorful set of kinetic sculptures demonstrate simple principles of energy generation while creating percussive music.

Carver kids love Stepping Stones! 

Jim Schaffer
Images of Carver's Summer Students at Play and Learning

See all the images here at Facebook. Here are a few images taken over the past two days at Carver's Technology Center and the summer transition programs at Ponus Ridge Middle School, Norwalk High School, and at West Rocks Middle School (held at Silvermine Elementary School) during a chemistry experiment and a visit from Breadsley Zoo and their animals!

Jim Schaffer
Breadsley Zoo visits West Rocks summer transition program!

Carver summer transition programs are designed to help incoming 6th and 9th grade student’s transition into Norwalk’s four middle and two high schools. Programming includes individualized instruction, parental involvement, small group learning experiences, diverse enrichment activities, free transportation, and full-day activities benefiting working families. Students learn the basics of navigating their respective new schools.


Today, Beardsley Zoo visited our students who are transitioning into West Rocks Middle School. The zoo's core education program, the Conservation Discovery Corps (CDC), is a science and conservation-based program for high school students ages 14–18. Participants are trained in both zoo and field research, and are given an inside perspective on the operations of the zoo and gain experience in conservation education, public service, and public speaking. The students also work side-by-side with licensed field biologists, study the role of zoos in conservation, and help educate zoo visitors. Two of these high school students accompanied the zoo leaders and the animals visiting with future West Rocks students today!

Jim Schaffer
New Canaan Advertiser: Russo is Carver’s ‘High School Volunteer’

See the article here at the New Canaan Advertiser

New Canaan High School student Kiera Russo was recognized by Carver Community Center as High School Volunteer of the Year at the annual Testimonial Dinner June 12.

Every year Carver honors college graduates, high school graduates, most improved students of the year, and other levels of graduation and achievement.

The Carver Center provides after school and summer programs for students in Norwalk. 

“For my 16th birthday party, instead of receiving gifts, I asked all of those invited to donate to the Carver Center if they were interested,” Kiera told the Advertiser. “I clearly have some pretty amazing friends and family, because we were able to gift the Carver Center with new sports equipment, basketballs for example; and new books and arts and crafts.”

She added that it was her first time working with the organization. It inspired her to start the Carver Cares club at New Canaan High School. Club volunteers go to Carver every month to spend time with children there, Kiera said. In addition, a walkathon in the spring raised $1,400.

“I’m so happy to have contributed just a little support to the Carver Center, as they have always supported my endeavors. Although I may be just a small part of the Carver Center’s world, that organization has truly made all the difference in mine.”

 Kiera Russo is seated at the head of the table among her fellow volunteers from New Canaan High School

Kiera Russo is seated at the head of the table among her fellow volunteers from New Canaan High School

Jim Schaffer
The Hour: Mo's Summer Run at Carver

Carver Foundation pickup games draw in city’s basketball talent

By Justin Papp  SEE the article here

NORWALK — Friday nights in the Carver Foundation gym, DJ Juelz is both emcee and official.

Stationed with his laptop and speakers in a corner of the small gym the night of July 20, he blasted hip-hop music, pausing to use his mic to yell “cookies” — basketball slang — when one of the roughly 20 players at Mo’s Summer Run had the ball stolen.

After one particularly contentious game ended with a next-basket-wins overtime and the losing team was slow to cede the court, Juelz intervened.

“You want to play again, sign up on ‘the board,’” Juelz barked to the losing team, who eventually shuffled off the court.

At Mo’s Summer Run, an all-summer open gym for local basketball players at Carver begun in 2009, Friday nights are alumni night. Players who honed their skills at Carver and then went on to high school, collegiate and, in some cases, professional careers, show up to flaunt their talents or settle decades-old scores on the court with rivals from the area.

And to these players “the board” is a critical document....

See the balance of the article here.

Jim Schaffer
See images from our summer transition program for rising 9th graders at Brien McMahon High School!

As the summer begins to draw to a close for the rising 9th graders at Brien McMahon High School, below is a brief description of what they have been experiencing at our summer transition program. Also, see the images throughout this post taken at the high school and during some of the many field trips they took.

Each summer, Carver conducts the Freshman Summer Success Academy at Brien McMahon and Norwalk High Schools. Rising 9th graders participate in our 5-week summer program.  Several years of successfully running the Freshman Success Summer Academy show marked improvement for our Carver students once they enter into high school!

Research suggests that the most difficult transition point in education is from middle to high school. Navigating a larger environment, excelling in rigorous courses, meeting graduation requirements, and juggling competing priorities can be quite challenging. The Freshman Success Summer Academy serves as a necessary bridge into high school. 

Students enrolling in the program participate in academic courses, participate in the school’s advisory program, and take field trips to enhance team building and the academic program. Breakfast and lunch are provided for free each day. 

Advisory is an integral part of the student’s high school program because it helps students make new friends and form a connection to their new high school. Its mission is to prepare students for life’s transitions, including career development and post-secondary opportunities, through meaningful connections. Students participate in a weekly advisory meeting throughout the summer program.


Through reading of the text “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” by Sean Covey, students discuss and reflect in journal format the ideas and concepts presented. Students practice in active reading strategies that will help them navigate and successfully manage the amount of required reading on the high school level.


Students participate in hands-on activities to prepare for high school science courses. They practice lab specific math skills, science inquiry, graphing data, collaborative and independent work habits in lab settings, while completing engaging scientific investigations


Students learn the basics of navigating high school, including reading a transcript, understanding graduation requirements, earning credits in courses, and looking ahead to potential career options. Students also use Naviance/Family Connection to develop an individualized Student Success Plan to identify needs and interests and set future goals.


Students use this course to plan for their Student-Led-Conference (SLC) The format of SLC puts the 

student at center of the conversation in assessing their success. Students present work samples and identify areas of strengths and those in need of improvement. Parents are invited to participate. Formal invitations will be sent home.



This course helps students bridge the gap between Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. Math concepts that are highlighted include computations, problem solving, solving equations, and graphing. Students practice the mathematical skills necessary for success in high school.

S.W.A.G. Skills (Study Everyday, Work Hard, Achieve your Goals, Graduate with Honors)

Featuring the essential learning strategies for becoming a better student, this course helps students learn how to prepare for class, use organizational and time management strategies, and identify effective study skills. 


This course focuses on getting students ready for 9th grade world history. Using academic sources, discussion, and group work, students investigate historical events. Students practice research and presentation skills in preparation for 9th grade research projects. 

Jim Schaffer
Carver summer campers learn to swim at the Y!

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA at the Wilton branch is an integral part of the Carver community. The Y shares its human and physical resources with other agencies such as Carver that can benefit from collaboration. 

Right now, the Y Youth Swimming Lesson Program is helping Carver summer campers to become competent and confident swimmers! Children are introduced to the water through a graduated series of lessons developed and standardized by the YMCA of the USA. The program is divided into age groups, and children move through the levels at their own pace as their abilities and skills grow. 

Carver's beginning swimmers work on water acclimation, safety, and basic swimming skills. Children may or may not swim independently with a float belt. Our more advanced youth work on swim strokes for front and back, safety, self-confidence, and endurance. 

It's collaborations like this with the Y that make the goals and dreams of our youth possible.

THANK YOU, the Y! 

Jim Schaffer
Carver campers visit the Maritime Aquarium to meet the sharks, otters, sea turtles, jellies, and so much more!

The Maritime Aquarium is Carver's science partner throughout the year, during summer and then after school during the school year. 

The Maritime Aquarium is approximately 140,000 square feet and has more than 177,000 gallons of water in its live animal exhibits. On exhibit are more than 2,000 marine animals and reptiles, representing in excess of 300 species. Its 93 exhibit tanks range in size from 10 to 110,000 gallons. There are two exhibit pools: seals and ray touch. Off-exhibit are more than 30 additional tanks and a small pool.


The aquarium has a display of detailed ship models with 14 in cases, as well as charts and interpretive signs. In the ship model area and throughout the Cascade Cafe are signs describing the nautical origins of many popular sayings, for example, "bitter end," "scuttlebutt," "let the cat out of the bag," "under the weather," and "three squares a day."

Carver campers love the Maritime Aquarium!

Jim Schaffer
How Carver summer programs keep the learning "faucet" running

Carver provides Freshman Summer Success Academies for graduated 8th-grade students transitioning into 9th grade at Norwalk and Brien McMahon High Schools.  Carver provides a Summer Middle School Transition Program for 5th-grade students transitioning into Norwalk’s four middle schools. Carver provides two summer enrichment programs for chidren aged K-13 at the Carver Community Center and Columbus Magnet School. Carver is given free access to each school’s facilities and resources free of charge. 

A Brookings Institute article written by David M. Quinn and Morgan Polikoff explains disappointing—but unsurprising—statistics about the summer slide, a term used to describe the academic regression experienced by students over the summer.

A few keys facts:

  • Learning and achievement is perishable. The average student loses a month of academic-calendar learning each summer.
  • The impact of the summer slide contributes to a more pronounced achievement gap.
  • Research has found a link between socioeconomic status and the loss of reading skills experienced over the summer.
  • Studies show older students lose more over the summer than younger ones.
  • Students see greater academic dips in math than in reading.

After mapping out the summer slide and its impact on students, Quinn and Polikoff go on to describe the “faucet theory” from the book “Summer Learning and Home Environment.” This theory provides a hypothesis for to why the summer slide hits lower-income children harder. 

The “resource faucet’ is on for all students during the school year,” Quinn and Polikoff explain, “enabling all students to make learning gains. Over the summer, however, the flow of resources slows for students from disadvantaged backgrounds but not for students from advantaged backgrounds. Higher-income students tend to continue to have access to financial and human capital resources (such as parental education) over the summer, thereby facilitating learning.”

Thanks to your support, since 2005, 100% of Carver seniors have graduated on time. Carver infuses high expectations, academic rigor, and healthy relationships into its youth development approach to instruction. Carver provides support that recognizes individual strengths, needs, and learning styles. Carver interventions and supports align with the Norwalk Public Schools 2019 Strategic Operating Plan aimed at closing the Achievement Gap. 

Carver keeps the "faucet" of resources running all through the year for its students and even after they go to college. 


Jim Schaffer
Summer Learning with myOn Reader at the Carver Community Center and at Columbus Magnet School

myON Reader provides unlimited access to a broad collection of digital texts that are available for online and offline reading, and dynamically generates a list of just-right titles for each student that matches his or her current interests, grade, and Lexile® level.

Research shows that students tend to read more when they have choice and ownership over their reading and learning. That's the core concept behind myON! Flexible scaffolds, including professionally-recorded audio, text highlighting, an embedded dictionary and a zoom feature, make texts more accessible for students.

Students can choose titles from their recommended list or from the full myON library available under Carver's subscription. Student reading engagement and growth are measured in real time. Students, educators, and families use the data available at their fingertips about reading activity and growth to celebrate success, build motivation, and support differentiated instruction. 

myON Reader includes enhanced digital texts in English and Spanish from respected publishers in a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Optional reading supports and a suite of reading and writing tools foster deep connections to the text.

myON News delivers age-appropriate news articles for students, reporting on timely topics and current events through a series of five daily news articles, 52 weeks a year. Articles are available in English, Spanish and French. Coverage includes high-interest US and world news as well as arts and entertainment, sports, science and technology, and more.

Jim Schaffer