Carver in the news today: In Norwalk, education conversation centers on whole student

Here is the article in the Connecticut Post

Here is the news in Nancy on Norwalk

Here’s the news at WTNH

Here is more news about the Dalio Foundation and its work in Norwalk and throughout the state.

…On Wednesday morning, it was a race to a classroom at Tracey Elementary School, where Lamont was escorted by his fifth grade guide to a class where math problems were being scribbled on desks tops coated with an erasable surfaces.

“I love to see how much joy there is in the classrooms,” said Lamont. “This went from a school where not everyone wanted to go to somewhere everyone wants to go.”

The reason, officials say, can be traced to School Principal Theresa Rangel’s decision three years ago to focus on teaching to both the emotional and intellectual side of a child.

As a result, academic achievement started to rise, making Tracey School the poster child for the findings of a new report, “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope.”

…Also listening is Barbara Dalio of Greenwich, one of the state’s leading philanthropists whose foundation sits on the SEAD Commission and helped fund the study with a $500,000 grant.

“It would be so exciting for Connecticut to lead the nation in social and emotional learning and academic development,” said Dalio who was also on the tour.

Dalio is no stranger to Norwalk Public Schools, having volunteered and provided financial support to many endeavors. She has worked as a volunteer in an alternative high school in the city for several years. Since 2012, the Dalio Foundation has donated more than $7.6 million to the Norwalk school system, the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, and the Carver Foundation.

The Carver Foundation has also started working in a Bridgeport after school program….

See the entire article the CT Post!

A day in the life of Carver at Classical Studies Magnet Academy in Bridgeport!

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Carver is very enthusiastic about and proud of our partnership with the Classical Studies Magnet Academy (CSMA) in Bridgeport. This is a "themed" Pre-K to 8th grade public school in Bridgeport’s West Side neighborhood for more than 400 students. Its curriculum of classical literature, art and music utilizes the Paideia instructional methodology (traditional lecturing, coaching, and the Socratic method of extended discussion). Instruction is project-based, involving frequent assemblies, presentations and field trips. CSMA occupies a 123-year-old structure, the oldest school still in use by the district. The school also rents a nearby closed Catholic school for their Pre-K to 2nd grade students.

Carver afterschool programming extends the school day with hands-on and project-based learning opportunities. Carver also brings in to the school many professionals from the area who are experts in their respective fields, such as in the STEAM subjects. Some of these partners are Bagwell Academy of Martial Arts, Discovery Museum, Mad Science, Maritime Aquarium, Stepping Stones Museum, Kids Fashion, and the Scratch Coding Club.

Some of the student activities at CSMA are the CSMA Film Club, Vocabulary Bowl, Culinary Collaborative, Add it All Up! (mathematics), Robust Robotics, Creative Connections, Phonics Frenzy & Voluminous Vocabulary, On The Mat (Yoga, as seen in the images below), Musical Melodies, It’s Getting Hot in Here! (their unique approach to learning STEAM subjects), Building Champions/Boys with Pride (learning leadership and social skills), IQ-G Kids (deductive reasoning), Crochet Club, and the Stock Market Challenge.

Here are a few images of a day at CSMA. Enjoy!

Carver youth in our K-5 CASPER program and in our tech center

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Carver conducts a K-5 after school program at the Carver Community Center called CASPER. These students also follow a personalized learning path with placement and pacing in activities designed to meet their individual needs while meeting the most rigorous academic standards. Certified NPS teachers facilitate literacy and math intervention programs.

The Charlotte Naomi Horblit Technology Center on the second floor of the Carver Community Center is named for its generous benefactor. With rows of dozens of PCs and eight iMacs in the center, a very large SmartBoard, and other learning tools such as scanners and printers, all our K-12 students have a chance to learn on state of the art equipment.

Here are a few photos taken today that capture glimpses of our students at the Carver Community Center doing their homework, learning IT skills, and simply enjoying fellowship one with another.

The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra puts the "A" for Arts into Carver STEAM Programming!

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Norwalk Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO) Not Just for Kids Program, a longtime Carver STEAM programming partner, expanded its contribution to six programs in Carver’s 2018/2019 school year! The new programming is conducted at Norwalk City Hall instead of at the Carver Community Center, though the beneficiaries remain Carver’s K-5 after school CASPER students.

See the 2018/2019 NSO Not Just for Kids Program schedule here!

The next program for Carver kids will be on Friday, February 8th at Norwalk City Hall, when the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a concert version of West Side Story for its February Broadway concert. Celebrating the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, the Symphony is pleased to be chosen to perform this limited release version of the timeless classic musical.

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The Not Just for Kids Program theme and content is always tied to NSO’s concert schedule. The Not Just for Kids Program offers students a fun and interactive opportunity for NSO musicians to personally engage students. These professionals demonstrate their instruments, permit the children to handle the instruments and make sounds/music with them, and they answer questions about the musical instruments, music in general, and music as a career. The NSO presentations are made for all instrument families: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. 

Music education improves academic performance, awakens creativity, heightens self-esteem, and adds to the overall sense of accomplishment for Carver students. Study after study proves that regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students do better in school than those who have no music involvement. Whether it is improved spatial-temporal reasoning, which is integral to math, or repetition of tunes and melodies, which is integral to verbal memory, learning, playing and creating music.

The Carver community is deeply grateful for all that the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra continues to give to Norwalk’s young people.  

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Thank you for 80 years of support and inspiration!

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Dear students, staff, alumni, volunteers, and our many generous friends,

2018 has been a year of great momentum. As 2019 approaches, we look forward to continued excellence and new advancements in our after school, summer and community programs.

Carver endures after 80 years because Carver changes. This past year we launched new initiatives and new partnerships in new schools that will strengthen Carver youth and their families for generations to come. At the same time, we reaffirmed commitments that will stand us in good stead as we move deeper into the 21st century.

At heart, of course, Carver is about people. This year, we welcomed new staff and expanded the circle of students receiving our support. We imagined a world improved by our individual and collective efforts and we are acting on that bold vision.

Looking now toward 2019, we begin again, guided by our history and inspired by one another. As we prepare to greet the New Year, I want to thank you for your continuing commitment to Building Lifetime Achievers.

I sincerely wish you and your family a joyous holiday and all the very best for a happy and healthy New Year.

With gratitude,

Novelette Peterkin, CEO

Novelette Peterkin, CEO

A generous donor gives 100 Carver students Nike shoes of their choice!

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Thanks to a very generous anonymous donor, 100 Carver kids received exactly what they wished for this Christmas: a new pair of Nike shoes!

Carver staff worked with each of the lucky students to select a pair of sneakers of their choosing from Nike.com. Over the last two weeks, Novelette’s office at the Carver Community Center looked like a Nike retail store once all the shoes were delivered.

Some students also received gift cards to purchase other items like socks and sandals.

The gratitude shown by the students was tremendous and heartwarming.

Carver is a joyous place, in each of the 10 schools (soon to be 12) in Norwalk and now Bridgeport and in the Carver Community Center where our after school programs operate. The support of our many donors makes this all possible. Sometimes someone thinks up something totally new like these gifts of Nike shoes for 100 Carver kids and we are all renewed by their acts of boundless generosity.

Here’s wishing one and all a joyous and healthy holiday season and New year!

Norwalk Police Contribute Toys to Carver

Sergeant Sofia Gulino, Novelette Peterkin, Joanne Addison, Lieutenant Terry Blake, and Clinton Hamilton

Sergeant Sofia Gulino, Novelette Peterkin, Joanne Addison, Lieutenant Terry Blake, and Clinton Hamilton

Norwalk police received donations from Norwalk residents during the Norwalk Police Department’s third annual “Stuff-A-Cruiser" toy drive event at the Walmart on Main Ave. Children attending the annual Christmas Eve luncheon will be the grateful recipients of these toys. The Norwalk Police Department is a close partner of Carver, including serving as a major point of interest for students at Carver’s annual Career Fair.


Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities Are Positioned to Serve as a Greater Resource for Meeting U.S. STEM Workforce Needs

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Higher education leaders, policymakers, and the private sector should take a range of actions to strengthen STEM programs and degree attainment in the nation’s Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. MSIs are underutilized resources for producing talent to fulfill the needs of the nation’s current and future STEM workforce, the report says.

“Given the projected demographic profile of our nation, the educational outcomes and STEM readiness of students of color will have direct implications for American’s economic growth, national security, and global prosperity,” said Lorelle Espinosa, co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, and vice president for research at the American Council on Education.

The report identifies promising strategies to support the long-term success of MSI students in STEM fields. MSIs’ most successful initiatives to support students are distinguished by intentionality: creating initiatives, policies, and practices tailored to meet students where they are in their college careers academically, financially, and socially, and doing so with a cultural mindfulness that moves students toward higher levels of academic achievement and self-confidence.

The report recommends that federal and state agencies, private and corporate foundations, and other stakeholders increase grants and form partnerships that enable implementation of promising strategies. 

Currently there are roughly 700 two- and four-year MSIs, which educate nearly 30 percent of all U.S. undergraduates.  Minority Serving Institutions traditionally fall into two categories. The first category includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities, which were established for the express purpose of providing access to higher education for a specific minority group. The second includes colleges and universities, such as Hispanic Serving Institutions, that are designated as MSIs by the U.S. Department of Education because they meet thresholds for enrollment (i.e., the percentage of students of color enrolled) and institutional expenditures. Importantly, the number of enrollment-based MSIs has grown significantly in the past 20 years, the report notes, and many more can be expected to emerge in coming decades as the nation’s demographics continue to change.

The report urges the nation to turn to MSIs as high-priority resources for STEM talent. When taken together, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions currently produce one-fifth of the nation’s STEM bachelor’s degrees. MSIs have markedly fewer financial resources than non-MSIs, and this disparity reduces their capacity to innovate and experiment with programs to support the nation’s workforce, to evaluate them, and to replicate those that prove effective.  Despite their limited resources, MSIs have been successful in providing a multifaceted return on investment for students, communities, and the STEM workforce, the report says. With targeted funding, attention, and support, they can contribute much more.

Based on a review of research literature, available data, and site visits to nine MSIs, the committee found evidence that seven broad strategies hold the greatest promise for strengthening the quality of STEM education and workforce preparation for MSI students:

  • Dynamic, multilevel, mission-driven leaders. Such leaders have a well-articulated vision and a willingness to hold themselves accountable for committing the necessary capital, educational resources, and services to meeting the particular needs of their student body.

  • Institutional responsiveness to meet students where they are. MSIs include a high percentage of low-income and nontraditional students, many of whom self-finance their education and attend school part-time while also working and supporting families. Institutions need to design and implement policies and practices that support students who may need additional academic, financial, and social support and flexibility.

  • Supportive campus environments. A welcoming and nurturing campus climate – one that supports a fundamental sense of community and an equity-oriented culture – contributes to academic attainment and professional commitment at MSIs.

  • Tailored academic and social supports. Intentional policies and practices and holistic supports, such as Summer Bridge programs and supplemental instruction, help guide students through higher education and make an important difference in persistence and success.

  • Mentorship and sponsorship. Strong mentorship is frequently cited in the research literature as key to student success at MSIs.

  • Availability of undergraduate research experiences. These experiences are often important for students who seek to gain entry into graduate programs and professional fields.

  • Mutually beneficial public- and private-sector partnerships. Such collaborations have the potential to provide alternative funding mechanisms and educational and research opportunities for students.

More Investment Needed to Support the Use of Promising Strategies 
Identifying what works at MSIs is only half the battle, the report says; substantial resources are also needed to help advance the success of MSIs and their students. Long-term commitments are needed from federal and state governments, tribal nations, and the philanthropic and private sectors. The report urges these stakeholders to increase funding opportunities in the form of government contracts and competitive and non-competitive grants, and to incentivize and support partnerships that enable promising strategies to be implemented. Targeted investments would enable MSIs to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, to procure and maintain state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, to offer needed academic and social supports to students, and to compete effectively for access to federal grants and contracts that fuel important research discoveries and innovation.

At the same time, a significant share of responsibility for elevating the role of MSIs in the nation’s educational and infrastructure lies with MSIs themselves, said the committee. “For MSIs to be competitive in the educational marketplace and to contribute to the nation’s overall economic competitiveness, they will require bold leadership and a purposeful commitment to innovate, especially in an era where neither federal nor private funding is plentiful,” said committee co-chair Kent McGuire, program director of education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The report offers a range of recommendations to stakeholders, for example:

  • Leaders at MSIs, including emerging and newly established MSIs, should develop policies and practices that create a culture of intentionality upon which evidence-based programs and strategies to support student success are created and sustained.

  • Leadership from within MSIs, non-MSIs, government agencies, private and corporate foundations, and other stakeholders should prioritize efforts to establish or expand mutually beneficial partnerships that support education, research and workforce training for the nation’s current and future STEM workforce.

  • Public and private funders – including federal agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation, among others; state agencies; tribal nations; and private and corporate foundations -- should continue to develop and expand grant competition programs that serve the nation’s MSIs.

  • As it considers regular adjustments to federal higher education policies and programs – including but not limited to the Higher Education Act – Congress should use the legislative process to incentivize greater investments in MSIs and the strategies outlined in the report.

The study was sponsored by the ECMC Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trusts, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Wallace Foundation. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions relations to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit http://nationalacademies.org.

Carver begins its new initiative in Bridgeport!

Georgeann Stewart and Lindsay Davis

Georgeann Stewart and Lindsay Davis

The Bridgeport Public Schools Board of Directors; Superintendent of Schools, Aresta L. Johnson, Ed.D.; and Principal Helen D. Giles invited Carver to bring its successful after school program to the Classical Studies Magnet Academy (CSMA). This is the first initiative Carver has undertaken outside of Norwalk.

CSMA is a "themed" Pre-K to 8th grade public school in Bridgeport’s West Side neighborhood for more than 400 students. Its curriculum of classical literature, art and music utilizes the Paideia instructional methodology (traditional lecturing, coaching, and the Socratic method of extended discussion). Instruction is project-based, involving frequent assemblies, presentations and field trips. CSMA occupies a 123-year-old structure, the oldest school still in use by the district. The school also rents a nearby closed Catholic school for their Pre-K to 2nd grade students.

Georgeann Stewart (a CSMA certified teacher) is the Lead Program Coordinator of Carver’s after school program at CSMA. She works closely with the school’s Assistant Principal, Lindsay Davis. Dr. Rita Brown-Holloway (M.A., M. Ed., M.Phil. and Ph.D.) serves as the school’s psychiatrist during the day. Carver is proud to call these and more professionals at CSMA our after school colleagues!

Dr. Rita Brown-Holloway

Dr. Rita Brown-Holloway

CSMA was recognized by the Connecticut State Department of Education as a School of Excellence (2016) and a School of Distinction (2013). Students throughout the district apply to attend and parents commit to 40 hours of volunteer service to the school if their children win a slot. The school's motto, "Every child, every chance, every day" reflects its commitment to helping each child reach his or her fullest potential, both as a student and a person.

The Bridgeport Board of Education is committing half the budget for this new after school program and Carver is raising the balance from private sources. This voluntary (extended school hours) after school program is designed to serve 200 students in grades 3-6 four days per week.

Carver at CSMA compliments the regular school day with CSMA certified teachers delivering academic, Literacy, Math, Technology, Engineering, Science, enrichment, recreation and wellness programming.  The variety of learning opportunities enrich but do not duplicate school day instruction. Carver provides high-quality core educational practices as well as targeted interventions for individual students.

The Carver community is delighted to embrace these bright Bridgeport students, their parents, and the CSMA administration and teachers.

In addition to the photos below, this Facebook photo album has many more!

Norwalk High School Student Spotlight: Sal Olmeda

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According to Carver’s website, the Carver Center is Norwalk’s largest provider of after school programs for middle and high school students and it is the largest provider of summer programs serving kindergarten through ninth grade students.

Over the last seven years of my life, I have been blessed to be a part of such an incredible foundation.

The Carver Program has made an impact on my life academically, emotionally, physically and also socially. I am one of the lucky few to be part of this program and hope to take everything I have gained in this program with me as I embark on my next journey in life.

Carver has been an important part of my life since 6th grade. Carver has really helped me academically. The Carver Program gives me the opportunity to work with tutors and teachers to get an extra edge on a subjects that other students wouldn't have. Emotionally, the program at Norwalk High has helped with my stress since I was able to do homework at school with a tutor. It has given me a sense of pride.

My mom could not help me with homework, but knowing that she sees me doing well in school makes her very proud.

I am currently in two AP classes. Physically, I have started to do workout classes such as bootcamp that have been offered at the Norwalk High program. Socially, I have met one of my best friends.

One thing that I will miss next year without the Carver Program at Norwalk High School is all the people I grew up with since elementary school and all the friends I've met through Carver.

After high school, my goal is to ultimately go to college, graduate and get a good paying job.

Sal Olmeda