Funds Support Summer Enrichment Program That Aims to Stem the “Summer Slide” and Helps to Close the Achievement Gap

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 3.06.27 PMStamford Achieves, a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate and catalyst for closing the achievement gap in Stamford Public Schools, was awarded a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) to help fund its summer enrichment program for children in Kindergarten through the third grade.

The program, “At the Beach and In the Sea,” will enroll approximately 150 students from the Domus Organization’s Chester Addison Community Center and Neon-Stamford. Certified teachers, along with staff from the Community Centers, will provide science literacy instruction and activities that follow the Connecticut State Core Science Guidelines for grades K-3.The program will also provide for a head teacher to work one-on-one with children who need additional support in science literacy skills.

“This program provides an incredible opportunity for young children to learn in creative and engaging ways during the summer,” said Linda Levy, Executive Director of Stamford Achieves. “We are grateful to Fairfield County Community Foundation for their continued support of this important program, which demonstrates that quality education can improve, and at the very least maintain, a child’s reading ability during the summer months.”

“Unlike programs that focus solely on remediation, Stamford Achieves’ ‘At the Beach and In the Sea’ is all about academic enrichment,” said Michael Hyman, Executive Director of Chester Addison Community Center. “We have found that there is no more effective approach to address closing the achievement gap than to put our efforts and resources into stopping the summer slide. Our partnership with Stamford Achieves has been hugely successful in making that happen,” he said.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 3.06.34 PMSince it was created in 2009, more than 600 children have participated in “At the Beach and In the Sea,” engaging in activities that include observation, questioning, experimentation, crafts, reading, field trips, and Thinking Maps—a successful tool that teaches thinking and problem solving using children’s graphic, visual and organizational skills. In partnership with SoundWaters’ Coastal Education Center in Stamford, the program provides a hands-on component that focuses on interactive science enrichment with a strong emphasis on literacy, observational skills and environmental education. At Stamford’s Cove Beach, children work in groups to identify ecology, collect marine creatures, and observe live animals.

The “At the Beach and In the Sea” program will operate four days a week, for two hours a day, from July 7 through August 1, 2014. This year, children will be given books that parents can read with their children, relevant to topics covered in the summer program. “One of our goals is to extend the classroom experience to parents by engaging them with their children in activities that increase their child’s science knowledge, as well as literacy and reading grade levels,” said Levy. “By providing books for reading at home, we hope to excite parents as much as the children,” she said.

SW - Students Sitting for Presentation - Inside - #2Through its program evaluation, which includes pre- and post-program screening and a review of DRA scores, Stamford Achieves has found that 83 percent of the students who have participated in “At the Beach and In the Sea” have increased or maintained their reading scores. “Research shows that summer learning programs that are designed to be engaging and fun can make an enormous difference in improving the skills of children caught in the achievement gap,” said Levy.

“We are supporters because we know that summer enrichment works,” said Chester Addison’s Hyman. “Students attending our summer program are better equipped academically in the fall, than those who do not. For this we are grateful to Stamford Achieves,” he said.

About Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded $168 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit: www.fccfoundation.org.

About Domus/Chester Addison Community Center

The Chester Addison Center is located in Stamford’s Waterside neighborhood and provides a year-round, after-school and summer program that seeks to engage youth, parents, educators, and the community in positive social, emotional and academically enriching endeavors. Since 1972, Domus has helped thousands of the region’s most vulnerable youth and their families experience success by providing them with love, structure, and support at its charter schools, residential programs, and through community programs, which enable kids and families to reach their full potential. http://www.domuskids.org.

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