Press Releases

Stamford Achieves Launches “Beyond Limits Scholars Program”

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Stamford Achieves, a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate and catalyst for closing the achievement gap in Stamford Public Schools, today announced that it will launch a pilot summer bridge program designed to support the significant number of students that enter high school unprepared for the academic and social challenges awaiting them. Stamford’s economically disadvantaged population is particularly vulnerable. The new Beyond Limits Scholars Program (BLSP) will focus on basic skills training and exposure to available school and district support resources.

Participation by Stamford Achieves in the High School Call to Action Committee (HSCAC) served as an impetus for this initiative. “We have been closely tracking the eighth-to-ninth grade transition, and the success of freshmen in the public high schools,” said Andy Sklover, Director of Education and Advocacy for Stamford Achieves. “Given the urgency expressed by the HSCAC, it became abundantly clear that many students need additional assistance.”

The BLSP will begin on August 18 with a dynamic week of programming at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus. Approximately 30 students from Stamford’s middle schools are registered to participate in the free pilot program. Scholars were selected by a committee of middle school principals, guidance counselors, and teachers, and were required to complete an application, a program agreement, and an interview at their middle school. Participants who successfully finish the week-long program in August will be provided with additional academic, social and emotional supports throughout their 2014 – 2015 freshman year.

Thomas Pereira, Dean of Students of Westhill High School, along with teachers and guidance counselors hired by Stamford Achieves, will oversee the program. BLSP staff will also be present at the comprehensive high schools to further support its scholars, along with upper classmen who will serve as peer mentors. “As the Dean and a former ninth-grade teacher, I see the transition that our middle school students face as they move from middle school to a larger and less structured environment,” said Pereira. “It is a significant problem when many struggle with the self-direction and autonomy that high school demands. Our goal with this program is to ease the transition by exposing students to a number of different activities geared towards transitions. Hopefully they will build enough of this capacity to help them to become more self-directed learners, and peer leaders,” he said.

Thomas Pereira

Thomas Pereira, Dean of Students at Stamford’s Westhill High School, and Program Coordinator of the “Beyond Limits Scholars Program,” speaks to students and families at the program orientation in June.

Photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld.

The BLSP curriculum will include topics such as: organization and time management; note taking, study and research skills; self-efficacy; career exploration; personal goals and long-range planning; leveraging technology and social media etiquette; as well as overviews of the high school curriculum, grade requirements, guidance departments, schedules, policies and procedures.

“The concept behind the BLSP is personalization,” said Dr. Michael Fernandes, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools and Chair of the HSCAC, which comprises more than 50 volunteers focused on redesigning and improving the district’s high schools. “Along with their parents, the BLSP will educate students about their high school experience, and provide them with ‘go to’ resources for academic success, like individual and small group meetings, peer mentoring, and special events, to give meaningful connections and support for their transition to high school,” he said.

Dr  Michael Fernandes

Dr. Michael S. Fernandes, Assistant Superintendent for Stamford’s secondary schools, speaks to middle school students and their families about the transition to high school, at the “Beyond Limits Scholars Program” orientation on June 9, 2014.

Photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld.

“Data, locally and from across the country, highlight the academic and social challenges of transitioning to high school,” said Sklover. “The good news is that the Stamford Public Schools are focusing on this issue and have demonstrated a commitment to identifying and implementing effective solutions. We are pleased to be launching this pilot program in collaboration with the Stamford Public Schools, Stamford YMCA, The Ferguson Library, Stamford Public Education Foundation, The Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, Future 5, and the University of Connecticut – Stamford Campus. In addition to the resources of Stamford Achieves, we gratefully acknowledge the support of Amanda & David Russekoff, the Lone Pine Foundation, The Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, and Purdue Pharma.”

Andy Sklover

Andy Sklover, Director of Education and Advocacy for Stamford Achieves, meets with students and parents at the “Beyond Limits Scholars Program” orientation on June 9, 2014. Photo credit: Jack Rosenfeld.

For more information about the Beyond Limits Scholars Program, including information for businesses and individuals interested in providing resources or partnering with Stamford Achieves, please contact Andy Sklover, Director of Education and Advocacy at:, or call (203) 561-5631.

About Stamford Achieves

To ensure a quality education for all students, Stamford Achieves engages with individuals, families, civic and religious organizations, associations, and corporations to identify, develop, support and promote initiatives that can narrow and ultimately eliminate the persistent achievement gap. For more information, please visit our website:, sign-up for our newsletter, visit us on Facebook at:, follow us on Twitter at: or send us an email at:

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Let’s Get Ready – Stamford Program

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In partnership with Stamford Achieves, Let’s Get Ready is returning to Stamford this summer. The Let’s Get Ready – Stamford summer program, founded in 2003, serves motivated, low- income and first generation college-bound high school students from the Greater Stamford area who aspire to attend college. Students receive intensive SAT tutoring, college-going support and guidance, and mentoring from college student volunteers.

This summer the program will be held in downtown Stamford with space donated through the generosity of Rippowam Park Co., LLC. Andrew Sklover, Director of Advocacy and Education of Stamford Achieves, described the impact of these partnerships:

“Through collaboration and the generosity of community partners like Rippowam Park and Pyramid Real Estate Group we can have a collective and positive impact on Stamford youth participating in this highly regarded program.”

This program is right now recruiting high school student participants and college student volunteers. More information below! 

Where: 159 Main Street, Stamford CT

When: June 18 – August 13, Monday and Wednesday evenings, 5:30 – 8:30PM (as well as Saturday Diagnostic Tests, College Trips, and a Career Workshop)

Participants: Application acceptance is prioritized by those students who will be seniors in the fall of 2014, qualify for free/reduced lunch and/or are first generation college-bound, as well as other students who would not otherwise be able to afford SAT preparation and college application assistance. Applications and more information available at:

Volunteers: Trained college student volunteer “Coaches” lead small groups of five students, tutoring one evening per week (either the Verbal or Math sections of the SAT) and guiding students through the college application process. Applications and more information available at:

Site Directors: Andrea Lopez-Salazar (UConn-Stamford) and Samantha Colon (Roger Williams University)

Let’s Get Ready, founded in 1998 has served over 20,000 low-income high school students throughout the northeast with the engagement of 7,000 college students who coach our high school students through the entire college readiness process as well as through college graduation. Partnering with colleges, high schools and community organizations, Let’s Get Ready addresses the pressing need to close the nation’s educational achievement gap. For more information on Let’s Get Ready please contact Program Manager Molly Reardon at or 646.216.2315.

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Stamford Achieves Awarded $20,000 Grant From Fairfield County Community Foundation

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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:

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.

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Stamford Achieves Announces 2014 Priorities

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Stamford Achieves, the non-profit organization whose mission is to close the achievement gap and to ensure a quality education for all Stamford Public Schools students, today announced its 2014 Priorities. In making the announcement, the Executive Director of Stamford Achieves, Linda Levy, said the Priorities focus on three key areas: Advocacy, Student Support Services, and Family Support and Engagement. “Stamford Achieves will continue to highlight

The first key area of the 2014 Priorities will focus on Advocacy. “Our goal is to continue to highlight the persistent achievement gap,” said Director of Advocacy and Education, Andy Sklover. Advocacy initiatives will include engaging and educating the community, raising expectations for Stamford Public Schools, assessing and promoting effective resources, and demanding measurable and achievable results. Among its advocacy programs, Stamford Achieves sponsors a continuing series of Success Symposiums that bring together educators, administrators, parents and other engaged parties to discuss issues. Promoting student voice is another key advocacy initiative. A recently produced video, featuring students discussing the achievement gap, can be viewed on the Stamford Achieves YouTube Channel at:

The second area of the Priorities will promote Student Support Services. Initiatives will encourage reducing student-to-guidance counselor ratios, increasing the number of high-quality weekend and summer programs, providing high-speed Internet access, and the maximization of new technologies for teaching and learning. In 2014, Stamford Achieves will expand its successful summer program, At the Beach and In the Sea, run in collaboration with SoundWaters, and made possible by a major grant from The Fairfield County Community Foundation, to include Grade 4 as well as Grades K-3. Beyond Limits Scholars Program (BLSP), a pilot summer bridge program for students entering high school, will be introduced in collaboration with Stamford Public Schools.

The last key area of the Priorities will highlight Family Support and Engagement through Parents for the Educational Achievement of Kids (PEAK), a program that teaches parents how to effectively advocate for their children, and supports parents in their efforts to achieve a higher level of engagement within the educational system. By partnering with community centers, Stamford Achieves provides training sessions to help parents understand the intricacies of the school system, including how to participate in meetings at school.

“By communicating our 2014 Priorities, said Sklover, “We hope to bring additional awareness not only to the persistent achievement gap, but also to the programs that are having a sustainable and demonstrable impact on closing that gap.” Stamford Achieves will update its Priorities annually to highlight the work that needs to be done and the gains that have been made.

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Stamford Achieves invites Stamford Public School teachers, administrators and representatives of community organizations based in Stamford to nominate an outstanding middle or high school student to be featured in our SA Spotlight. This feature of our website is designed to recognize students who have (1) made significant academic gains in core classes and / or (2) demonstrated a consistent concern for the success, academic or otherwise, of fellow classmates over the last 12 - 24 months.

So please think carefully about the many wonderful students in our District and help us shine a spotlight on a student whose achievements may fall under the radar. All you need to do is complete this form and click "Submit", but please take the time to provide all the information requested.

We recognize that there are many students worthy of this spotlight and thank you for taking the time to submit your information.
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Stamford Achieves (SA) acts only as an intermediary between employers posting internship and job opportunities and student candidates. All hiring and compensation for work performed by students is handled directly between the student and the employer. SA also reserves the right to refuse to post or remove internship or job postings.

We do not guarantee or take responsibility for (a) the truthfulness, accuracy, quality, safety, morality, desirability or legality of employer information and position listings, (b) the ability of employers to offer internship and job opportunities, or (c) the hiring, recruiting or other practices of any employer. Students are urged to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting employment.

For Students:

An internship, particularly for students at least 16 years of age, is a great way to get to know yourself a little better while building skills that will make you better prepared for the future. Internships can help you understand how a professional organization functions in the real world. While interning, you will have the opportunity to assess and refine your career goals. It is a “trial period”, an opportunity to test ideas about your interests and potential professions – whether it’s entertainment, non-profit, technology, health – without requiring a lengthy commitment. Just remember, no matter what you do and how long you do it for, do it to the best of your ability.

Some internships are “salaried” positions and some are strictly volunteer. Either way, you will likely gain valuable experience. Please note that most are highly competitive and you should pay close attention to the application deadlines.

Many organizations do not advertise the availability of internships or jobs and so it often requires some initiative on your part. With this portal, Stamford Achieves is seeking to aggregate internship and job opportunities for Stamford’s high school students.

Although we would ultimately like to post all student internship and job opportunities that is simply not realistic. Therefore, it is recommended that you conduct an internet search, look out for postings and check newspaper listings. Also, please use your networks – guidance counselors, teachers, parents, relatives, family, and friends – anyone who may have contacts within businesses or organizations that interest you.

For Employers:

The City of Stamford benefits tremendously from a large and diverse group of employers. These employers can and often do offer our high school students internship as well as job opportunities. However, employment opportunities are not typically aggregated so as to streamline the process for both the prospective employers and students. This portal is designed to be a simple and efficient way to maximize our tremendous resources.

We welcome your feedback as to how we can make this portal as productive and efficient as possible so please do not hesitate to email us at and thanks so much for participating.