College and New London Public Schools win community partnership award for innovative afterschool program
Connecticut College and New London Public Schools have been honored with a Campus Community Partnership Award from Connecticut Campus Compact for ENRICH, an extended learning time program providing middle school students with a range of dynamic teaching and learning activities.
CTCC’s awards honor representatives of member institutions who exemplify the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to implement all forms of public engagement, providing civic pathways to academic and career success, and nurturing a culture of engaged citizenship on campus and within communities.
The winners of the 2016 awards, including Connecticut College and Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, were honored at the inaugural Civic Action Summit June 2.
ENRICH is a key component of the partnership between Connecticut College (specifically the Office of Volunteers for Community Service and Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy) and New London’s Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School. Building on two decades of partnership, ENRICH grew out of effective mentor programs and now engages middle school and college students in activities designed to ignite curiosity, love of learning and community building.
“ENRICH has been a very successful and mutually beneficial program for Connecticut College and New London, and a great example of what can be accomplished through these important community partnerships,” said Tracee Reiser, director of OVCS, associate dean of community learning and associate director of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. “Our team of staff, students, faculty and community partners is very honored to receive this recognition from CTCC.”
Through the program, middle school students travel to the College after school two days a week and engage with College student mentors and workshop leaders. They eat a nutritious meal, complete homework and participate in academically oriented workshops, while the College students acquire experience and vital skills and are able to integrate new perspectives, insights and knowledge into their studies.
At the College, the middle school students work with the College students to study and practice piano and music theory; build self-confidence and think critically about the images and messages they receive through the media; learn filmmaking, editing and production; and create lava lamps blending scientific inquiry with artistic creation, for example. They also swim in the College pool, skate in the ice rink, and engage in dance and athletics that promote physical fitness and well-being.
In addition to the workshop content, the workshop leaders and mentors focus on building strong positive relationships with the youth, sparking their interest in education.
“Many of the College students are first-generation students who want the middle school students to deeply understand what it takes to get to and succeed in college and other post high school opportunities,” said Reiser. “They are transforming how the middle school students see themselves and working with the teachers to advance them on the path toward high school graduation and success in higher education.”