Continuing to develop innovative approaches to education, the New Haven Unified School District has launched a new initiative: the Adopt-a-School program.
According to the district, the program will allow businesses and organizations to partner with schools and contribute directly to student education. The effort aims to better prepare students for the workforce.
“My purpose in bringing Adopt-A-School to New Haven is to bring new energy and new ideas to support our vision and mission,” Interim Co-Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Arlando Smith told Patch. “We continuously hear about, and talk about 21st century education. Collaborative partnerships are critical to moving that agenda forward.”
“The education of today's young people is not going to happen behind the four walls of a school campus,” Smith added. “We are trying to broaden the scope of how and where students gain their education. Creativity, innovation and collaboration are paramount for engaging students and meeting them in the world they live in and understand.”
The Adopt-a-School program will allow partners to help in the following programs and activities (via NHUSD):
- Academic Enrichment/Career Awareness: Provide additional resources to enhance the academic experience of students and increase their exposure to career opportunities.
- Student Incentives/Motivation: Create opportunities to motivate students and reward them for good performance.
- Improving School Environment: Participate in clean-up days or beautification projects at the school and making financial and/or in-kind donations that support the school’s programs.
- Faculty Support and Recognition: Host events or make donations to help recognize teachers and their good work throughout the year.
The sponsorships don’t have to be monetary investments.
“There is no explicit commitment to donate dollars. We are looking for ingenuity, creativity, innovation and opportunities for our young people,” Smith said. “We want to get our students out of the bricks and mortar so they can conceptualize and conceive possibilities that are either open to them, or that they gain the knowledge and courage to open themselves to.”
The program gives businesses the opportunity to step up and take action. For high school students, one partnership example could be internships to build students’ career experience, Smith said.
“We hear a great deal about the need to better prepare people for the workforce,” Smith said. “The Adopt-A-School Program is a means for business to help schools build those skills rather than blaming schools for not meeting those needs.”
Most importantly, the Adopt-A-School program is a vehicle to keep New Haven on track with the times, Smith said.
“Every four years approximately 900 students graduate from Logan High School in June, and another 900 begin their high school career in August. The gap between the exiting class and the entering class is vast, yet we rarely adapt to meet the new world,” Smith said. “The world is becoming much more dynamic, while our educational delivery system is not 100 percent, but highly static. We need support to change that paradigm.”