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Community Convener Norwalk ACTS to Cultivate a Public / Private Partnership with a Shared Vision of Success for Norwalk Children

By Norwalk ACTS

Philanthropic Funders To Provide Grants To Help Achieve High Level Achievement For Youth Across The City

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Norwalk, CT - Multiple grants from a group of philanthropic investors will support Norwalk ACTS and its membership to develop a cohesive strategy for five high-level initiatives in support of Norwalk’s children: career and college readiness, “whole child” or social emotional learning, counseling, parent engagement, and replication of successful schools.

Investors were presented with a variety of metrics regarding Norwalk’s community, schools and community programs available to help with the overall development of the prioritized initiatives. The funds for the public/private partnership will roll out over the next three years, and will support new programs and bring state-of-the-art practice to existing initiatives.

“As the convener, Norwalk ACTS provides the web that connects the Norwalk community and the process that will integrate and align multiple organizations, initiatives and programs,” said Norwalk ACTS Executive Director, Anthony Allison. “We are grateful for this public/private partnership that will allow our community to continue to be proactive in developing and implementing strategies and actions that will provide children and youth with tools to be successful both academically, and socially and emotionally.”

To further career and college readiness, Norwalk ACTS will work with community members and Norwalk Public Schools to engage Norwalk’s youth with opportunities that are age and stage appropriate. The goal is to provide summer and year-round work-based learning with real work for pay, academic credits, and 21st century skills for high school students.

The grants will also be used be to provide robust social and emotional support in school and in the community by furthering wraparound services with social workers in schools, safe spaces, and mentorship programming.

Replicating the success of this summer’s Springboard Collaborative program through Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk ACTS will coordinate community resources and access best practices for creating parent engagement. The successful Springboard Collaborative pilot at Jefferson and Kendall Elementary Schools took place over six weeks to close the literacy gap among students, and encourage parent engagement.

Norwalk ACTS will also support the work of Norwalk Public Schools to create a second “School of Distinction,” a priority implementation step under the NPS Strategic Operating Plan. In 2016-2017 NPS achieved its first “School of Distinction” when Rowayton Elementary School ranked in the top 10 percent of state schools for high performance, high growth and great improvement as measured by the state’s accountability system.

Utilizing learnings from Rowayton, one elementary school with the structure, leadership and instructional capacity to meet the required growth for a “School of Distinction” will be identified by June 2021. The pilot program will be implemented over a 3-year period. With support from NACTS and NPS, the elementary school will develop a process for progress monitoring and reporting. Student development and college and career attainment will also be tracked on a long-term basis.

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