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Boost! Expands To 5 More Schools
by Melissa Bailey | Mar 27, 2012 12:21 pm
Posted to: Schools, School Reform
More kids like Emily Colon and Zaneta Langley may be taking up boxing, as the school district announced early results of its Boost! program—and plans for expansion next year.
Emily and Zaneta (pictured) were among many students at Metropolitan Business Academy who took up new after-school activities this academic year as part of the district’s Boost! initiative, which aims to connect schools to not-for-profits that provide the social and emotional supports kids need to succeed in the classroom. (They chose boxing and public speaking classes.)
The program, run in conjunction with United Way, debuted at five city schools in the fall: Metro, Clinton Avenue, Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet, Augusta Lewis Troup and Wexler/Grant.
At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, officials announced plans to expand the program to five more schools next year, thanks to a grant from First Niagara bank. The next schools will be: Celentano Museum Academy, John S. Martinez, Truman, Strong, and Hill Regional Career High. Plans are to expand it to the rest of 44 schools in the district at a rate of five or 10 per year.
In its first pilot year, Boost! brought in 26 new after-school programs to serve a fast-growing student population at Metro, according to data presented by the United Way’s Laoise King and Sue Weisselberg, the district’s new wraparound services czar. The number of kids taking part in after-school programs at Metro grew from 21 percent last year to 60 percent this year.
Click here to view the presentation.
At Barnard magnet school, 97 percent of kids now take part in extracurriculars, announced Principal Mike Crocco (pictured).
That’s because the district has changed the way not-for-profits connect with schools, King explained. When it launched in the spring of 2010, Boost! conducted a study and found that schools varied widely in the supports they offered outside the classroom. The quality and quantity of programs depended on whether the principal had connections in the community, King said. Now the district, United Way and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven have been recruiting not-for-profits and sending them the five Boost! schools.
“Every day, I’m getting another phone call” from a not-for-profit seeking to come into Barnard school, said Marjorie Drucker, the school’s point person for the Boost! program. Most of them come with their own funding, she said.
Barnard and other schools also brought in drama therapists to help students who had been showing disruptive behavior. Boost! will be tracking the kids involved in the new programs to see if their behavior—and academic performance—improves.