“Is That A Good Deal?”
by Melissa Bailey | Aug 31, 2012 8:34 am
Posted to: Schools, The Heights, School Reform
On her first day of kindergarten Thursday, Tatianna Walker got an offer from a lady with “money in her pockets” so she can pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
Tatianna (pictured) is one of 23 students in Janet Pepe’s kindergarten class at the Quinnipiac School, a new overflow K-2 school that opened this year on Lexington Avenue.
On Thursday, as kids across the city showed up for their first day of kindergarten, Tatianna and her new classmates got a visit from some grownups aiming to set her mind not just on this school year, but on college and beyond.
Schools Superintendent Reginald Mayo visited the class at 10 p.m. for a pep talk aimed to boost the New Haven Promise scholarships and Pathways to Promise, an effort to build college-going culture in grades K to 12.
“Do you want to get a great job when you grow up?” he asked.
“Yes!” cried the kids on cue. (Click on the play arrow to watch.)
“I want to be a teacher,” announced Tatianna. Others professed desires to be a doctor and a scientist.
Mayo said in order to get there, kids will have to get a degree.
“We want each and every one of you to start now thinking about going to college some 12 years from now,” Mayo said.
He made them an offer: “If you work hard, you get good grades, you come to school every day, we’ll pay your tuition to go to college.
“Is that a good deal?”
“Yes,” cried the kids.
Mayo introduced the kids “the lady with money in her pockets,” Patricia Melton, the new director of New Haven Promise. Her program grants up to free tuition at in-state colleges and universities for city kids who maintain a B average in school, good attendance and good behavior.
Melton pulled from behind her back a “college bill” on which she would write kids’ names. The bill represents that promise that she hopes kids will keep in mind for the next 12 years.
Only half of New Haven Public School grads enroll in a second year of college within two years of graduating from high school, according to the school district. The district aims to boost that number through a school reform drive: 75 percent of current sophomores will be expected to enroll in a second year of college within two years of their graduation in 2015.
Thursday’s press event was an example of Pathways to Promise, an effort led by national not-for-profit to build a K-12 curriculum to encourage kids to think about college and career. Teachers at every grade level are supposed to spend six hours a month instilling the college message in their classrooms; they have leeway on how they choose to do that.
Post a Comment
A correction, and a request:
Correction: The building was originally Quinnipiac School up until it closed some years ago. Jepson just occupied it as temporary space during their construction. [Editor’s note: done!]
I see the reopening of Quinnipiac AS Quinnipiac as a boon to the neighborhood, and my partner and I were thrilled to be able to enroll our kids there. Which brings me to….
Request: Can we all agree to CEASE referring to Quinnipiac as an overflow school? Given enrollment trends, its likely to be around for a while; Grace Nathman and her team have done a spectacular job in a very short time to get the facility in shape; they are working assiduously to build a positive school culture under very trying circumstances; and given what my kids have told me about their first few school days, the team is doing a bang-up job. Constantly referring to Quinnipiac as the overflow heavily implies the words ‘just the’ before the word ‘overflow,‘and wrongly identifies our little neighborhood school as a throwaway…an afterthought. Not only is that an insult to the adults involved, but it makes it much more difficult to establish a positive climate and culture with all the school’s constituents: staff, students parents.
Let’s lose the ‘overflow’ designation and welcome Quinnipiac Elementary School back to Fair Haven Heights!