New Haven (Conn.) Message: "You Will Go to College"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Got it, pre-kindergartener? That message is about to become part of your curriculum in New Haven?and part of classroom time every month, every year, through 12th grade.

Officials unveiled that ambitious plan Monday at a press conference in the Hill Regional Career High School auditorium.

They announced that they?ve hired an outside outfit that has drawn up a curriculum for pre-K through 12 grades for teachers to drill the idea into all kids that they?re headed for college.

The plan is called ?Pathway to Promise.? The mission is building a ?college-going culture.?

It?s the newest part of New Haven Promise, which will offer up to a free ride to in-state colleges for New Haven public school kids who keep up good behavior and grades. The program, backed by Yale and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, issued 110 partial scholarships last year. ?Promise? is a central component of New Haven?s ambitious school-reform drive.

?Pathway? has two parts: the new pre-K-12 curriculum; and a ?peer leader? effort in high schools to shepherd students through the last phase of getting into college.

The ?Pathway? piece addresses one criticism leveled at ?Promise,? Mayor John DeStefano said at Monday?s announcement.

Some have suggested that ?Promise? scholarships will go to higher-achieving kids who would have already qualified for other college scholarships if necessary. ?Pathway? aims at working with students, families, and teachers from the moment kids walk into school for the first time to focus on setting goals and learning the ropes to attend college?so ?Promise can be for everybody,? as DeStefano put it.

?Scholarships,? said Superintendent of Schools Reggie Mayo, ?are not enough.?

The Promise program enlisted a not-for-profit company called College Summit to develop the new curriculum.

The new ?Pathways? effort involves handing teachers at every grade level ideas for how to spend six hours a month distilling the college message in their classrooms. Teachers will have leeway to decide how to break up those hours over the course of the month, Mayo said.

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