CNI - Education

The Education Strategy builds upon the resources and capacity the Norwalk Housing Authority has developed over the past several years and incorporates the local resources available to support early childhood development through adult career advancement. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports an Education Coordinator who works with Norwalk Public Schools and the staff at the Washington Village and 20 West Avenue Learning Centers. He also interfaces with the Norwalk Housing College Scholarship Foundation and the NHA administered Early Childhood and Head Start programs.

The Housing Authority has also engaged the services of Housing Opportunities Unlimited (HOU) and their staff of Case Managers and a Workforce Specialist. Working one-on-one with Washington Village residents, HOU performs individual assessments that include education and training needs. In collaboration with the NHA Education Coordinator unmet needs are identified and addressed and referrals are made to appropriate resources and support services.

The key community coordinator is Norwalk ACTS whose mission is "to enrich and improve the lives and futures of all Norwalk children and youth, from cradle-to-career." This conduit to the Norwalk Board of Education has established a close collaboration that facilitates intervention for at risk students.

The NHA also supports a Partnership Manager who facilitates collaborations with agencies who have entered into Memorandums of Understanding with the NHA for CNI involvement. Key community partners include the Norwalk Community College which provides both academic and vocational training and several youth agencies including the Carver Foundation, the Maritime Aquarium, the Norwalk Public Library, and the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. The Partnership Manager continues to identify potential new partners to complement or enhance our support network.

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Education Service Providers

Norwalk ACTS

The Role of Norwalk ACTS in the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative

The education strategy for the Washington Village/South Norwalk Transformation Plan, which will be spearheaded by Norwalk ACTS (Achievement, Community, Teams, Success), focuses on the coordinated implementation of a series of programs and reforms to improve the educational opportunities available to the residents of Washington Village (WV) and the South Norwalk neighborhood. The guiding vision for the education plan is an outgrowth of the work that Norwalk ACTS began in 2005. They worked with key education stakeholders to collaboratively identify and address the educational issues that prevent young people throughout the city of Norwalk from being successful at home, at school, and in the community. Today Norwalk ACTS is a network of 45 members representing the entire education continuum that recently became a STRIVE network member. The organization plays a vital role in coordinating educational programs around a common purpose of improving the lives and futures of Norwalk children and youth. Norwalk ACTS will work with its growing membership base to continuously refine the South Norwalk education strategy as resources emerge and new issues are uncovered.

The education strategy focuses on building and sustaining a comprehensive, evidence-based learning community where members of every household embrace the pursuit of high quality education as a positive, lifelong process. The strategy supports an integrated, multi-sector, place-based initiative that emphasizes closing achievement gaps. The strategy's vision is that South Norwalk residents of every age are engaged in meaningful, inviting learning experiences appropriate for every developmental stage that provide opportunities leading to personal growth and enrichment, professional gain, and life success. To achieve this vision, Norwalk ACTS will seek sustained systems change by working with its members to align and coordinate Norwalk's educational organizations, programs, and other assets to offer a diverse range of engaging learning opportunities for South Norwalk residents.

Background
Norwalk ACTS is a diverse partnership of over 100 civic leaders, educators and organizations working collectively to achieve the mission of enriching and improving the lives and futures of all Norwalk's children, cradle to career.

We are about Action
To ensure the success of all children in Norwalk, we are focused on results, improving upon what works, and changing what doesn't. We recognize that every individual and organization that impacts our children's growth, from cradle to career, is accountable, and that our collective voice is a part of the solution.

~ Norwalk ACTS Web Address: www.norwalkacts.org ~

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Norwalk Housing AuthorityNorwalk Early Childhood Council

A quality preschool experience benefits children in many ways:

Academically: preschool teaches pre-literacy and numeracy skills which prepares children for kindergarten and beyond. Preschool also teaches children how to be students, by helping children get used to routines, develop problem solving skills, learn how to compromise with others, self-regulate their behavior and gain independence.

Socially: children learn the social skills necessary for a group setting. In preschool children make friends and develop important relationships and connections with other children and adults.

There are a variety of preschools in Norwalk including private providers and centers, and school-based programs. For families who qualify by family size and income, the State of Connecticut offers subsidies through various providers in Norwalk under the School Readiness program. These programs are indicated on the Preschool Guide.

Norwalk also has a Head Start program that is federally funded and free to qualifying families and administered by the CDI at two sites - Nathaniel Ely and Benjamin Franklin.

The city's only subsidized infant and toddler program is run by the Norwalk Housing Authority, also at the Nathaniel Ely and Ben Franklin locations.

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Norwalk Housing AuthorityNorwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers

About fifteen percent of Norwalk's school age children reside in housing operated by the Norwalk Housing Authority. The Housing Authority Learning Centers were designed to ensure that children residing in public housing have the tools to develop academic, social, and personal skills that are necessary to promote success in school and future endeavors.

The Learning Centers provide families with school age children quality afterschool programs designed to create a culture of academic achievement. Daily homework assistance, tutoring in math, reading, technology, and writing is offered to all students. Ticket to Read and V-Math two web based programs are part of the academic support/enrichment at the centers.

The Centers offer programs that are designed to support academic achievement through the provision of a wide variety of quality activities and culturally enriching programs that increase students' interests, creativity, and self esteem.

The NHA Learning Centers provide a safe and nurturing environment staffed with professionals who foster positive communication with students and families. Safe and convenient transportation is provided.

   For more information call:
   Director, Wendy Gerbier 203.852.1144 ext. 102
   Assistant Director, Tiana Brown, 203.852.1144 ext. 103

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Norwalk Housing FoundationNorwalk Housing Foundation College Scholarship Program

Norwalk Housing Foundation College Scholarship Program was established in 1998 to provide support for Norwalk Public Housing residents who dream of going to college.

Some facts about this program:

  • This year a total of 38 students were awarded scholarships totaling $182,000
  • NHF College Scholarships vary based on need with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $8,000
  • Annually assists students with other academic financial aid
  • A total of 274 scholarships have been awarded totaling $682,500
  • In October 2009, the NHF College Scholarship Program was honored with the
  • National Award of Excellence from NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials)
  • 100 percent of all donations go directly to scholarships
  • Sixty percent of scholarship recipients attend 4-year colleges
  • All donations are tax exempt

Important facts:

  • College costs are growing faster than medical, food or shelter costs (Bloomberg, August, 2012).
  • Four year college costs have almost doubled over the past 10 years placing a college degree out of reach for many of NHA's low income youth. However, in order to break the cycle of poverty, these young residents need a college education to successfully compete in Fairfield County's highly educated workforce.
  • Exceptional oversight committee, which is comprised of local leaders representing
    business, education, and philanthropy The Norwalk Housing Foundation program annually assists students with locating other resources for additional academic financial aid
Norwalk Housing Foundation Information Brochure PDF icon Download the Norwalk Housing Foundation Information Brochure
to read about the NHA High School and College Scholarship Programs

If you or someone you know is interested in applying for a Norwalk Housing Foundation College
Scholarship, applications are available annually. Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to complete this
application.

For more information or to donate today, contact: Kim Hein, NHF Scholarship Coordinator
Phone: (203) 838-8471 x.190 - Email: khein@norwalkha.org

The Norwalk Housing Foundation, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit tax-exempt corporation, created to
support the improvement of quality of life for Norwalk's public housing residents. All donations
are tax deductible.

~ Norwalk Housing Foundation College Scholarship Program: www.norwalkhousingfoundation.orgb ~b

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Education Service Partners

The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Inc.The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Inc.

The Carver Foundation, in support of the Norwalk Housing Authority's Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan, will provide the following in-kind services for residents of Washington Village and the greater South Norwalk neighborhood:

  • The Carver Foundation of Norwalk currently serves 26 Washington Village residents per year in its Youth Development Program and will continue to do so over the five year CNI grant period.
  • In support of the CNI Transformation Plan, the Carver Foundation of Norwalk will develop and implement a new program initiative to provide five new slots for Washington Village residents in its Junior Youth Development program. Carver's Junior Development Program (YDP) is a student and family-centered afterschool program based at the Carver Community Center and at four middle schools and two high schools. Youth Development Program staff includes certified teachers hired from within the participating schools. Learning college and career-prep support, Carver presents its students with real-world, multidisciplinary problems that demand critical thinking, engagement, and collaboration.
  • The Carver Foundation of Norwalk would provide five additional slots in the Senior Youth Development Program (Sr. YDP). This program serves high school and college students by offering daily tutoring, PSAT/SAT Prep, CAPT Prep and subject tutoring. Paid internship and jobs give strong students the opportunity to earn while they learn important job skills. College tours, meet the professionals and self-esteem groups give students the knowledge and guidance to graduate high school ready for college.

~ The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Inc. Web Address: www.carvercenterct.org ~

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Connecticut Association of Human Services

In partnership with the IRS, Connecticut United Ways and local community organizations, CAHS coordinates an annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) campaign for low-income individuals and families. IRS-trained volunteers are certified to prepare tax returns, and to screen customers for special tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). CAHS has 40+ VITA sites throughout Connecticut. In 2014, trained VITA volunteers in two Norwalk locations prepared almost 400 tax returns including four CNI designated South Norwalk Community families, returning $694,582 in state and federal funds to local families. CAHS will increase the number of residents in the CNI designated South Norwalk Community served by VITA to 20 through expanded outreach and the addition of a third VITA site at the South Norwalk Community Center starting in 2016.

CAHS offers several free financial workshops for adults through the CT Money School. CAHS will provide three 2 two-hour financial workshops per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, serving approximately 10 Washington Village and CNI designated South Norwalk Community residents per workshop.

CAHS also offers free financial workshops for youth through the Youth Money School. CAHS will provide three 2 two-hour financial workshops per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, serving approximately 5 Washington Village and CNI designated South Norwalk Community youth residents per workshop.

~ Connecticut Association for Human Services Web Address: www.cahs.org ~

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The Maritime AquariumThe Maritime Aquarium

In support of the Norwalk Housing Authority's Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan, The Maritime Aquarium will provide the following in-kind services for residents of Washington Village and the greater South Norwalk neighborhood:

Free Aquarium admission for all students (estimated 2 visits / year by ~205 students). This commitment includes an estimated 70 children per year from Washington Village and 135 per year from the surrounding South Norwalk neighborhood.

The Maritime Aquarium will increase the number of age-appropriate residents of Washington Village and the greater South Norwalk neighborhood that receive free teen enrollment in the TeMPEST after school program. The Maritime Aquarium expects to serve about 40 students in 2013, adding 20 students per year through 2016.

Over the next five years, this investment has the potential to grow. This additional commitment includes an estimates 30 children per year from Washington Village and 50 children per year from the surrounding South Norwalk neighborhood.

~ The Maritime Aquarium Web Address: www.maritimeaquarium.org ~

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Money Management International

Money Management International offers several free financial literacy workshops. Money Management International has offered 2 two-hour financial workshops per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, serving approximately 5 Washington Village and CNI designated South Norwalk Community residents per workshop.

Money Management International will add one extra free financial literacy workshop per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, provided scheduling permits and grant funding is available. Money Management International will increase the number of Washington Village and CNI designated South Norwalk Community residents served to a maximum of 25 per workshop.

Money Management International provides free credit counseling sessions by phone to help consumers gain control of their finances. A trained counselor will work with the consumer to develop a personal financial assessment by analyzing income, expenses, assets and liabilities. As a team, the counselor and consumer work together to create a livable spending plan and establish an action plan for achieving financial goals. Money Management International will provide free credit counseling sessions by phone for a maximum of 25 Washington Village and CNI designated South Norwalk Community residents.

~ Money Management International Web Address: www.moneymanagement.org ~

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Norwalk Community CollegeNorwalk Community College

Over the past 10 years alone, we have invested and/or leveraged the following initiatives and resources in the area:

  • Expanded college facilities with the Center for Information Technology (2003) and the Center for Science, Health and Wellness (2011) enabling the college to better prepare substantial numbers of graduates in STEM occupations and related fields;
  • Co-founded Norwalk ACTS for Children (2005) and continue to lead the organization;
  • Provide the Family and Children's Agency's after school program for academically at-risk middle school children with classroom and office space, student labor, and additional support since (2007);
  • Launched a Horizons program on campus (2013) to serve low-income children with multiple risk factors.
  • Developed a community service learning program (2006) which links several hundred NCC students annually to assist with meeting community identified needs.

Over the next five-year Choice Neighborhood grant period, the College will commit financial and in-kind resources to support the educational activities, human services, and other community investments included in the Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan. Our contribution includes a broad range of programs and initiatives, including:

1. Vocational, Career and Technical Programs:
NCC offers the following Workforce Investment Act (WIA) approved programs that Washington Village/South Norwalk residents are eligible to participate in: CREDIT PROGRAMS - Accounting Certificate, BEST-Building Efficiency & Sustainable Technology Certificate, Health Office Information Specialist, Child Development Associate Credential, Gerontology Certificate, Legal Assistant, Medical Assistant, Mental Health Certificate, Networking Certificate, Recreation & Leisure/Therapeutic Certificate, Relational Database Certificate, and Web Development Certificate. NON-CREDIT PROGRAMS – HAZWOPER Initial, A+ Certification, Auto CADD, Bookkeeping Certification, Bookkeeping Practices, BPI Building Analyst & Envelope Professional Certification, Building Energy Worker Training, Certified Nurse Aide, Computer Graphics, Computer Programming, CT Lead Supervisor, Customer Service for Health Care Professionals, Dental Assistant Program, EKG, Envelope Professional, Medical Billing and Reimbursement, Microsoft Office Specialist, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician Specialist, Real Estate Principles and Practices, Security Officer Certification, Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Travel Careers, Veterinary Assistant Certificate, Weatherization, Web Design, Web Mastering.

The table below summarizes our targeted new enrollments from Washington Village. These are a sample of our WIA-funded training programs only. For WIA-eligible programs, the Workforce Investment Board reimburses NCC for the students' tuition so the class is at no cost to the student. Note that students can enroll in any number of other classes available at NCC but WIA training funds would not be available to cover those costs.

Program # Enrolled per Class Cost per unit
(student or class)
Value per year Total over 5 years
Health Office 4 $5,006 $20,024 $100,120
Child Development Associate 4 $2,262 $9,048 $45,240
Medical Assistant 4 $7,025 $28,100 $140,500
Building Energy Worker Training 3 $3,000 $9,000 $45,000
Building Efficiency
& Sustainable Technology
2 $4,956 $9,912 $49,560
Small Business Management
& Entrepreneurship
4 $2,735 $10,940 $54,700
Pharmacy Technician for Healthcare Professionals 4 $1,300 $5,200 $26,000
Dental Assistant Program 4 $2,855 $11,420 $57,100
TOTAL 29   $103,644 $518,220

Because of our unique position to add vocational training programs with the WIB's approval, we will work closely with NHA and its partners to add targeted vocational classes that may not be currently available.

2. Health Care:
In 2011, NCC opened the Center for Science, Health and Wellness on our campus in Norwalk. The result of a public/private partnership, this impressive building, which earned Gold LEED certification, is a community showcase for preparing students for careers in a variety of STEM fields, as well as nursing and allied health, exercise science, and health office management. Offering a variety of health pathways from non-credit certificates to degree programs, NCC is the primary educator of the local health workforce, producing several hundred graduates each year to fill positions in health offices, long-term care centers, hospitals, and medical clinics. In addition to preparing the workforce, the college partners with the community to improve health and wellness of community members with such efforts as the annual Heart Walk and are working closely with the South Norwalk Community Center to further develop a partnership aimed at leveraging our resources to improve the health of local residents.

3. Early Learning Programs:
NCC is the primary educator of early childhood teachers in southwest Fairfield County and graduates approximately 60 students from our ECE certificate and associate degree programs annually. We are also one of the key partners who worked in collaboration with Stepping Stones Children's Museum to develop and implement the Early Language Literacy Initiative which is working in concert with local community agencies to expand access to high quality early care in Norwalk. NCC faculty are active members of the Norwalk Early Childhood Council and helped to shape the 2012-16 Norwalk Early Childhood Action Plan. As an anchor institution of the Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI, NCC Early Childhood Education program faculty will provide professional development to early learning programs in Washington Village/South Norwalk. Professional development services will include mentoring existing early childhood education sites, recruiting current ECE teachers to continue their education in order to earn additional educational credentials, and collaborating with early childhood education programs at the area high schools to ensure a seamless pathway from secondary to post-secondary education.

NCC will also specifically recruit new Washington Village children to participate in the newly established Horizons program, a summer enrichment program which invests in children from kindergarten through high school preparing them for success in post-secondary college or careers. The Horizons program will have an enrollment of 12 children per year and of these, at least 4 slots are expected to be filled by children from Washington Village.

4. K-12 Outreach:
NCC is working closely with the Norwalk Public Schools on aligning the Common Core Standards with college entrance expectations. To date, there have been discussions at every institutional level, faculty through executive, to close the gap between high school and post-secondary expectations. Early delivery of college entrance examinations to alert students and their parents to deficiencies has resulted in an increase of students electing to take four years of high school mathematics and decreased the number entering college requiring substantial remediation. The college will look to recruit South Norwalk high school students to participate in our ConnCAP (Connecticut Collegiate Awareness) program which provides tutoring and a summer enrichment activities for first generation and low income students, as well as our Connecticut Scholars and TRIO programs which provides intensive advising and tutoring from college entrance through graduation. NCC commits to the assignment of academic leadership to sustain and grow the partnership between the public schools serving Washington Village.

5. Community Service Learning:
NCC has a substantial service learning program that places several hundred students in community agencies on an annual basis. The Service Learning program is coordinated by a full-time staff person with the additional support of student workers.

6. Lifetime Learning:
NCC's commitment to education is evident for the entire lifespan. Each semester, several hundred seniors are able to register, for free, on a space available basis in college courses. In addition, for more than 20 years, NCC has hosted a large group of active seniors who operate a robust series of educational activities at NCC. The presence of several generations on our campus makes for a diverse and vibrant educational environment which benefits all of us. NCC is interested in working with the Norwalk Housing Authority and its People Lead to ensure that these benefits are available and accessible to residents of Washington Village.

~ Norwalk Community College Web Address: www.ncc.commnet.edu/default.asp ~

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Norwalk Public LibraryNorwalk Public Library

In support of the Norwalk Housing Authority's Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan, the South Norwalk Branch Library will provide the following types of in-kind services for residents of Washington Village and the greater South Norwalk neighborhood:

  • Adult ESL classes
  • Early childhood (0-5) literacy programming – e.g. Bouncy, Bouncy Babies, Mostly Mother Goose and Timeless Tales story time programs; Mini Musicians music program and Short Film & A Craft.
  • School age programming – e.g. book clubs, arts & craft activities and summer reading programs for all ages.

The South Norwalk Branch Library currently serves approximately 80 children ages 0-5 specifically from the CNI South Norwalk neighborhood boundary and will continue to do so over the five year CNI grant period.

The South Norwalk Branch Library currently serves approximately 200 school-age children specifically from the CNI South Norwalk neighborhood boundary and 50 school-age children from Washington Village and will continue to do so over the five year CNI grant period.

In support of the Transformation Plan, the South Norwalk Branch Library will develop and implement a new program initiative to provide early literacy programming for 40, 0-5 year olds living in Washington Village per year for the five year CNI grant period. This commitment is newly generated and is in direct support of the Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan.

In support of the CNI Transformation Plan, the South Norwalk Branch Library will develop and implement a new program initiative to provide ESL classes for 24 adults living in Washington Village per year for the five year CNI grant period. This commitment is newly generated and is in direct support of the Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan.

~ Norwalk Public Library Web Address: www.norwalklib.org ~

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Stepping Stones Museum for ChildrenStepping Stones Museum for Children

In support of the Norwalk Housing Authority's Washington Village/South Norwalk CNI Transformation Plan, Stepping Stones will provide museum visits for residents of Washington Village and the greater Norwalk Housing Authority population through the Open Arms Community Admission Pass Program in conjunction with the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

Through this in-kind service, Stepping Stones will offer 12 individuals access to the museum each day (2 passes daily/ 6 people per pass) that the museum is open (354 days per year). Additionally, Washington Village will be given 2 group visits per year.

Stepping Stones will work with the Norwalk Housing Authority to bring one or both of its traveling mini exhibits, Heathlyville, mini exhibit and Conservation Quest mini exhibit to a mutually agreed upon location in South Norwalk for a total of four weeks per year.

Stepping Stones will remain committed to providing quality educational opportunities to the residents of Washington Village over the five year CNI grant period.

~ Stepping Stones Museum for Children Web Address: www.steppingstonesmuseum.org ~

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Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust

Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust is a community housing development agency and is also HUD and CHFA approved. Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust's mission is to lead, empower and change neighborhoods, improving quality of life through affordable housing opportunities and comprehensive homeownership services. Our homeownership services include classes, one-on-one consultations for first time homebuyers, and foreclosure prevention services for those at risk of losing their homes. Our target market is primarily Fairfield County but all our services are free of cost and open to anyone.

The Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, in support of the Norwalk Housing Authority's Washington Village/South Norwalk Transformation Plan, will provide the following in-kind services for residents of Washington Village and the greater South Norwalk neighborhood in conjunction with a CNI grant and Transformation Plan:

New Commitment:

  • Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust provides free 8-hour first time home buyer pre-purchase certificate classes at its offices in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust will commit to offering 2 first time home buyer classes per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, for a maximum of 25 households each, provided grant funding is available.
  • Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust provides free homeownership readiness consultations to potential homebuyers. A trained housing counselor reviews a family's financial history and identifies what steps need to be taken for the family to become mortgage eligible and ready to take on the responsibilities of homeownership. The counselor also assists each household in identifying barriers to homeownership and establishing an action plan to overcome same.
  • Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust offers other workshops centered around homeownership, in addition to the 8-hour first time home buyer pre-purchase certificate classes. Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust will commit to offering 3 additional two-hour financial capability or homeownership workshops per year at a Norwalk Housing Authority location, for a maximum of 25 households each, provided grant funding is available.

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