Letter to the Community

Dear Partners,

The ongoing accomplishments of Stamford Cradle to Career are living examples of what can be achieved when the entire community comes together and amplifies the voices of our parents, partners, and students. I am profoundly grateful to the staff of SC2C (Stamford Cradle to Career) for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the families of Stamford. With the combined efforts of over 100 volunteers, representing over 60 Stamford organizations we are actualizing our mission to collectively align community resources to ensure equity and excellence in education, for every child, from cradle to career. I remain affirmed in our work by the continued support of donors and community thought partners. Stamford Cradle to Career continues to thrive through the generosity of visionaries who champion our collective impact approach. Through alignment of strategies and resources we continue to believe that ALL Stamford youth can succeed in education, career, and life. In addition, I am tremendously grateful for the Executive Team and Advisory Board of our organization. Their support, guidance and critical problem-solving approach has helped us grow tremendously this year. 

We continue to serve the families of Stamford through the work of our Community Action Networks (CANs). In 2022 the work of CANs resulted in over 50 community events for students, families, and community providers. With this level of dedication to systems change, Stamford Cradle to Career helped develop over 3,000 members of our learning community.  

In response to information gathered from our students and families we learned there is a need to enhance enrichment and intervention strategies within our Middle Schools. With this task, Stamford Cradle to Career applied to and won a Federal Grant to provide wrap around support in this space. This award of $2.3 million over five-years The Full-Service Community Schools Grant is designed to support Middle School Transition in Stamford Public Schools. SC2C is one of just 42 organizations to receive a 2022 Full-Service Community Schools Grant. Funding will be used to increase social, emotional, mental health, and academic support for students, educators, and families at Stamford Public Schools.   

Lastly, Stamford Cradle to Career is seeking greater involvement from organizations and individuals interested in serving Stamford families. We welcome your ideas and suggestions as well as hearing about your existing challenges. Through this transparent discourse we are fighting for our overarching goal which is to collectively align community resources to ensure that all youth succeed, because successful children lead to a vibrant and thriving community. 

Bringing Community Partners Together

OUR VISION:
All Stamford youth succeed in education, career and life.

OUR MISSION
To collectively align community resources to ensure equity and excellence in education, for every child, from cradle to career.

OUR COMMITMENT:
To promote racial equity in all aspects of life in the City of Stamford by promoting understanding and raising awareness.

Network Overview By The Numbers

CAN AND NETWORK MEETINGS HELD IN 2022

58

Currently active can and network members

173

ORGS REPRESENTED FROM COMMUNITIES

76

YOUTH REACHED

5218

COMMUNITY MEMBERS ATTENDING EVENTS

3205

TOTAL EVENTS HELD

49

Early Childhood

All children enter Kindergarten ready to learn

Currently, our 0-5 Early Childhood Community Action Network (CAN) is focused on three main areas: Screenings and Assessments, Professional Development, and Family Engagement. We have three working groups within our CAN that meet and plan the work for each area. Our intended result is that all children enter Kindergarten ready to learn.

507
Children enrolled in Sparkler able to receive developmental screenings.

Childhood Development
Support

75%
Incoming kindergartners with a pre-k experience.

Access to
Pre-K

215
People participating in workshops. Over 7 hours of training provided.

Professional Development

2022 Initiatives

Screenings and Assessments

The priority in our Screenings and Assessments work includes increasing the number of children ages 0-5 screened by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), and subsequently ensuring any child who needs early intervention supports receives appropriate supports. We do this by both expanding our engagement with early childhood providers to share a free developmental screener App called Sparkler with families they serve as well as working closely with Stamford Public Schools, the Ferguson Library and local parent groups to encourage parents to download the Sparkler App and complete ASQ screenings.

Family Engagement

Our Family Engagement work helps to support both our Sparkler App, and our parent engagement which includes our Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Parent Ambassadors as well as our Sparkler Parent Liaisons. In this workgroup we focus on increasing parent/caregiver engagement across our 0-5 work with encouraging families with children 0-5 to sign up for Sparkler via our community partners and Stamford Public Schools. In addition to this, we have also hired two parents, to support our work as a part of the OEC Parent Ambassador. These parents work closely with our organization and the OEC Parent Cabinet Members across the state to prioritize key policy work for families with children 0-5.

We utilize these three areas in our work to support all families with children 0-5 as well as our larger community engagement initiatives across the network.

Professional Development

The priority in our Professional Development work is to convene different types of early childhood providers across the 0-5 age group for networking, professional development and sharing. We have planned to do this with networking and development events in both the spring and fall (Early Childhood Community Virtual Event, Early Childhood Professional Development Series, Stamford Early Childhood Fair) along with supporting Stamford Public Schools with developing relationships among early childhood providers and the elementary schools to support the transition of students from preschool and family childcare programs to kindergarten. We have also expanded our work to include a newly created collaborative, the Greater Stamford Parenting Partnership. This collaborative is focused on increasing the number of families receiving home visiting services which provide intensive support to families to ensure and assist with them creating healthy nurturing relationships with their children. Learn more about the programs supporting home visiting in Stamford here.

Early Grade Reading

All children read at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade

Our early grade reading work partners with Stamford Public Schools, the Ferguson Library, and out of school providers to connect reading instruction from school to support in after school programs, summer camps, and at home. The goal is that all Stamford children will be reading at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

116
K-3 students receiving literacy support during the summer.

Building
Literacy Skills

65%
K-3 students receiving literacy support that did not regress during the summer.

Tackling
Summer Slide

5.5
Hours of professional development provided out-of-school time staff.

PROFESSIONAL Development

2022 Initiatives

#RaiseAReader

Supporting parents as a child’s first and most important teacher is a core value of our work. In May 2021 we launched, #RaiseAReader, a campaign of six videos sharing five easy ways to encourage building early reading skills at home. Videos were released weekly, in English and Spanish through May and June and relaunched in fall of 2021. The Ferguson Library led this work, with the content based on Every Child Ready to Read’s five easy ways to encourage reading and literacy development at home: talking, playing, singing, reading and writing. Thanks to Horizons, the Palace, INTEMPO and Building One Community for working with the library to complete these videos.

Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative

Summer 2021 was the second year of our Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative (SSLI) and the first year to do the program in person. In partnership with the Ferguson Library, we ran a public awareness campaign on the importance of summer reading and hired three literacy coaches to work in three summer camps to reduce summer reading loss. We worked with 115 students in grades K-3 in the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and Family Centers. Of the students with both pre and post assessments, 86% maintained or improved their literacy skills over the summer. The full 2021 report can be found here.

Professional Development

The priority of our professional development work is to share tools, resources, and strategies used in Stamford Public Schools with our out of school time providers. In February-June 2021 we held a five-part series with an average attendance of 20 people per session. Topics included: District Assessments / Online Programs, Oral Language, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Summer Reading. Materials and recordings of the sessions are available here.

College & Career Readiness

All youth graduate high school ready for college and career

Our transition to postsecondary, college and career work engages youth development organizations, Stamford Public Schools, youth, and community members to ensure students have the skills, opportunities, and support to graduate high school prepared for the future and with a plan for their next step. Our goal is that students begin a career path that allows them to support themselves.

80
Families received information in 3 languages on how to apply for Financial Aid.

ENGAGING FAMILIES

978
Graduating seniors received messaging about finalizing college plans during the summer.

COLLEGE ACCESS

10%
Increase in enrollment at NCC for students receiving 1:1 support vs. those not receiving 1:1 support.

DIRECT COLLEGE COUNSELING SUPPORT

2022 Initiatives

Bridge to College

Bridge to College is a free program that provides as-needed resources, support, and guidance to students between high school graduation and the first day of college classes. Bridge to College is open to all Stamford graduating seniors, no matter what college they plan to attend, to combat “summer melt.” In 2021, the program reached 982 seniors with regular messaging and reminders through Signal Vine about completing the college enrollment process. Of the 982 seniors, 117 (12%) students received additional, one-on-one support, from one of four school counselors working with the B2C program. Students also participated in our first ever Keys to Success workshop series focused on providing students with information that would help prepare them for their first year in school. Through our strong partnership with Norwalk Community College (NCC), 10% more NCC-intended students who received one on one counselor support enrolled in NCC versus Stamford Public School NCC-intended students who did not participate in one-on-one support. See 2021 report for more information.

Skill Building For Success

As youth prepare to enter the workforce, it is important for them to strengthen their non-academic essential skills to be prepared for employment, competitive in their career, and confident in their abilities. Skill Building for Success creates a common language and framework for the community to help prepare students for a successful transition into higher education and careers. In 2021, we updated the Skill Building brochure and created the Student Skill Tracker to make the information more accessible to community organizations, families, and students. We also started implementing Skill Building within two youth-serving programs, Mayor’s Youth Employment Program and Early College Studies.

Youth Leadership

Youth Leadership is a paid internship opportunity for five Stamford Public School high school students to be important part of the programs, initiatives, and work we do as a Transition CAN through centering their voices, perspectives, and lived experiences. It allows the Transition CAN to be a space that encourages and supports youth action around education and efforts towards education equity in the community. In 2021, we created a youth engagement framework that serves as the foundation for the Youth Leadership internship and welcomed our first cohort high school students

Equity

Every child deserves equal access to educational excellence

Our commitment The well-being and success of children should NOT be shaped by where they live or how they are racialized. With intentionality and commitment to equity, our goal is to promote anti-racist policies, practices, and behaviors by dismantling systems of oppression. We strive for transformational versus transactional change in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and access.

Looking at equity as a result of our practices, communication, inclusion, and advocacy, we are excited to present updates on measures we use to evaluate our progress and move our work forward.

Race Equity Measures Report

Race Equity Measures Report (SPANISH)

766
1 of only 2 city-wide candidate forums.

Stamford Board of Education Candidate Forum

284
An effort focused on securing no-cost school meals for all Stamford Public School kids.

Food For Thought Training Attendees

4
Stimulates local conversation regarding successes, opportunities and responsibilities in racial equity.

Community Racial Justice Forums

2022 Initiatives

Food for Thought

No-cost school meals for all students is critically important to the health and wellbeing of our entire community. According to the United Way’s ALICE in Focus report on children, as recently as fall 2021 41% of CT ALICE households living paycheck to paycheck experienced food insecurity. Childhood food insecurity has negative effects on physical and mental health, cognitive function, and academic performance. During the pandemic, the demand for free school meals increased by 50%, demonstrating that many students who had not previously been eligible for free meals were now in need of them. No-cost school meals reduces absenteeism and stigma, shaming and bullying and offers time and cost savings to families and the school district. SC2C and UWWC have partnered with the City of Stamford, Stamford Public Schools, End Hunger CT!, and the Stamford Food Collaborative to provide trainings to our community partners on how we can combat childhood hunger and continue to provide no-cost school meals to all Stamford Public School students.

Empathy Project

The Empathy project is an afterschool program designed to spark conversation about the role that empathy plays in our lives: at school, at home, in the community and world. Empathy is the ability to notice, understand, and share the emotions of others. Empathy helps us to take someone else’s perspective, understand each others’ emotions, connect with one another, show compassion, make good social choices, and ultimately develop lasting relationships. We believe in the power of empathy to transform the student’s experiences. Developing empathy in middle childhood promotes healthy helping behaviors in adulthood.

Community Racial Justice Series

A collaboration between Stamford Stands Against Racism, Stamford Cradle to Career, DOMUS, and Community Health Center, Inc. That provided trainings for community members and commuity partners who wanted to gain skills and strategies to address racial injustice and systemic racism to advance racial equity. This year’s focus was on demystifying the CT Police Accountability Law how philanthropic organizations prioritize racial equity and made commitments to funding racial equity. 

Empathy Project & After-School Enrichment

EMPATHY PROJECT PILOT SUMMER 2021

10

STUDENTS

2022-23 EMPATHY PROJECT

27

STUDENTS

2022- 23 EMPATHY PROJECT

8

SESSIONS HELD

Our Team

Edith Presley, President

Lauren Scopaz-Daunais, Vice President For Strategy & Operations

Yolande Ford, Director Of Equity Initiatives

Katie Murphy, Data Manager

Akosua-Headshot-2022-social-e1644950697815-768x762

Akosua Agyei, College & Career Readiness Manager

Tashiiyana Shuler-Drakes, Community Engagement Manager

Angelica Gorrio, Communications Manager

Danielle Walker, Community Coordinator

Our 2023 Team, we'd like to introduce

Rose

Rosario Velazquez, College & Career Readiness Manager

Career Planning Coordinator Gabby

Gabriella Tozzi, Administrative Coordinator

Thanks to our Executive Team for their Leadership

Nadene Mckenzie Reid, Natwest Markets

Alice Knapp, Ferguson Library

Isabel Almeida, United Way of Western Connecticut

Robert M. Arnold, Family Centers

Anka Badurina, PhD, Building One Community

  Barbara Carr, Women’s and Children’s Services at Stamford Health

Olympia Della Flora, Stamford Public Schools

  Linda Franciscovich, Norwalk ACTS

Janeene Freeman, City of Stamford

Jackie Heftman, Stamford Board of Education

Laura Indellicate, Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky

Marc Jaffe, Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County

Kimberly A. Kispert, Family Centers Inc.

Patricia Billie Miller, Connecticut State Senator, 27th District

Rowena Track, Boys & Girls Club of Stamford

Vincent J. Tufo, Charter Oak Communities

Candy Yeager, United Way of Western Connecticut

Thank you to our Investors

Our Supporters and Stakeholders are Fundamental in Helping SC2C Accomplish our Goals.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Our main goal for 2023 is to increase family engagement and leadership in our work. Starting in late 2022, we are working on this in several ways:

  • Hired two parents to support our local and statewide work as Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Parent Ambassadors and Sparkler Parent Liaisons.
  • Launched the Greater Stamford Parenting Partnership, in partnership with Family Centers and Child Guidance, to increase the number of families knowing about and accessing home visiting and other supportive new parent services.
  • Planned the Stamford Early Childhood Fair in partnership with the School Readiness Council in April 2022 reaching over 500 community members.