Letter to the Community

Dear Partners,

It is with a continued commitment to the mission of Stamford Cradle to Career that we share this annual report. This Annual Report reflects a time of organizational leadership transition, and we are pleased that the transition happened quickly and smoothly. It is remarkable that this community organization came into existence in 2014 and already has an established history of excellence in advocacy, programming, and collaboration. This is thanks in large part to the strength of the shared work of our community partners.

We are especially grateful to our Executive Team and the vision they have helped lead through the transition of leadership and increased need in our community. Despite difficult social and economic times, we have successfully fostered a network to leverage community partners to coordinate information and resources for Stamford children and families. Over the period that this report covers, SC2C was a valued partner to the City of Stamford in its Covid-19 response, a leader in promoting equity in every area we worked, and key convener of all involved in Early Childcare Initiatives in Stamford. We partnered closely with StriveTogether, the national network of collective impact organizations across the country.

With an urgent focus on continued growth, we are actively seeking new partnerships to continue and intensify our work. We remain committed to elevating the voices of students and families, exploring ways to better support our Middle School students while creating greater access to individualized educational resources.

As current and former leaders of Stamford Cradle to Career, we want to thank you for the commitment to our shared mission. We are especially grateful to our excellent staff and team who make the work happen every day.

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 2021

56

Currently active can and network members

173

ORGS REPRESENTED FROM COMMUNITIES

64

YOUTH REACHED

5084

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.

SC2C Early Childhood
115
Children enrolled in Sparkler able to receive developmental screenings.

Childhood Development
Support

66%
Incoming kindergartners with a pre-k experience.

Access to
Pre-K*

*This number declined significantly as a result of COVID-19 and the closure of many early childhood centers, but we expect to see this increase as facilities reopen.

194
People participating in workshops. Over 7 hours of training provided.

Professional Development

2021 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.

115
K-3 students receiving literacy support during the summer.

Building
Literacy Skills

86%
K-3 students receiving literacy support that did not regress during the summer.

Tackling
Summer Slide

7.5
Hours of professional development provided out-of-school time staff.

PROFESSIONAL Development

2021 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

982
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

2021 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

Focus on Racial Equity

The StriveTogether national model is focused on educational equity through the lens of race. We have learned that how we invest our human resources and capital reflect our values. We take a systems level approach when working with children and families by collaboratively working with partners in the community to increase access and resources for traditionally underserved families and students, particularly families and student of color.

To create systems change means to focus on the root causes of the inequity in our systems, one of which is racial inequity. As our mission is to ensure educational excellence and equity for all children in Stamford; helping to understand, raise consciousness and dismantle racism is the foundation of our work. We created our Racial Equity Statement, which has measurable outcomes, to publicly share with transparency our commitment to racial equity.

90%
Percent of participants who found Community Racial Justice workshops helpful.

COMMUNITY WORKSHOP HELPFULNESS

84
Hours of in-kind support providing meeting preparation and facilitation, data, and community engagement.

SUPPORT TO AFBA

261
Participants from the Stamford community, school system, and community organizations trained.

RESTORATIVE PRACTICE TRAINEES

2021 Initiatives

Community Racial Justice Series

Collaborating with Stamford Stands Against Racism and Community Health Center, this
virtual series launched in October 2020 and provides our community partners
(residents, faith-based, non-profits, local businesses) access to educational sessions
about different topics related to racial justice. Topics have included Community Adverse
Experiences, Becoming an Anti-Racist Organization, Faith Through the Lens of Race,
Police Civilian Review Boards, and Race and Mental Health, with the goal to promote
learning and conversation. View a summary or watch a recorded session.

Alliance for Black Achievement (AFBA)

AFBA is comprised of students, parents, and school & community leaders whose mission
it is to address the start inequities in achievement between Black students and their
peers as evident in Stamford Public Schools (SPS) data. SC2C provides backbone and
data support to assist the group in its four focus areas: 1) Elevating parent voice; 2)
Implementing programs, priorities, and practices to support Black student achievement;
3) Increasing representation of Black educators in SPS; and 4) Partnering with the Board
of Education.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices is an approach to create a culture based on high quality
relationships among all community members and positive community building that is
trauma-free. We have provided free training in School Climate and Restorative Practices
since 2019 through partnership with SPS and targeted outreach to Parent Teacher
Organizations, elected members of Stamford city boards, staff and board members of
nonprofits, business leaders, and parents. In summer 2021 we piloted the Empathy
Project, a new pro-social behavior program with 10 middle school students. With
promising results, we expanded in the 2021-2022 school year to 20 additional students.
A summary of our Restorative Practices work is here.

Empathy Project & After-School Enrichment

EMPATHY PROJECT PILOT SUMMER 2021

10

STUDENTS

2021-22 EMPATHY PROJECT

27

STUDENTS

2021- 22 EMPATHY PROJECT

8

SESSIONS HELD

Comments from Community Racial Justice and Restorative Practice Participants

Our Team

Edith Presley, President

Lauren Scopaz-Daunais, Vice President For Strategy & Operations

Yolande Ford, Director Of Equity Initiatives

Katie Murphy, Data Manager

Akosua Agyei, College & Career Readiness Manager

Tashiiyana Shuler-Drakes, Community Engagement Manager

Angelica Gorrio, Communications Manager

Danielle Walker, Community 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

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

Looking To The Future

EARLY CHILDHOOD

Our main goal for 2022 is to increase family engagement and leadership in our work. Starting in late 2021, 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.

EARLY GRADE READING

Our main goal in 2022 is to expand our literacy support in out of school time, including educating and supporting families.

  • Plan in person family outreach and engagement events for families enrolled in the Summer Literacy Initiative summer camps.
  • Expand the Summer Literacy Initiative to serve additional students and camps.
  • Explore continuing the literacy coach model during the school year in after school programs.

COLLEGE & CAREER READINESS

Our main goal in 2022 is to continue to expand and update CAN initiatives to effectively support Stamford Public Schools, community organizations, families, and students.

  • Make students more aware of the Bridge to College program and the resources it provides to graduating high school seniors
  • Strengthen partnerships with community organizations and in-school programs using Skill Building and conducting a Skill Building Information session for various partners.
  • Refining and updating the Youth Leadership internship to provide more structure and a more effective internship experience for students.