2017 Annual Report
Dream. Learn. Succeed.
A Teaching Fellow works with a 5th grader. In 2017, we expanded from a 2-year program to a 4-year program.
Table Of Contents Message from the Director
This is Hopkins
This is Pathfinder
Student Profile: Elijah
Student Profile: Rayzmarie
Student Profile: Ethan
The Pathfinder Student
Alumni Success Stories
The Pathfinder Instructional Model
Faculty & Staff
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
Insert: Stay In Touch
Table of Contents
Twenty-five years ago, Hopkins School established Summerbridge as a way to honor its New Haven roots and connect with the community. Ten years ago, we overhauled our student recruitment and admissions, teacher recruitment and training, curriculum development, high school placement counseling, fundraising, and data collection. This year marked another inflection point as we expanded to a four-year program by admitting our first class of rising 6th graders. We also employed professional educators to teach the core academic courses, assisted by Teaching Fellows who also taught enrichment classes. A decade of outstanding results has validated both our focus on academic skills development and our expansion. Hundreds of Hopkins students and alumni/ae have served as tutors and teaching fellows. We provide our students with an influential, positive peer group at a critical time in their lives. During adolescence children form a mental image of themselves. Being at a place that facilitates their dreaming, learning, and succeeding makes an impact. Regardless of the type of high school our graduates attend, the data and anecdotes reveal our students develop confidence in their ability to achieve their dreams. We are proud to share this overview of our journey with you.
Michael Van Leesten, Director of Pathfinder Hopkins School
Elijah is a member of Pathfinderâ€™s first cohort of 5th graders.
Pathfinderâ€™s summer classes are held in the Malone Science Center at Hopkins .
Pathfinder Is... a fun, challenging after-school and summer program that prepares 5th-8th graders from families of modest means, to dream, learn, and succeed.
We Provide... a four-year, tuition-free program of rigorous academic preparation and high school admissions counseling to high-potential middle school students from New Haven area public and parochial schools. Pathfinder also prepares talented high school and college students to pursue teaching careers.
Through Our Work... with highly motivated students, we support their families, their educators, and the community as a whole. These children return to their schools knowing how to more effectively pursue and achieve their dreams. They become leaders and raise the bar for their peers as well.
This is Pathfinder
Elijah, Grade 5, John S. Martinez School Meeting Elijah is like meeting an old man in a child’s body. To say the boy is “wise beyond his years,” is an understatement. The son of Puerto Rican ministers, Elijah comes from a tight-knit family, where everything is discussed openly. His father is a New Haven police officer who attended community college. His mother dreamed of being a psychiatrist but never got to finish college.
Eleven-year-old Elijah has already developed a mindset for success that landed him an invitation from the Ulysses S. Grant program for young inventors at Yale. “I invented something to check if the fruits that you are eating have pesticides on it,” he explains. Elijah chose Pathfinder because he recognized the value in four years of academic skills development.
“This is an awesome place. My parents were so excited when they knew I actually got a chance [to come here]. It was a g reat choice my family made.” When Elijah shares what‘s on his mind, it’s (sadly) easy to see how he would become a target for kids who don’t understand him. “I did get bullied in school,” he says. “But [my teacher at J.S. Martinez] stood up for me no matter what. It felt really good to have a teacher that I know that I could trust, and that understood where I was coming from.” At Pathfinder, Elijah made friends among his peers and Teaching Fellows. “Jay helps me out with my math, no matter what. Even if I get it wrong a thousand times she still will help me. I talked to her about how I felt about the state that Puerto Rico’s in right now and she understood where I was coming from. She actually gave me a book called ‘War Against All Puerto Ricans’ and it was about how they got all the way up to now.” Before coming to Pathfinder, Elijah envisioned a career serving others. He still does, but now he’s considering other ways of helping. “If I kept my character very strong and I had the right state of mind and mentality, I knew that I could become a lawyer. I found out that Mr. V was an [investment banker], so I also was interested in doing that as well. I want to help people handle their finances.”
Rayzmarie, Grade 7, Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School A soft-spoken young lady, Rayzmarie radiates a positivity that belies the challenges she’s faced. Four years ago, Rayzmarie was traumatized by witnessing her father’s serious machinery accident.
“When I started screaming, she didn't take it seriously, because I always talked so loud. Once I went inside and told her, then she came running. Since then, I've stopped speaking loudly.”
“I was like 10 feet away from him and I started screaming. My mom was inside.”
“I say that if anyone has the oppor tunity to be in Pathfinder they should take it. It's a beautiful and an awesome experience. ” Rayzmarie and her family moved to New Haven from Puerto Rico shortly after the accident. At the time, she wasn't fluent in English. Rayzmarie worked hard to catch up to her peers in English and to improve her math skills. “I was at Washington Elementary and I wasn't doing so well. The math—they didn't explain it very well. Once I came to Pathfinder, I started progressing.” Initially, Rayzmarie wasn’t sure she wanted to do the summer program. “My mom and my dad encouraged me. My mom didn’t go to college. When she was pregnant with me, my dad was in school, but to get money he needed to work and stuff. My goal is to go to Yale Medical School and become an obstetrician. I think Pathfinder is really gonna help me get there.” “When I first got here, I thought, ‘Oh, my god - so much work,’ but now I kind of look forward to it. I come in and I sit at my table with my advisor, she's really funny. Every day, I hang out with my friends, and we talk and we make jokes, and it's a really good part of the day.”
Ethan, Grade 8, St. Martin de Porres Academy Ethan is thrilled to be entering his Freshman year at Hopkins, especially considering his academic history in elementary school. “I wasn't the best student. I used to get some F’s, and I'm not proud of that. [The teachers at St. Martin dePorres] helped me want to do better with myself.” With additional encouragement from his parents, Ethan
improved his performance so much that he met our stringent criteria for admission. Ethan’s mom suggested he to apply to Pathfinder. “I was a little distraught when I heard about the summer [school], but I’m happy that I did come here, because I met so many different people. And there are so many different activities,” he says.
“I feel like Pathfinder really helped me to become a better student and helped me push myself to become the best me I could be.” Once here, Ethan continued to strive for success, and he loved exploring the new academic territory. “I got more A's last year, and last year I got 100’s on both my science exams.” Ethan finished his final summer in Pathfinder with a court date— as Petitioner for the 1st Amendment in a mock trial. “Last year, I would say Olympics was the best part. This year, I really enjoy the court case I'm doing in history class. We're doing a mock trial tomorrow. I'm really excited. Sanjay, the Teaching Fellow, really intrigued me with law. The case is Angel Rosario vs. Metro City Public Schools. What happened is…” After spending several minutes explaining the nuances of the case and presenting his argument, Ethan stops himself. “I won't go into too much detail, but as you can tell, I'm very intrigued by it.” Now that he’s gaining momentum in his academic life, Ethan is dreaming bigger. “I'm looking for ivy league schools that have a good criminal justice program.” p.7
The Pathfinder Student: Multi-cultural, Multi-national, Multi-Dimensional
Our students live in the New Haven area, but in the last ten years have hailed from countries. This international sensibility enhances the experience of everyone in the program. Just as we give Pathfinder students the tools they need to bring their dreams to fruition, we also learn from each one.
Whether it’s Elijah sharing his concerns for Puerto Rico’s economic stability, or Zoe inspiring her peers to think outside the box and explore unexpected aspects of MacBeth, each child who joins our Pathfinder family is an integral part of the program.
The “Pathfinder Student”
The Pathfinder Student loves to learn, has aspirations...
... and will work hard to achieve them.
earned a full scholarship to Vermont Academy where she won the schoolâ€™s highest award in 2016. Today, she is majoring in psychology at Lafayette College. This was her first summer as a Pathfinder Teaching Fellow.
attended Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School and is now at Westmister School (class of 2018). He served as one of our Teaching Fellows in 2016 and 2017. We are realizing our vision of hiring more Pathfinder alumni as teaching fellows each year. This year 7 of the 14 fellows were alumni.
Alumni/ae Success Stories
Enrique completed the Pathfinder program in 2013 and went on to Wilbur Cross High School. A 2017 New Haven Promise Scholar, Enrique is studying physics at the University of Connecticut. Enrique volunteered with Pathfinder summer program in 2015. At that point, his little brother was a rising 9th grader in the program. Enrique spent the summers of 2016 and 2017 working as a Pathfinder Teaching Fellow. He loved every part of the job and said the most challenging experience was getting his little brother to accept him as an authority figure during that summer when Enrique was a volunteer and his brother was a student.
Alumni/ae Success Stories
The New Haven Promise Scholar program focuses on getting children To college, Through college, and Back home. NHPS Executive Director Patricia Melton describes “Promise” as an economic development program because of its focus on preparing each of New Haven’s dedicated students to become an integral part of the community through a fulfilling career and community service.
Isaac Bloodworth attended Pathfinder (in its second iteration as Breakthrough) from 2007-2009. He attended Amistad Academy Middle School and went on to Co-operative Arts High School. One of the first Pathfinder alumni to obtain a New Haven Promise scholarship, Isaac earned his Bachelor of Arts in Puppetry from University of Connecticut. Throughout college, Isaac interned at Yale University Art Gallery, where he discovered a fondness for the work of Basquiat.
Alumni/ae Success Stories
We teach kids how to handle school applications, self-advocacy, standardized tests, life challenges, and, of course, academics. As a result, our alumni often have their pick of secondary schools. The fact that many choose Hopkins and that we are able to offer scholarship money to those students in need is a point of pride for Pathfinder staff and Hopkins faculty, as well.
Alumni/ae Success Stories
Zoe is the child of an unwed, teen mother who, by her own admission, struggled to care for herself and her child. Yet like so many Pathfinder parents, Zoe’s mom worked hard to help her daughter succeed. She sent Zoe to Mauro-Sheridan (MASH) Interdistrict Magnet School in New Haven, where she was accepted into the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program in fourth grade. Despite that early achievement, Zoe found it challenging to socialize with her peers. At Pathfinder, Zoe met other high-achievers who shared her curiosity and passion for learning. Her social life blossomed, and soon she felt comfortable not only assisting classmates and ensuring they understood the concepts in math, science, and English class, but also sharing her social justice interests. As a multiracial queer vegan, Zoe became known for expressing her ideas. She shared informative vlogs with her friends about the portrayal of marginalized groups in the media. She influenced other students to explore new foods, and even persuaded some to try veganism. In middle school, Zoe shared her concerns about a science project that would harm fish by polluting their water.
Zoe’s advocacy for the environment and the fish inspired the teacher to show a video about pollution and instead of having students conduct the experiment. Zoe is currently attending Oregon Episcopal School, a boarding school, with a significant scholarship. She will graduate in 2020. Inspired by Zoe’s Pathfinder experience and success, her mother returned to college and earned her bachelor’s degree.
a chalk drawing by Zoe
Alumni/ae Success Stories
Alumni /ae Success Stories
The Pathfinder Instructional Model has changed in recent years. Today, student Teaching Fellows assist professional educators in core academic classes. We retained a hallmark of our program, “students teaching students,” in our afternoon enrichment classes. These are taught by Teaching Fellows who are supervised by instructional coaches. Thus, our Teaching Fellows have the opportunity to develop their teaching skills with a professional mentor, while our students get to experience the closeness with young “teachers” that they have traditionally appreciated. In curriculum development, our philosophy is to dive deep into a wide array of subjects to help students develop important academic skills that they often miss in middle school, like critical thinking and analysis.
The 2017 Summer Program curriculum introduced and developed student knowledge in: Humanities, Reading, Math, and Latin (Rising 6th grade) English, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Trigonometry, History, Biology & Chemistry (Rising 8th & 9th), Enrichment classes, including computer programming for rising 6th graders (they used Scratch) and SSAT Prep. p. 17
The Pathfinder Instructional Model
SUMMER CURRICULUM Rising 6th-Grade In mathematics, the goal for our rising 6th graders is to develop proportional thinking and a strong foundation for algebra. In English, rising 6th graders improve their writing and reading skills across genres, identifying elements of plot and character, evaluating facts, bias and opinion, and developing their listening and questioning skills. In humanities, students explore how activism relates to community building. In Latin, they gain context for English words and romance languages.
Rising 8th and 9th-Grade We intend for our rising 8th and 9th graders to be able to study calculus in their senior year of high school. So we pave the way with a mathematics curriculum that refines algebraic skills in preparation for 9th-grade geometry. In history classes, the goal for our rising 8th and 9th graders is to master the process of writing a history research paper. They hone library skills; learn to identify reliable internet sources; use structured note-taking techniques (Cornell Notes); document sources with footnotes and bibliographies; and write defensible, exhaustive and concise thesis statements. Students organize and outline their research ideas; write evidence-based paragraphs to advance the arguments made in their thesis statements, and systematically proof-read their work. In English classes, our rising 8th and 9th-grade students master expository writing where they compose, revise and edit essays, incorporating the essential elements of a well written academic composition. Students also engage in textual analysis through active reading and group discussions to interpret and evaluate the text. Rising 8th and 9th-graders develop the essential skills needed for high school science courses through exposure to biology, chemistry, and physics, and the experience of realistic, contemporary laboratory work and lab report writing.
Sophia, a rising 6th-grader, demonstrates a challenging concept for her peers.
Why teach Shakespeare? The works of William Shakespeare are a cultural touchstone in the Western World. Further, in order to understand Shakespeare, one must read the text closely. This develops the critical and analytical skills that serve our students throughout their lives. In 2008, our English mentor teachers developed an innovative pedagogical framework for teaching Shakespeare to middle school students, which we still use.
“I had a great time teaching the kids computer programming. I really enjoyed it. I mean, how not to enjoy it when you’ve got all these kids who are so into what they’re doing? And they’re really cute, too!” Helena, a Junior at Hopkins, has spent three years tutoring in the after-school program and two years as a Teaching Fellow in Pathfinder’s summer program. Like many Hopkins students who apply to work with our kids, she did not attend Pathfinder. She simply enjoys connecting with the children.
Now that we have expanded Pathfinder from a two-year program to a four-year program, some of our tutors will have the chance to work with the same children for the duration of their high school career, thus bringing continuity to the students and the tutors.
After School Program
The After School Program meets once per week every spring semester.
Teaching at pathfinder gave me my happiness! ~ Matt, Pathfinder ‘15, Teaching Fellow 2015-16, Harvard University class of 19
TEACHING FELLOWS Maria Bernal, Albertus Magnus University ‘21
Enrique Cubillas, University of Connecticut ‘21
Kylie Driscoll, Ethel Walker School
Sanjay Dureseti ‘15, University of Pennsylvania ‘19
Will Hartog ‘17, Harvard College ‘21
Jaileen Rivera ‘16 , Boston College ‘20
Angelique Hodge ‘17, University of New Haven
J’Nisha Little, Lafayette College ‘20
Michelle Medina ‘18, Hopkins School
Alexa MacMullen ‘11, Wheaton College ‘15
Elton Paintsil, Westminster School ’18
Nathaniel Nguyen ‘17, Brown University ‘21
Aaron Kogan ‘17, MIT ‘21
Helena Lyng-Olsen ‘18, Hopkins School Pathfinder Alumnus/a
VOLUNTEERS Caree Henry
Dahlia Grace Themba Flowers
English Teacher Ian Melchinger works with a student
FACULTY & STAFF Martha Combs, Assistant Director
Kathy Czepiel, Reading, Southern Connecticut State University
Dawn DeMeo, English, Cheshire High School
Keely Garden, History, Dodd Middle School
Rachel Hudelson, Math
Kate Horsley, Latin, classics dept. chair at Hopkins School
Kim Kenna, Humanities
Jennifer Lane, Science, Hopkins School
Ian Melchinger, English, Hopkins School
Adam Sperling, Math, Hopkins School
Christine Parente, Instructional Coach
Jeannine Minort-Kale, Algebra, math dept. chair, Hopkins
Errol Saunders, Instructional Coach
Justin Taylor, History, Hartford High School
Faculty & Staff
Our faculty hail from many area schools. Adam Sperling teaches math at Hopkins.
From Summerbridge to Breakthrough to Pathfinder In the fall of 1992, Thomas Rodd, Hopkins Head of School, the Hopkins School Trustees, and Michelle Pierce, a recent graduate of Stanford's Graduate School of Education, founded Summerbridge New Haven with a dual mission of academic enrichment and teacher training.
Our Directors 1993-2007
2005 - 2007 Kate (Goldenheim) Armstrong M.Ed. Harvard University Associate Chief Operating Officer Uncommon Schools
1996-2000 Karen Amaker M.Ed. Relay Graduate School of Ed. Director School Program Norwalk Early College Academy
2004 Jeffrey Grigg PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison Post-Doctoral Fellow Johns Hopkins School of Education
1995 Catina Bacote M.F.A. University of Iowa Professor of Creative Writing Warren Wilson College
2001-2003 Mariama Richards MPS, Cornell University Asst. Head of School, Academic Program Friends Central School
1992-1994 Michelle Pierce Burns M.Ed. Stanford University Breakthrough New York
There isn’t much data from the early years of Summerbridge, but the program developed a strong reputation among educators and parents. In 2007, we shifted our focus and made our admissions process both more stringent (requiring top grades, excellent recommendations, and family interviews) and more open (with a bilingual application to serve the large Latino population in area public schools). In addition to attracting more motivated students and committed families, the nature of the new admissions process also provided us with the data we needed to measure our success. From the beginning, we hired high-school and college students to teach the core academic classes in the Summer Program. These "Teaching Fellows" were supervised by professional Instructional Coaches. Since 2007, the Pathfinder program has evolved in myriad ways, from pedagogy to parental involvement. We refined the Teaching Fellows' experience to include more observation and feedback from Instructional Coaches. Garnering additional feedback also helped us ensure the success of the second part of our mission. The “students teaching students” model earned us the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools’ Annual Award in 2013, for being an “institution that provides an inspiring example of leadership and commitment to the improvement of education for children in Connecticut.” Moreover, many Teaching Fellows went on to become educators.
Jamie, a rising 9th-grader, enjoys lab work.
In 2007, we also expanded our parental education to include information about the multitude of options for high school, how to assist their children in finding the right school for them, and how to support them through the application process. Today, we have expanded from a two-year summer enrichment program to a rigorous four-year academic preparatory program where children are surrounded by like-minded, highly-motivated peers. We provide an enriching experience and prepare students to excel in the most rigorous high schools and colleges. At Pathfinder, children feel and experience, often for the first time, that being smart is awesome. Students leave Pathfinder feeling successful and confident. We couldnâ€™t do what we do without our donors and partners. In the last twenty-five years, many organizations have supported our work. Most recently, we partnered with: A Better Chance State of Connecticut Superior Court Saint Martin de Porres Academy, and Yale University Sackler Institute
PathďŹ nder is on track to double in size in the next two years. In the 2017 summer program, we educated 95 students. In summer 2018, we anticipate educating 127 students.
Revenues and Expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 were both $230,000. Major expense items included salaries and benefits, stipends for Teaching Fellows, transportation and field trips, books, and classroom supplies. Projected Revenues and Expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 are both $325,000.
Hopkins School provides in-kind goods and services as well as a substantial financial contribution to cover program overhead costs. As a result, 100% of the donations from individuals and foundations provide direct funding of services for our students and Teaching Fellows.
For twenty-five years, Pathfinder has helped New Haven area youth to...
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