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Building A foundation for lifelong success Why Education Matters Education is the foundation for a good life, setting an individual on a path of personal fulfillment and social contribution. It is essential to getting and keeping a well-paying job with benefits. And it is fundamental to a community’s economic prosperity: Today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce, and a welleducated workforce attracts good jobs. Preparing Children to Succeed Early Learning begins at birth. The experiences a child has before entering kindergarten are crucial because they actually help shape the architecture of a child’s brain. A child whose physical needs are met, who experiences loving interactions from parents and other caregivers, and who benefits from high-quality early learning environments is less likely to need special education, more likely to graduate from high school on time, and more likely to be employed and own a home, than a child who does not begin school with this strong foundation.

The Importance of High School and Post-Secondary Education Most jobs in today’s economy require an individual to have, at a minimum, a high school degree; a college degree improves an individual’s ability to support a family. A recent study puts the average cost to the public over the working life of each high school dropout at $292,0001; for a community with hundreds of high school dropouts, these costs add up rapidly. Academic attainment is one of the single-most critical predictors of outcomes such as personal health, life expectancy, earnings, and civic participation. Completing high school and earning a post-secondary degree greatly increases individual income and economic well-being, and thus helps to strengthen and stabilize the community. Individuals who have limited literacy, math and computer skills face significant challenges in finding work that can support a family.

Better Education Benefits All of Us While low academic achievement profoundly impacts an individual, the implications are magnified when the multi-generational effect is considered. Children who grow up in poverty are at greater risk of raising children in poverty — a cruel cycle of diminished life prospects. Ensuring that all children achieve academically is the surest recipe for success for all members of our community. 1 The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers, Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University (2009).

About United Way United Way advances the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. We invite you to be part of the change. You can give, you can advocate, and you can volunteer. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED. More information about United Way’s work to improve lives and communities can be found at  

How Is Our Community Doing? Alarming Disparities Disparities between poor, at-risk children and more advantaged children appear as early as nine months of age.2 Our state has the largest achievement gap in the nation between low-income and higher-income students and white students and students of color at all points along the educational continuum. Children in wealthier towns have much higher rates of preschool attendance, academic achievement, and on-time graduation than students in lower-income communities.

• Preschool experience, a proxy for school readiness, varies widely in our community. In 2007, 65% of young children in New Haven entered kindergarten with a preschool experience, and in East Haven and West Haven, that number was 70%. In Hamden, 86% of children benefited from a preschool experience. • The Kindergarten Entrance Inventory, a statewide inventory of incoming kindergarteners’ readiness, shows a significant “readiness” gap within our region. Towns with more affluent populations have more students who are rated as “most ready” compared to lower-income towns.

The Achievement Gap

• By 3rd grade, a child’s grades and absenteeism rates can predict with 90% accuracy whether he or she will complete high school.3

Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the nation between poor and non-poor children in both reading and math.

• There is a significant disparity in the number of students who graduate with a high school diploma four years after entering 9th grade among New Haven, the inner ring communities, and the outer ring communities.

• As the chart below indicates, children in our region’s lower-income towns perform 30-50 points lower than their counterparts in higher-income towns. In 2010 in New Haven, 25.9% of third graders read at grade level compared to a 57.1% state average.

Percentage of students who graduate high school

Percentage of students at/above goal on Grade 3 Reading CMT, 2006-2010 2006




UWGNH Region Region-Outer**




70 60

New Haven School District

50 0







30 *Region-Inner communities include East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven * *Region-Outer communities include Bethany, Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, and Woodbridge

20 10 0

New Haven RegionInner


UWGNH Region


*Region-Inner communities include East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven * *Region-Outer communities include Bethany, Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, and Woodbridge

2 Disparities in Early Learning and Development: Lessons from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), Child Trends June 2009 3 Hope at Last for At-Risk Youth (1994), Dr. Robert Barr 4 The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley (1995) 5 Beyond School Reform: Improving the Educational Outcomes of Low-Income Children, Center for Advancing Research and Solutions for Society (CARSS) of the University of Michigan (2006) 6 2008 American Community Survey (3-yr estimate) 7 Connecticut Voices for Children 8 CT After School Network, What are Kids Doing After School?

Poverty and Family Circumstances • By the age of four, the average low-income child has heard 30 million fewer words than his or her higher-income peers.4 • Low-income children come to school at least two years behind their peers in pre-reading skills and most never catch up.5 • In 2008, 30.5% of New Haven children under age 18 lived below the poverty line (compared to 11.5% statewide).6 More than three-quarters of New Haven students qualify for free and reduced price meals, which means their families earn less than 185% of the poverty level (an annual income of $39,220 for a family of four). • A mother’s level of education is one of the most important factors in a child’s readiness for school. In 2006, 27.9% of women giving birth who lived in New Haven lacked a high school diploma — more than double the state rate of 13.3%.

What is United Way of Greater Ne Percentage of children receiving the highest rating on the Fall Kindergarten Inventory



United Way of Greater New Haven (UWGNH) seeks to build a foundation for lifelong success by supporting children’s education through Success By 6® and School Age Youth initiatives.



United Way of Greater New Haven is focused on three community results in education:

30 25 20 15

Result 1:

Children enter school developmentally on track in terms of health, literacy, social, emotional and intellectual skills regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

Result 2:

Elementary students are prepared to succeed in later grades.

Result 3:

Young people graduate from high school.

10 5 0

New Haven Region-Inner Region-Outer


Education Investments and Resources • Connecticut is third in the nation in average per-pupil spending on education — $13,151 in 2009 — trailing only New Jersey and New York. However, despite national trends toward increased state funding of education, Connecticut ranks close to the bottom in the percentage of school funding that comes from the state (39 percent, compared to a 49.5 percent national average) due to heavy reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. • In FY 2008, Connecticut invested $212.4 million in early care and education; adjusted for inflation, this was $27.8 million (12%) less than in FY 2002.7 • Less than one-third of Connecticut children are involved in supervised, safe and enriching after-school programs. Six out of ten parents surveyed with children who do not participate in a formal after-school program would likely enroll their kids if more after-school programs were available and met their needs. 38% of parents indicated that costs limited their options when choosing after-school care.8 • Between 2006 and 2007, for single parents with median income of $28,385, the cost of infant care accounted for almost 40% of their family budget.

Success By 6® The experiences children have in their earliest years lay the foundation for their ability to learn, as well as their emotional and behavioral well-being. Today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce, so these early years matter — not only for individual children and their families, but for our entire community. Success By 6 encompasses UWGNH’s work to ensure that children enter school developmentally on track in terms of health, literacy, social, emotional and intellectual skills regardless of race or socioeconomic status. We seek to achieve this result through the following strategies:

1. Increase low-income children’s access to quality early care and education. Investments in early childhood have a high rate of return: For every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood programs, we save $16 in costs such as special education, incarceration, and welfare. We know that access to quality programs is especially important for children from low-income families. In 2010, United Way was awarded federal funds to open a new Early Head Start program to provide high-quality full-day, full-year care for 41 infants and toddlers in New Haven. United Way is working with All Our Kin, Life Haven, and LULAC to serve these children and their families, giving them the right start on the path to school readiness.

ew Haven Doing? 2. Improve the quality of early care and education in the region. Access to child care is not enough; the quality of that care is critically important. United Way helps both center-based and home-based child care providers enhance their quality. Through the Accreditation Initiative, UWGNH provides center-based providers with free coaching and technical assistance to help them become accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. By going through this process and achieving accreditation, these child care centers demonstrate that they offer “gold standard” care. United Way also supports efforts to improve quality among homebased child care providers in the region. For example, All Our Kin provides materials, mentorship and support to help unlicensed family, friend, and neighbor caregivers meet health and safety standards, fulfill state licensing requirements, and become part of a professional community of child care providers.

3. Increase parent knowledge of child development and school readiness. Parents are a child’s first and best teachers. Supporting parents in understanding how they can be more effective as parents also helps prepare children for school and life success. United Way supports numerous efforts to ensure that parents have the knowledge and skills they need to support their children’s optimal development. For example, United Way supports the Elizabeth Celotto Child Care Center at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven which increases teenagers’ parenting skills by providing them with education, support and counseling.

SB6 investments also support United Way’s participation in local and state-level planning and policy work on early childhood issues to address long-term systemic improvements. UWGNH staff actively participate on several local early childhood councils and have played a key role in developing local early childhood plans that prioritize strategies. In New Haven, the Early Childhood Plan has enabled the Early Childhood Council to secure additional resources to provide more infant and toddler care and

mental health services for young children and their families.

School Age Youth Helping youth succeed in school means ensuring that, in addition to having high-quality schooling, they have access to a range of support services such as safe and enriching after-school programs, appropriate physical and mental health services, and support from their families, whom we know are crucial partners in their success. United Way has identified two key strategies for ensuring that elementary students are prepared to succeed in later grades and young people graduate from high school:

1. Coordinate wraparound services and learning supports. Studies have shown that quality after-school programs have greater benefits than several other interventions (e.g., reducing class size) in increasing achievement and helping reduce crime. Teens who do not participate in after-school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes at school, experiment with drugs and engage in sexual activity than teens who do participate; students involved in high-quality after-school programs have better grades, increased rates of parental involvement in school and enhanced problem solving and conflict management skills.9 Students’ needs are best met when academic, social and health services are delivered in a well-coordinated, results-focused, integrated manner. Too often, services and programs are fragmented, unsustainable, and in some cases, duplicative — resulting in inequitable and inefficient distribution of resources, gaps in services, underutilization of services and programs, and competition among agencies. Increasing access to high-quality, coordinated wraparound services through Boost! is a major thrust of United Way’s School Age Youth work.

2. Engage parents in meaningful support of their children’s academic success. Family participation in education is twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status, and the more parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects.10 When parents are engaged in their children’s education, students have better school attendance, lower rates of suspension, and higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates. These students also exhibit more motivation, better self-esteem, less use of drugs and alcohol, and fewer instances of violent behavior. Through Boost! United Way of Greater New Haven is working with school and community-based providers to increase parent engagement.

9 The Value of High-Quality After School Program, Connecticut After School Network 10 What Research Says On Parent Involvement in Children’s Education in Relation to Academic Achievement, Michigan Department of Education

Education Spotlight: Boost! United Way of Greater New Haven is partnering with the New Haven Public Schools and the City of New Haven to implement Boost! Boost! is working to increase access to quality wraparound supports and services by brokering connections between schools, community-based providers and public agencies to support children’s overall development and ensure that they are ready and available to learn in the classroom. United Way is proud that Boost! is a key element of the nationallyrecognized New Haven School Change Initiative which combines resultsoriented management of schools and teaching talent with new efforts to engage parents and the community in supporting children’s success. By helping schools, families and community organizations coordinate, Boost! works to ensure that: •

School and community resources are directed towards wraparound programs and services that impact student achievement;

Wraparound services are directed to areas of greatest need, minimizing duplication or gaps in services;

Schools and community-based organizations deliver high-quality, evidence-based programs and services; and

Schools have trained staff to ensure coordination and accountability for the Boost! initiatives.

Boost! wraparound initiatives fall into four broad domains which have been demonstrated to contribute to children’s ability to succeed in school. •

Extended learning opportunities

Family support and engagement

Physical health

Social and behavioral health

The exact combination of Boost! supports varies from school to school and is tailored to respond to needs identified by parents, teachers and other community stakeholders. Currently, Boost! is working with the following five schools. Over five years, Boost! will expand to additional schools in the district: •

Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School

Clinton Avenue School

Augusta Lewis Troup School

Wexler-Grant Community School

Metropolitan Business Academy

For more information, please visit

Education United Way of Greater New Haven’s Success By 6 Partnerships 2007-2010 Accreditation Facilitation Project All Our Kin, Inc. Born Learning Branford’s Early Childhood Collaborative Catholic Charities, Inc. Connecticut Children’s Museum Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, Inc. CT Early Education Cabinet Standing Committee on State and Community Partnerships The Diaper Bank Early Head Start East Haven Early Childhood Collaborative Elizabeth Celotto Child Care Center Fair Haven Community Health Center Hamden’s Partnership for Young Children Leila Day Nursery, Inc. Life Haven Childcare Center LULAC Head Start, Inc. New Haven Reads Community Book Bank, Inc. Read to Grow New Haven Early Childhood Council West Haven Community House Association, Inc.

United Way of Greater New Haven’s School Age Youth Partnerships 2007-2010 Experience Corps: Area Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut Best Buddies Connecticut Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut Boys & Girls Club of New Haven Casa Otoñal Center for Children’s Advocacy

Spotlight: Success By 6® United Way is increasing the availability of safe, quality early care and education in our region by supporting All Our Kin’s Toolkit Project. The Toolkit Project helps individuals become licensed family child care providers, thereby creating new licensed child care spaces for young children. After spending 30 years working with children in the public school system, Elizabeth Fain decided to become a family child care provider. She became licensed with the help of the Toolkit Project, and recently became an Early Head Start provider as part of United Way’s Early Head Start program. Elizabeth continues to pursue professional development through workshops and conferences, and she wakes up every morning knowing that she’ll learn something new from the children in her care, as well. “Sometimes they can amaze you with some of the things they come up with. So, I learn from them, too. . . . I have a lot of respect for them.” All along the way, Elizabeth has received professional guidance — along with moral support — from the staff at All Our Kin. The children in her care have benefited as a result because they have a highly skilled caring adult in their corner. “I will be an advocate for a child for the rest of my life. . . . All Our Kin helped me learn how to do that.” At this point, one of Elizabeth’s greatest challenges is getting the children to leave her house at the end of the day. Even more challenging is supporting them in their transition to preschool. But even once they’ve made the transition to preschool, Elizabeth makes it clear that she is always available to provide more support. “If they need to talk to me, or they need something . . . then they can call me. And whatever I can do, I will do.” Working together, United Way and All Our Kin are creating quality learning opportunities for young children in our community.

City of New Haven Citywide Youth Coalition Easter Seals/Goodwill Industries Experience Corps of Greater New Haven Farnam Neighborhood House Girl Scouts New Haven Family Alliance New Haven Public Schools PACK Advisory Council Solar Youth St. Martin de Porres Academy West Haven Community House

For the most updated version of this document, please visit

Education White Paper  

A status report about how United Way of Greater New Haven is working to improve education in the community.