THE CONNECTICUT "4-WALLS" PROJECT
The initial concept and design of a new model project called the Connecticut "4-Walls" Project were begun in the South Bronx, New York, by its creator, Samuel Cephas, in July, 2011. Realizing that the South Bronx was far too large geographically and population-wise to implement the project, Mr. Cephas consulted with some of his Connecticut contacts about locations in that state which would be able to implement the model. It was determined that Manchester, CT would be a good location. With that decision finalized by the MC2 Board, initial contacts were begun with town and school officials, college administration, social service agencies, legislative representatives, and respective Manchester businesses and companies.
The fact that this initiative is a "model" is important because once the project is well underway in Manchester, the model will be brought to other low income urban locations throughout the state where test scores of minority students, especially, are well below average and the truancy and drop-out rates are high. Such communities, among others, include Willimantic, Putnam, Norwich, New London, New Britain, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, Waterbury, Torrington, New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, and Danbury.
The most important component in this model are the local grass-roots organizations who have been dealing with focused educational issues like the achievement gap, truancy and drop-out rates for many years, and therefore choose to partner-up to stop these rapidly changing statistics, with: 1) a mission to stop the achievement gap; 2) a vision to improve individual student GPA's; and 3) a goal of ensuring high school graduation for all program participants.
Public meetings, focused on the larger community, are always important as previous experience in other locations has proven. Hopefully such public meetings will assist the new partnerships to gain a complement of concerned and committed individuals willing to assist "on-the-bubble" high school students to reach post high school educational goals or gainful employment.
MC2 will bring to all partnerships, in all communities, its proven record of 10+ years of success in working with inner-city students, primarily black and Hispanic, living in very difficult neighborhoods in Hartford. The MC2 curriculum, which provides tutoring, at all sessions, in the core subjects of math, reading and science, then provides additional study in such specialized areas as financial literacy, environmental science, building/sustainability, or various aspects of the arts. MC2 will also bring live "on-location" broadcast capabilities, focusing on all aspects of the program, through NETSMediaTV.com. As a partnership, MC2 knows that model projects, such as this, will succeed especially as other partners in the specialty areas join to lend their expertise, and individuals committed to providing the best in educational support are willing to assist in a variety of ways.
MC2 is actively looking for other partners, so that through everyone's committed effort, the Connecticut "4-Walls" Project model will become the most successful model in New England. But we do need everyone's support.
The key to any growing partnership will be "working together" toward a common goal, but in no way seeking to change, or control, or divide what each respective partner performs on its own.
Any new partnership, in whatever city, will be guided by a specific "4-Walls" Advisory Board which will oversee all activities that are geared to accomplish the vision of improved student GPA's and thereby ensure high school graduation and beyond. It is this Board which will make all decisions about programming and finances. It is this Board, which along with other levels of assessment and evaluation, will perform its own assessment and evaluation of the program. The Advisory Board and its subcommittees will be staffed by volunteer members. Early work of any partnership, always to be accomplished, is locating sufficient volunteers to fully implement all aspects of the project.
Volunteers can choose to assist in tutoring, in transportation, in fund-raising, or assisting with special student-focused events. A "4-Walls" PTO will be developed, so that parents or guardians of all participants will also be actively involved in various aspects of support.
Every partnership holds, in its hands, great opportunities. Community-based initiatives can reap outstanding results. The "4-Walls" Project is defined as such, because its total focus is within the four town-line boundaries of each respective community - for that community's students, with that community's resources, and in partnership with many of that community's entities. Because of this base of community support, the program is offered free of charge to each student participant.
We hope that you will choose to utilize this model and become active members within it.