Fair Haven School event highlights college scholarship program

Students at Fair Haven School
A group of fifth grade students at Fair Haven School in New Haven proudly wear Quinnipiac t-shirts during a Feb. 7 event that recognized participants in the New Haven Promise program.
Feb. 18, 2014 - More than 100 Fair Haven School fifth graders, excited about one day attending college, danced around their New Haven school's stage on Feb. 7 in Quinnipiac University T-shirts as part of a school-wide pep rally.

The 7th annual Snowball is a school-wide dance performance designed to inspire and motivate students to think about college early. The students are participating in New Haven Promise, a scholarship program designed to encourage and assist students in pursuing a two- or four-year degree from a Connecticut college or university.

Quinnipiac has had a long history working with students, teachers and staff at the school--and with the citywide scholarship program. Fair Haven School is one of two Professional Development Schools formally partnered with the School of Education.

Amanda Lubin, who earned her master's in teaching from Quinnipiac last year and a bachelor's in English from the University a year prior, is a fifth-grade teacher at the school.

Wearing a Quinnipiac shirt, she said the university has prepared her well for her blossoming career. "My training at Quinnipiac prepared me for teaching in any environment," Lubin said as the pep rally began.

She said she is proud to be working at a school that motivates students to think and look ahead. "New Haven Promise gets them motivated to their best and look ahead toward college," Lubin said.

In order to qualify for the full scholarship, New Haven residents must begin the program in kindergarten, have a positive disciplinary record during high school, complete 40 hours of community service throughout the four years of high school, do not miss more than 72 days of high school over four years and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better upon graduating. The scholarship covers tuition expenses after federal and state government grants, or up to $10,000 a year for four years.

"Knowing that one day I could go to college is really exciting," said Amaya Velez, a fifth-grade student at the school who one day would like to become a nutritionist.

Principal Margaret-Mary Gethings told the students, parents and teachers filling the auditorium that the future was bright. "This is one of the many things we do to remind our students of the incredible opportunities ahead of them," she said.

The Quinnipiac students serve as valuable models of what her students could achieve if they work hard, she said. "Quinnipiac has been an important partner in every step of everything we have done," she said.

Each of Quinnipiac's 90 elementary education master's candidates participate in a clinical teaching of reading course at the Fair Haven school putting into place a strategy that they developed, said Monica Cavender, assistant professor of education in the School of Education.

Each two hours spent in the classroom are followed by a one-hour seminar discussing observations and applications about best practices.

"This opportunity supports MAT candidates by providing meaningful practice of research-based instructional strategies," she said. "It supports Fair Haven teachers by providing an additional teacher in the room supporting literacy instruction. Most importantly, it supports the students in gaining additional individual attention to literacy learning."