Nonprofit Works To Close Achievement Gap, Digital Divide in Hartford
Since 2008, Concepts for Adaptive Learning (CfAL), a New Haven nonprofit, has offered basic computer literacy classes to parents whose children are enrolled in Hartford Public Schools in grades K-12.
Recently, the nonprofit added a new program to reach parents with younger children. The program, "Digital Literacy for Early Learners," is a series of four workshops for parents with children from birth to age 5. The workshops offer information about early child development, discipline, library resources and valuable websites on early learning. They take place Saturday mornings at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Childcare and snacks are provided.
"The objective is to close the achievement gap before the child enters kindergarten," said CfAL Executive Director Curtis Hill.
Parents who complete the class are given priority registration in "Technology Cascade & Training," CfAL's class in basic computer literacy for low-income families in need of a home computer. The three-week course offers training in Windows, word-processing, e-mail use, Internet navigation and resume writing. Parents who complete the class are given a free, refurbished computer for their home and high-speed internet access for one year.
"A primary goal is to increase students' learning by extending learning beyond the classroom. Our second goal is to engage parents in their children's education and to introduce them to technology to help them achieve that goal," said Hill. "The program simultaneously helps close the digital divide."
The program is offered once a month in either English or Spanish at the Parker Memorial Community Center and at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Catholic Charities provides childcare and dinner.
"Over 70 percent of students whose parents participate in the TC&T program have better grades in school and over 80 percent of parents become more involved in their children's education at home," Hill said.
The program has graduated more than 500 parents in Hartford since its inception in 2008. Concepts for Adaptive Learning works closely with the Hartford Public Library, Catholic Charities, Achieve Hartford! and the Hartford Parent University. The nonprofit recently started training parents who have graduated from the Hartford Parent University.
Hill said demand for programs is high and he is seeking monetary support to help maintain them. Concepts for Adaptive Learning runs similar programs in Bridgeport, Hamden, Meriden, New Haven and Waterbury.
For more information about "Digital Literacy for Early Learners" or Technology Cascade & Training," or to register, please call 1(888)351-7667.