Celebrating 65 Years!
Growing Up Great in Town ‘n’ Country completed the first year of implementation following a planning year. The strategies center on aligning a strong contingent of partners to serve the needs of children and families in the Town ‘n’ Country community while strengthening connections between early childhood education, the public school system and the Boys & Girls Clubs in order to create a neighborhood-focused educational pathway. Conn provides facilitation and funding to Children’s Nest Day School and La Petite Academy through the Early Learning Coalition, Town ‘n’ Country and Morgan Woods Elementary Schools, and the Boys & Girls Clubs to develop systematic collaboration for early childhood and pathways for Kindergarten readiness and transition.
For more than a decade, many funders – private and public – dedicated significant resources to the Sulphur Springs neighborhood. Conn has been a key partner in supporting the formation of the Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise and K-8 Community School. Creating a neighborhood-focused educational pipeline, caregiver-child together programs, and Community School and Promise Neighborhood models have been the main strategies.
2018 – 19 was another year of change, transition and challenge for Sulphur Springs Community School. After five years of receiving a D or an F, a number of changes are in store for the 2019 -20 school year. The most significant being another level of state intervention and the appointment of a new principal. We hope these changes, along with an increased commitment by the Hillsborough County School District to the community school model and increased funding from a state collaborative for community schools, will be the catalyst that leads to positive change for this challenging school.
Lessons learned from this long-term project:
- Student, teacher and school leadership stability matter
- Economic and housing stability matter
- Early childhood, Kindergarten and 3rd grade reading levels matter
Conn and other organizations identified neighborhood stability and high resident turnover as one of the challenges in Sulphur Springs. The University of South Florida’s College of Behavioral and Community Sciences studied this issue to help all community providers, especially including the Community School, better understand the need for neighborhood stabilization strategies that will work in coordination with the other good work being performed in this community. The many difficult lessons learned from our years at Sulphur Springs, along with the advocacy of our district superintendent, have led to an increased focus on kindergarten readiness and the importance of spending resources on prevention, not remediation. We have truly learned much from Sulphur Springs that guides our work today.