College partners with New London middle school to launch extended learning time program

Jessie Mehrhoff '14 shows two middle school students the correct way to do push-ups.
Jessie Mehrhoff '14 shows two middle school students the correct way to do push-ups.

Four afternoons a week, students from New London’s Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School head to the Connecticut College campus for homework guidance, reading and writing instruction and a whole lot of fun. 

The 100 students, each of whom attend two days a week, are part of an Extended Learning Time pilot program, ENRICH, developed by teachers and administrators at the school and the College’s Office of Volunteers for Community Service. New London, along with the Meriden and East Hartford school districts, was selected in December to receive funding from the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning to pilot extended school day programs.

Recently, The Day of New London highlighted the program at the College, which was launched Feb. 4. Read the article.

As part of the program, 14 Connecticut College students are trained as workshop leaders and 72 serve as mentors and tutors. They lead the middle school students in activities designed to engage students in learning and provide opportunities in the arts and other areas that are hands-on, including singing and songwriting, Afro-Caribbean dance, arts and crafts, Arabic language and culture, Chinese language and culture, theater, henna and Middle Eastern culture, spoken word, improvisation, Zumba, physical fitness and more. The College’s Dining Services also provides healthy snacks.

The Connecticut College students “focus on building strong positive relationships with the youth and sparking their interest in education, now and in the future, encouraging them to see themselves on college campuses and understand what it takes to get there,” said Tracee Reiser, Connecticut College’s associate dean for community learning and director of OVCS.

The ENRICH program continues nearly two decades of partnership between the College and Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School. For years, the College has had an active tutorial program for the middle school students, as well as two popular mentorship programs, SISTER and REACH.

“What's exciting about this is continuing and deepening the partnerships we already have with our community partners,” Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School Principal Alison Ryan told The Day. “Conn has really stepped up to the plate and delivered in a major way.”

March 14, 2013