Bridge to Success

The Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich (BGCG) offers quality programming for children and teens ages 6 -18 that helps them to achieve ACADEMIC SUCCESS, encourages them to embrace HEALTHY LIFESYTLES, and supports CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. The Club’s mission is to prepare young people, through enrichment opportunities and supportive relationships, to be responsible, caring and productive community members. We fulfill our mission through a comprehensive After-School Program that provides affordable out-of-school-time care and a large array of enrichment activities. Founded in 1910, BGCG collaborates with Boys & Girls Clubs of America but has its own programs, Board of Directors and fundraising responsibilities.

BGCG serves an average of 350 young people per day who are between the ages of six and 18 after school from September - June with transportation provided from their school to the Club. Following a healthy snack, Club members can complete their homework, play organized sports indoors or outdoors, participate in free swim, use the computer lab, read in the library, create art projects in the craft room, play in the game room or lounge in the teen center. Children may also enroll in specialty programs that run into the evening including swim lessons, the United Way’s Reading Champions weekly tutoring program, chess, art classes and much more. Pre-teens and teens may join BGCG’s character and leadership development programs: Torch Club and Keystone Club. Both groups emphasize service to Club and community; leadership development; education and positive relationships with peers and others.

The Club is open on school holidays and during the winter and spring vacation periods. All of this is offered to children for an all-inclusive annual membership of $50. The Club estimates it costs more than $1,500 per child to provide these programs and services but our low fee ensures that any child, no matter what his or her family’s financial situation, can participate in positive activities that build skills and self-esteem in a safe, supervised environment after school.

BGCG members are residents of Greenwich or have parents who work in Greenwich. The Club served 1,650 members in calendar year 2017. There is great ethnic and racial diversity within this group: 42% are Caucasian and 58% are African American, Asian, Hispanic or multiracial. More than half of our members live in low-income families and those who attend the Club at least 52 days a year or more are especially likely to be financially challenged: 72% of these members live at low-income levels as defined by HUD and 55% are eligible for free or reduced-cost public school lunch.

BGCG’s goal is to provide a safe place for children to learn and grow. We strive to provide ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, life-enhancing and character building programs, hope and opportunity. BGCG makes the lives of working families a little easier by assuring parents that in the hours after school, their children are well-cared for, learning new skills and having fun. Attendance and enrollment help us measure how we are doing. We aspire to help youth reach their full potential and use metrics such as how many of teens graduate on time and go on to college (97%); how many of our teens volunteer (65% once a year and 32% once per month); how often to our members exercise (50% get at least an hour of physical activity five days or more per week).

Statement of Need
The Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich requests a grant of $5,000 from Round Hill Community Church to support the Bridge to Success Program, an intensive tutoring program designed to play a role in reducing the achievement gap for Club members in fifth through eighth grades. In 2014, the Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools, stated that Greenwich has an achievement gap in which “Too many of our African-American and Latino Students, especially those who are also from low income families, continue to perform well below the averages of our Asian and Caucasian students*.”  The school district recognizes that many of the children who are falling behind also attend the Boys & Girls Club’s After-School Program and, therefore, it would be beneficial to work with the Club to help those students who need more intensive academic support.

Project Goals
The first goal for the project is to identify the BGCG Club members who are attending BGCG's After-School Program on a regular basis and are under-performing at school. Our second goal is to identify personalized learning goals for them in collaboration with the school teachers (ongoing). A third goal is to get the parents engaged and committed. BGCG will then provide approximately 30 children with 32 weeks of personalized tutoring in an After-School Program setting. The long-term desired outcome of the Bridge to Success Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is to see more children perform at grade level, including those who are African-American or Latino and from low income families. Another long-term outcome is to see all BGCG Club members graduate on time, ready for a post-secondary education and a 21st-century career.

Project Description
A hallmark of the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is our Academic Success programming.  The Club is committed to helping children complete their homework and continue to learn in the hours after school.  The Bridge to Success Program, an intensive tutoring program designed to play a role in reducing the achievement gap for Club members in fifth through eighth grades, will help us provide greater individualized instruction for the members who need support the most.
During the academic school year (32 weeks), the Club plans to offer four one-hour sessions of tutoring each week.  These sessions will be led by teachers who are certified educators or retired teachers and professors.  Every meeting will allow a member to complete his or her homework as well as work on identified areas of academic concern.  The evidence for each students’ needs will be based on assessments that students take at the beginning of the program and from feedback from classroom teachers.  Ongoing feedback will be included as students bring in report cards from school, meetings with parents and guardians are held throughout the year, comments from members’ teachers are received, and from two additional BGCG-offered standardized tests.

Using online adaptive software from Stride Academy the program will serve Club members in fifth through eighth grades. The goal of the program is to help students succeed in school and aim for college by achieving the following objectives:
    •    Create a structured environment that is conducive to learning.  
    •    Equip students to achieve academic excellence.  
    •    Reinforce fundamental skills emphasized in school curricula.
    •    Facilitate discussion and debate to develop critical thinking.
    •    Focus on standardized testing exposure and preparation.
    •    Assist members individually in identified areas of weakness.
    •    Instill a positive work ethic and attitude towards education.
    •    Utilize compassionate and caring tutors to serve as educational role models.

The immediate goal for the Bridge to Success tutoring program is to identify specific learning outcomes for each individual child (on an ongoing basis during the year) and tutor them in an after-school setting to ensure that, by meeting their learning outcome goals and completing their homework, they will not fall further behind. Examples of personal learning outcomes will be straightforward such as: learn the multiplication tables; understand algebraic equations; extract scientific information to build a graph; and develop analytical thinking skills. Desired outcomes for middle school students also include increased readiness for standardized testing.

The Bridge to Success program serves to identify participants through our current tutoring programs, school-based referrals, staff and parent input.  The program targets middle school students who are not meeting expected growth and are most at risk of failing to reach academic success.  Identified students will be provided targeted instruction based on their demonstrated needs.

The Education and Volunteer Coordinator for BGCG will be the Club’s primary liaison to member parents and will be the administrator for our academic success programs tracking attendance and other outcome measurements in cooperation with the Head Tutor. The Head Tutor for the Bridge to Success Program will coordinate the learning outcome goals with the Greenwich Public Schools’ Vision for the Graduate, supervise the other tutors, track the progress being made by our members and make regular recommendations to change or improve our programs. BGCG’s Director of Programs has overall responsibility for the staffing and operation of successful programs.  Bobby Walker, Jr. the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich was the Head of the Middle School at King, a private school in Stamford.

The Club operated the Bridge to Success program from 2011 to 2016, and it was suspended due to lack of funding.  The program’s successes can be encapsulated from the following excerpt from a program outcome measures report:
D (grade 5) is a remarkable boy. D's growth this year is difficult to describe in just a few sentences. This year, D moved from Queens, NY to Glenville, CT as his father and stepmother recently gained temporary custody. When D came to me in the Fall, he was not confident in his reading, he did not know any of his addition/subtraction math facts, his writing grammar was limited, and he had a long way to go to catch up to his fellow classmates at Glenville School. With the help of BTS and his support system at home, D has made strides that no one would have ever thought possible in just one fiscal year. By the end of the year, D was rushing into BTS to discuss his latest favorite series or proudly show off his math certificates of excellence. He has now mastered all his addition and subtraction math facts as well as his multiplication facts through the 12 times table. He has also improved his writing, drawing from literary techniques both taught in school and in tutoring, and has learned so much more. I had good communication with his stepmother who would let me know specific areas she wanted me to work on with D. This communication allowed me to use our time together productively and I was able to challenge him in areas outside of the normal 5th grade curriculum. I really hope to see D return in the fall and I wish him the best of luck as he moves onto middle school in just a few short months.

As referenced above, key partners in this program are the Greenwich Public Schools and member parents.  The public schools will engage with the Head Tutor and the Education and Volunteer Coordinator on a regular basis to track member progress in school including the occasional parent-teacher conference for a child who is significantly struggling.  Parents will be the critical alliance formed to ensure member success in this program.  Admission to this program will require parents to attend an organizing meeting and continued enrollment will be based on parental involvement at home.

Sustainability and Replication
The biggest challenge for the Club to maintain the Bridge to Success program is raising the funds to cover the fees of professional tutors.  We believe that a grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education and positive outcome measurements proving the impact of this program will make future funding probable.

Program costs
32 weeks @ 4 one hour sessions at an average of $49 per tutor per hour                $25,000
Total program                                            $25,000
BGCG has secured another grant to offset this cost.

Covered by BGCG and Greenwich Public Schools

Stride Academy fees of $3,500                                     $3,500

Copies, Tutoring materials, Writing implements,    calculators, binders, folders, etc.            $1,500

Total request for Grant                                        $5,000

Project timeline:
August/September 2018 – work with Greenwich Public Schools and parents to identify possible participants
October, 2018 – Begin the program; initial parent meeting; Initial standardized testing
January, 2019 – Mid-year assessment; parent meeting
April, 2019 – Parent meeting
May, 2019 – Final assessment and “graduation” ceremony
June, 2019 – Final comments on each participant due to Program Director
July, 2019 – Final report due to Greenwich Alliance for Education

Framework for Evaluation
The Stride Academy platform provides pre- and post-program feedback.  This adaptive software will demonstrate a members’ progress in quantitative and verbal skills and knowledge.  These assessments will be offered at the very beginning of the program to establish a baseline set of information.  It will then be re-administered mid-year and at the end of the program to provide objective data that will signify areas of growth and development as well as articulate ongoing needs that can be shared with classroom teachers.  Additional feedback will be included as students bring in report cards from school; from meetings with parents and guardians throughout the year; as well as comments from members’ teachers.