BeFoundation Awards $75,000 Grant To Support Norwalk Early College Academy

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Students Graduate With High School Diploma and Associate in Applied Science Degree

NORWALK, CT -- BeFoundation announced a $75,000 grant to the Norwalk Education Foundation and Norwalk Public Schools to support Norwalk Early College Academy, Connecticut’s first “Pathways in Technology” Early College High School.

A collaboration with IBM, Norwalk Public Schools and Norwalk Community College, Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) is supported by public and private resources. NECA serves grades 9 to 14 and will enable students to graduate with both a high school diploma and a no cost Associate in Applied Science degree that will put graduates on the path to a good job.

Created by IBM and partners, PTECH model schools are innovative public schools that bring together the best elements of high school, college, and career. There are no tests or screening required for admission. The new school in Norwalk is located at Norwalk High School, and graduates will be first in line for jobs at IBM.

“We are very pleased to have BeFoundation as a partner in developing the NECA,” said Dr. Manuel J. Rivera, Superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools. “We welcome BeFoundation’s commitment to Norwalk and their emphasis on making sure all students are prepared to reach their highest potential,” he added.

“We are proud to partner with Norwalk Public Schools and the Norwalk Education Foundation, together with Norwalk Community College and IBM to help make this a reality,” said Richard J. Wenning, BeFoundation’s Executive Director. “Strong partnerships among public schools, higher education institutions, employers and community-based organizations are needed to expand effective pathways for students to achieve college, career and life success.”

“There is clear evidence that expanding education beyond 12th grade is critical for life success,” said Gloria Tenofsky, Norwalk Education Foundation’s Executive Director. “More jobs are requiring postsecondary education and employees with an associate’s degree will earn 73% more than those with only a high school diploma.”

“Norwalk was selected because of the makeup of our students and for our active, supportive community,” Gloria Tenofsky said. Norwalk students come from a variety of backgrounds, with more than 38% of students speaking a second language at home. Norwalk’s rich cultural diversity reflects the global society in which our graduates will work and live.

Norwalk is home to a broad range of corporate and nonprofit organizations who support the initiatives of Norwalk Public Schools and who will benefit from a well educated, work-ready workforce. “This is a real game changer in Norwalk; an ongoing cohort of students will graduate with an associate’s degree, debt free,” Tenofsky added. “It will be a boost to their career prospects and to the business community who hires them,” she said.

BeFoundation is a private, family foundation dedicated to transforming the lives and communities of disadvantaged youth in Connecticut. BeFoundation invests in organizations that share a commitment to expanding the pathways available for college, career and life success while building creative, smart and engaged communities.

The Norwalk Education Foundation offers strategic support and assistance in securing private funding, along with fiscal management of private donations. Potential partners and funding sources can reach out to NEF at 203-854-4068.

The mission of Norwalk Public Schools is to create a student-focused culture that motivates, challenges and supports each individual student to his or her highest levels of achievement. Over 1,000 dedicated professionals work closely with more than 11,000 students in 19 schools, including 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, and one alternative high school program. Norwalk is also home to the Center for Global Studies, an inter-district high school magnet program, and Norwalk Early College Academy, where students can earn both a high school diploma and an Associate in Applied Science degree..



Richard Wenning

Gloria Tenofsky
Norwalk Education Foundation

Brenda Wilcox Williams
Norwalk Public Schools


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