Windsor Locks Public Schools Receives Grant From the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to Create New Learning Opportunities for Students

Windsor Locks Public Schools has been awarded a $234,422 one-year grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving toward a groundbreaking plan to create personalized and experiential learning opportunities as components of new “career and college pathways” for Windsor Locks students. This proposal was initially developed through a nearly $40,000 planning grant provided by the Hartford Foundation this past spring.

“This opportunity, made possible by the extreme generosity of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, provides the critical support necessary to launch one of the most important components of our student-centered vision – helping EVERY student to chart their own pathway towards college, career, and life success,” said Susan A. Bell, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Windsor Locks Public Schools. “We had only begun to scratch the surface of developing career and college pathways for our students in grades 6-12; this funding makes building a sustainable system around our college and career pathways a very achievable reality.”

Over this past summer, Superintendent Bell established a WLPS Partnership and Pathways Committee, including parents and community organizations, charged with developing a vision and long-range plan to implement a new “WLPS Pathway Experience” for every WLPS student. Key components include new learning opportunities, internships, early college experiences, and opportunities exposing students to the range of career and college options available to them. The Pathway experience will also enable students to receive college credit while still in high school.

“We are pleased to support this creative plan that engages both parents and the community in supporting student learning,” said Linda J. Kelly, president of the Hartford Foundation. “This approach is consistent with the Hartford Foundation’s aim to ensure that all children in our region are prepared to succeed when they leave high school. We expect that hundreds of Windsor Locks students will benefit from this effort.”

Some organizations have already begun to offer students new experiences. For example, during the 2014-2015 school year, Asnuntuck Community College will offer a “First-Year College Experience” course on the high school campus, exposing students to college and preparing them for post-secondary learning.

“Windsor Locks has developed a truly cutting edge initiative appreciative of the fact that learning can happen in a variety of settings,” said Sara Sneed, Hartford Foundation director of Education Investments. “The Pathways Experience will afford students the opportunity to gain true mastery of the content and skills they will need upon graduation, including an appreciation of their capacity for lifelong learning and achievement.”

Windsor Locks school administrators have also identified the need to implement multiple new professional learning experiences to build its staff and partners’ capacity to cultivate and effectively support students’ personalized learning experiences.

With Foundation funds, the district plans to offer new learning experiences for its staff and partners, including parents, focused on building and strengthening the family and community partnerships integral to personalized learning and students’ career and college pathways.

WLPS’ ultimate aim is to provide all of its students, starting in the 6th grade, with experiences that as they progress through middle school, will help them to identify prospective career and college goals. Families and community partners will help to support and guide students in multiple ways, providing hands-on experiences.