“STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE” UMBRELLA PROGRAM
Since 2009, The White Rose Foundation has provided grants to the Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (the “Denver Links”) to help fund their signature “Stepping into the Future” Umbrella Program at Hallett Fundamental Academy, an inner-city neighborhood school located in the Park Hill area of Denver. The school serves a high-risk student population, including a 96% minority rate with 84% of the students receiving free or reduced lunch services.
The Denver Links’ immediate goal was to implement program activities to help prevent Hallett from being closed. Having achieved the goal of keeping Hallett open, the Chapter’s mission is to prepare Hallett students to succeed in the 21st century and help push them to the finish line by implementing programs and activities that promote high academic achievement and addresses their academic, cultural, health, social awareness, career development, and mentoring needs. We believe that the activities, positive role models, and new experiences that our Umbrella Program brings to these students and families has changed the trajectory of their lives from a culture of negative deprivation to one of positive achievement.
Our long-term goal is to expand this Umbrella Program by adding a STEM/STEAM component and to duplicate it by developing a “Hallett In A Box” type Template for disadvantaged students and families at other Denver metro schools. We are coordinating with Haiti Children, our non-governmental organization Partner, to expand our “Change For Change In Haiti” Program to other Denver metro schools and nationally.
PROGRAM ACTIVITIES INSIDE & OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL WALLS
- Weekly classroom math/reading tutoring and mentoring
- Newspaper Club, journalism and publication of first school newsletter
- Writing and Taping school broadcast at PBS TV Station
- Tour of Federal Courthouse/U. S. Marshall Service and Mock Trial role-playing
- Tour Denver Post newspaper facility and attend editorial meetings
- Tour Denver International Airport Terminal
- Career presentations and roundtable discussions with local professionals
- Healthy eating program and cooking class
- Art program and exhibit of student art projects
- Attend plays at Denver Center for Performing Arts and Denver Art Museum
- Tour State Capitol, City Council and role-play City Council meeting
- Health fair and tracking of key body measurements
- Creative writing program including the creation of a fairy tale
- Recreational programs including a full-day incentive-based ski trip
- World Water Monitoring Challenge
PROGRAM IMPACT & OUTCOMES
- For each fiscal year since 2009, including the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years, this Program at Hallett impacted more than 800 children and families during each fiscal year.
- Helped prevent closure of Hallett, an inner-city neighborhood school, by improved academics via mentoring, cultural exposure, field trips, reading/writing projects and Career Awareness Program.
- In 2010-2011, Hallett was rated “red” by Denver Public Schools and was facing possible closure due to low test scores. Today, Hallett Fundamental Academy has a “green” rating, and was recognized as a top 10 school for improvement in test scores and academic growth on state tests. In 2013, the Principal was honored as “Principal of the Year” and the 5th grade teachers recognized as “Extraordinary Teachers” because Hallett 5th graders (our primary target group) had shown exceptional academic growth over the past 3 years.
- Increased test scores. Near 100% reduced 4th grade attrition rates in anticipation of full participation in Program in 5th grade.
- Students learned importance of giving back and their role as global citizens in the all-school Hallett “Change For Change In Haiti” Program, and we are working with our NGO Partner to expand this Program locally and nationally.
- Expanding horizons, raising student self-esteem resulting in improved behavior and social interaction through students experiencing a variety of Visual/Performing Arts to fill gap created by no Arts Teacher; displaying artwork, publishing school newspaper & giving back to Haiti. Students presented Black History Showcase “Because of Them, We Can” celebrating trailblazers & were inspired to blaze a trail of their own by adopting “Because of Us, We Can” as their student motto.
- Broadened student/parent knowledge of fitness/nutrition via integrating Yoga Instruction and Golf In School Values Program.
- Success of our Program attracted new community Partners who share our mission/vision to help sustain our Program and provides more opportunities for our target groups.