New Haven Promise Program - Offical News Release

-News Release-
NEW HAVEN promise program announced:
city, board of education, yale and Community foundation partner to make the promise of college a reality to new haven students
NEW HAVEN— Today, in an assembly before 250 ninth grade students from every high school in the city, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr.; Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo; Yale University President Richard C. Levin and William Ginsberg, President of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, announced the launch of the New Haven Promise program. New Haven Promise is a visionary scholarship and support program for New Haven Public School students and the capstone of the District’s nationally recognized School Change Initiative. The assembly was broadcast live in all New Haven Public Schools this morning giving every child in the District the opportunity to watch the announcement in real-time. 
Through New Haven Promise, eligible students graduating from every New Haven public high school will receive full tuition (for up to four years) to attend a public college or university in Connecticut or up to $2,500 annually to attend a private nonprofit college or university in the State.  (This includes New Haven Public Schools or approved public charter school in the City of New Haven.) These funds will be awarded on a scaled basis depending on how long the student has lived in New Haven and attended an eligible school.
“Now this is not a give away program.  You will have to work hard for your grades and stay focused on positive behavior.  But do these two things, and this community is saying to you it will see that you have the resources to compete successfully anywhere and make your life and the lives of those around you measure up to the promise of every gift god blessed you with,” said DeStefano in his address.
“To the parents of these young people, this is a challenge for you too.  More than anyone, parents must be invested and responsible for the success of their kids. I challenge you to instill in each of them the aspiration for a college education, and, our shared expectation that these kids once given the tools can and will succeed. Parents we cannot do this for you.  But with today’s promise, we can do it with you.”
Yale University is generously committing to fund the actual cost of New Haven Promise scholarships per academic year for the New Haven public school graduating classes of 2011-2014.  Funding for subsequent classes will be reviewed and renewed by the NHP Board on an annual basis. 
“Yale's strength is inextricably linked to the community's strength.  The Promise program builds on the New Haven renaissance of the last two decades that has made our community a national model of urban vitality,” said Levin. “Yale's support flows from our commitment to New Haven and our belief that quality education should be accessible to all.  As a good neighbor that has called New Haven home for nearly three centuries, Yale is proud to do our part to make our hometown ever stronger. Our contribution to the Promise program will keep New Haven's renaissance going by helping young people now and in the future.”
In order to ensure that every University dollar and other contributions that will be raised over time go toward the explicit purpose of New Haven Promise scholarships, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven generously provides the capital needed to administer NHP.
“The Community Foundation’s fundamental commitment to our donors past and present is to do what we think will build a brighter future for our community.  By making this promise to the students in New Haven public schools, we are acting on our belief that investing in school change and investing in each student is the way in which we create a brighter future,” said Will Ginsberg, President & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.  “The Community Foundation has long believed that education is the base on which long-term social progress is built.  For this reason, this promise to New Haven’s students, both current and future, is also a moment of great promise for our city.”
“This program reinforces a fundamental and traditional value that we share in this City: if you work hard, set goals and accomplish those goals, you deserve a bright pathway with every opportunity available to you,” said DeStefano.
New Haven Promise has three goals:
• Cultivating an aspiration for college education in New Haven Public School students
• Building community and parental engagement
• Growing economic development in the City of New Haven
New Haven students who are admitted to and enroll in a Connecticut in-state public 2- or 4-year college or university and who meet residency, civic behavior and academic performance criteria are eligible for this award.
“This is an exceptional day in New Haven! For everything and anything you want to attain in this world, you’re going to need an education and more and more that requirement includes a college education as a bare minimum,” said Mayo as he addressed the students watching the announcement both at COOP and on-line. “New Haven Promise underscores the importance of college and community and how becoming life-long learners will open every door to you.”
Grade-by-grade high school checklists are being made available to every student of a New Haven Public School as well as the three local charter high schools to help students plan and make the right decisions during high school so that they can take full advantage of this important benefit.
Details on eligibility criteria and the steps students need to take to review their eligibility and receive their award are available in every New Haven Public School and on line at
Promise is the capstone of the School Change Initiative, the District’s school reform model that was launched when the New Haven Federation of Teachers approved a nationally groundbreaking contract that provided for increased flexibility for teachers and the District.
The School Change Initiative, has set three distinct goals:
• Reduce the achievement gap, bringing New Haven students to the Connecticut averages on the CMT and CAPT.
• Halve the dropout rate in five years.
• Make sure that every graduating student has the aspiration, academic ability, and the financial resources to attend and succeed in college.
DeStefano will speak on the Yale campus twice next week about New Haven School Change and the Promise program as a Chubb Fellow of Timothy Dwight College at Yale.  On Tuesday, November 17, at 4:00 p.m., he will deliver a lecture on "City and Civic Infrastructure" at the Levinson Auditorium in the Sterling Law Buildings at the Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street. 
DeStefano will be joined by other education leaders on Wednesday, November 17, at 4:00 p.m. for a discussion on "New Haven School Change and the Path to College" to be held at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street.  The Chubb Fellowship was designed to encourage Yale College students in the operations of government, culture and public service, the program brings three or four distinguished women and men to campus every year to give public lectures and interact informally with students.  Both events on campus next week are free and open to the public.
New Haven Promise informational meetings for parents will be held at each school the week of November 15, 2010.  A schedule of parent meetings is available on line at