Volunteers Visit Hundreds of New Haven Homes to Welcome Kindergartners to School

View footage of the 2014 Kindergarten Canvass from FOX CT here, and check out the pictures on our Flickr account here. Scroll down for the full press release.
NEW HAVEN - School hasn’t started yet, but community leaders, teachers, school administrators and volunteers mobilized this Saturday, Aug. 16, to make sure that New Haven kindergartners get off to a great start. They fanned out across city neighborhoods for the third Kindergarten Canvass, knocking on doors and welcoming families with incoming kindergarten students to New Haven Public Schools.
Volunteers hit the streets for the Kindergarten Canvass on Saturday, Aug. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; on Tuesday, Aug. 19 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.; and on Thursday, Aug. 21 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. They convened at the start of each session at Conte-West Hills School. 
The canvass, which reached more than 1,000 households last year, is a joint effort of New Haven Public Schools, the City of New Haven, United Way of Greater New Haven, and Boost! This year, the canvass is receiving major financial support from Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Additional sponsors include Yale-New Haven Hospital, Higher ONE, GBAC and Skanska. 
The Kindergarten Canvass focuses on family engagement, a key component in Boost! and Parent University New Haven. It also aims to promote awareness about “ART of School Success,” which stresses the importance of Attending school, Reading and incorporating family “Talk time” into every day. 
“In order for our students to rise toward their potential, families should begin preparing their children in kindergarten,” said Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries. “The Kindergarten Canvass is a great opportunity for diverse members of the New Haven community to meet our newest students in their homes, and ensure they feel welcomed and excited as they start their journey into New Haven Public Schools.” 
"It's inspiring to see our community come together to introduce children and families to our schools. Thanks to all the volunteers and the participation of teachers and school staff, these children will come to school excited and ready to learn, and will be starting off on a path of lifetime success,” said Jack Healy, president and CEO of United Way of Greater New Haven. 
“Alexion is happy to partner with New Haven Public Schools and the United Way to provide this important service to incoming kindergarteners and their families,” said Irving Adler, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Alexion Pharmaceuticals. “As we prepare to expand our global headquarters into our new facility in New Haven next year, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to support our neighbors through innovative and impactful initiatives like the Kindergarten Canvass.”
Volunteers included school teams including teachers and the principal, who went door to door to answer questions and hand out Welcome Packets. Each Welcome Packet includes: 

  • A children’s book in English and Spanish;
  • A bookmark and magnet featuring “The ART of Success;”
  • An application for a New Haven Free Public Library card; and
  • New Haven Family Resource Guide
  • Bookmark highlighting the New Haven Youth Map, a resource where parents can search hundreds of after-school, weekend and summer activities

Parent engagement is a major priority of the New Haven School Change Initiative, which aims to close the achievement gap, cut the drop-out rate and ensure every student is prepared for success in college, career and life.