ELSS Receives $25,000-Grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Exciting new grant awarded! 

Norwalk, CT (7/27/2017) – English Learner Support Services of Fairfield County is pleased to announce that it has received a $25,000-grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for the “Academic Support Program to Inspire, Reinforce, and Empower” (ASPIRE). ASPIRE was created by ELSS in collaboration with Norwalk Public Schools’ English Language Learner Education Department. The program will begin this fall for high school English language learners (ELLs) entering the school system with limited or interrupted formal education. These students will receive small-group instruction in English and other subject areas by trained ESL tutors during school hours. For example, in place of attending study hall, a student in the program will participate in a tutoring session run by an ASPIRE staff member. The purpose of ASPIRE is to provide academic support during the school day in order to accelerate fluency of English language skills, making high school graduation and enrollment in a post-secondary program a more likely outcome.

Helene Becker, ELL Instructional Specialist for NPS, stated that “this grant will help support Norwalk ELL students with limited or interrupted school histories over the course of the coming school year. ASPIRE’s tutors will help these students catch up to their peers in our ESL classes.”

ASPIRE will contribute to FCCF’s “All Fairfield County Youth Thrive by Age 25” initiative by helping English language learners graduate within four years. They will have greater proficiency in English and other content area skills, which will be necessary to transition to post-secondary academic programs or certificate training programs.

Since 1992, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation has been dedicated to creating lasting change in our region and they have awarded over $212 million in grants in support of 625 local nonprofits. They maximize impact by combining fiscal stewardship with extensive community knowledge. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, FCCF unites philanthropists, nonprofits, and expert resources with the goal of creating a vital and inclusive community – where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org

The mission of ELSS is to provide educational programs to underrepresented populations in Fairfield County, with emphasis on English language learners. ELSS has also received support from Fairfield County Bank, Pro Bono Partnerships, and Connecticut Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

ELSS, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in early 2016 by Norwalk resident Peter Shaker, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. He is also an Adjunct Professor of English at the University of Bridgeport and Manhattanville College. The organization has been working closely with Helene Becker to develop and implement ASPIRE in Norwalk. For more information about ELSS, visit www.elss-fairfieldcounty.org .

To learn about Norwalk’s ELL program, visit www.norwalkps.org/curriculum/k-12_programs/english_language_learner_education .

Peter Shaker, President and Founder

English Learner Support Services of Fairfield County [ELSS]

65 High Ridge Road #221, Stamford, CT 06905

[email protected]


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