Footebridge is a collaboration between Foote School and the New Haven Public Schools combining a comprehensive summer program for public school kindergartners and first graders with teacher training in curriculum development, classroom management, and all aspects of literacy instruction. Children are chosen by lottery and invited to spend an all-day five-week summer session in Footebridge for two consecutive years. There is no cost for participants. The curriculum includes reading, writing, math, science, art, singing, dramatic play, library visits, field trips, cooking, and plenty of outdoor exploration. Families are invited to see the classroom and their children’s work and come to a breakfast reception at the end of the program. Teaching Fellows from New Haven area public schools receive training before the students come to the Foote campus and then team-teach, rotating through the gamut of the mixed-age group’s skill levels and activities. They receive a stipend.
High School Interns are an integral part of the Footebridge staff. These students attend the training, and they, too, rotate among the various reading groups and activities. Their work is also supported by a stipend. We have been fortunate to have a Yale Public Service Fellow helping us each summer since Footebridge began in 1996. Footebridge is an ideal lab model, with a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:3. Reading group work is carefully paced and focused over an hour-and-a-half period; teachers work on a variety of tasks with their small groups including oral language, decoding, phonics, writing, comprehension. Children receive a great deal of teacher attention and encouragement in an engaging setting. Social skills are taught through group lessons and are referred to by students and teachers throughout the day. Our students have made strong progress both academically and socially.
The student mixed-age group model will continue during the summers, and new students for our lottery will come primarily from Davis Arts and Academics Magnet School and John C. Daniels School. Teachers from any school in the district are invited to apply for teaching fellowships; they are chosen by the Co-Directors in consultation with school principals and the Footebridge advisory board.
Footebridge has received funding from The Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation, The Smart Family Foundation, The Seedlings Foundation, and individual contributors.
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