A Sampling of the Collaborative Efforts between Wesleyan and Local Schools

CAUSE (Community and University Services for Education)

Established in 1967 by Mrs. Marjorie Daltry Rosenbaum, CAUSE has existed to identify and facilitate the implementation of cooperative programs and projects between Wesleyan University, the Middletown community and the public and private schools in the Middletown area. Focus of these programs has been on intellectual and cultural enrichment.  Thousands of students have benefited over the years.

A noted program of CAUSE is the High School Humanities Program. Annually, about 100 high school students from local public (Middletown High School, Vinal Technical High School and Haddam Killingworth High School) and parochial schools (Mercy and Xavier) participate in lectures and discussion on a variety of liberal arts subjects led by Wesleyan faculty. 

Another unique project supported by CAUSE is The Art Show, which exhibits over 1,200 artworks of Middletown students in grades K-12 at Wesleyan's Zilkha Gallery. This annual showcase, reflecting the art curriculum in Middletown Public Schools, draws hundreds of students and their families to campus each spring.

Still another worthwhile project is Silent Sounds. This is a collaboration with Middletown Public Schools, CAUSE, and Wesleyan's Center for the Arts. The focus is to encourage young people to explore, enjoy and create literary arts. For eight years now, students in Middletown Public Schools submit poetry and prose for juried evaluation, and winning entries (roughly 30 each year) are compiled into a printed publication.

For more information about CAUSE, please contact co-chairs, Frank Kuan, at 860-685-2245, or Marco Gaylord, 860-704-4568.

Upward Bound and Pre-collegiate Programs

Since 1966, Upward Bound Program at Wesleyan University has helped numerous students to succeed in high school and attain a college education. Working cooperatively with school officials and parents, the program staff provide support to about 100 students, grades 9-12, in Middletown, Meriden, and Portland, by offering classroom instruction; college, financial aid and career counseling; tutoring; community service; and cultural activities.

Ascend Program

Building on the success of Upward Bound, the Ascend Program aims to provide the same high quality of tutoring, mentoring, and academic and cultural enrichment to students in the elementary grade levels. Fourth and fifth grade students receive assistance from Wesleyan students with homework assignments. Special enrichment projects, guest presentations, cultural field trips, and a campus tour are some of the program activities. Participants and their families attend an end-of-the-year dinner and awards program at Wesleyan. Students at Snow and Macdonough are involved in the program. 

Kids to College

An affiliated program of Ascend, Kids to College provides interested students at Keigwin Middle School an early look at career options and college awareness. Staffed by Wesleyan students as role models with support from a teacher/coordinator, they venture each semester to explore the various dimensions of the world of work and how education is tied into these pursuits. A campus visit (for students and their families) is the culmination of this semester-long program. This visit includes a tour of university facilities, career poster presentations, financial aid workshop for parents, and a dinner at the Usdan University Center. 

Prospect Math/Science

Prospect is a comprehensive academic enrichment experience for 6th – 10th graders which includes Saturday workshops during the school year (on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and a four-week summer camp focusing on advancing skill levels linked to a science theme selected each year by the staff. Daily summer activities include science labs, off-campus excursions, brain teasers, math challenges, writing prompts, art projects, and instruction in Mandarin Chinese. Prospect emphasizes critical, analytical, and higher-order thinking skills.

Foreign Language Project

Foreign Languages are taught in both summer and school year formats to 4th – 12th grade students. Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and Modern Greek are three languages that have been explored through the Collaborative's Foreign Language Initiative.

For more information about Upward Bound and Pre-collegiate Programs, please contact program director, Beverly Hunter Daniel, at 860-685-3113.

Project ASTRO

Sponsored by Wesleyan University Astronomy Department and PIMMS (Project to Increase the Mastery of Mathematics and Science) with funding support from National Science Foundation and NASA, Project ASTRO matches teachers of grades 3-12 with volunteer amateur or professional astronomers who agree to make regular (at least 4) classroom visits. The project's emphasis is an activities-based, hands-on approach to excite students about astronomy and help them learn the process of science.  Snow School is one of the most recent participants.

For more information, please consult with Astronomy Department at 860-685-2130.

Macdonough Elementary School

Macdonough Elementary is in close proximity to Wesleyan University. There are several programs based at Macdonough. The WesReads/WesMath program provides a small group setting for advanced students to work on higher-level comprehension skills. The groups meet once or twice a week during the school day. There are currently 16 Wesleyan students and over 50 Macdonough students participating. There are also a number of service-learning courses that use Macdonough as a community partner each year. In addition, there are two students that provide support to the principal of the school to plan literacy activities for the children and their families.

For more information on this initiative, please contact director of center for community partnerships, Cathy Lechowicz, at 860-685-2841.

Middlesex Transition Academy at Wesleyan University

In collaboration with District 13 (Durham, Middlefield, and Rockfall), Wesleyan University houses the Middlesex Transition Academy (MTA) on campus. Now in its sixth year, the MTA has been a positive opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities to enhance their life, social, and work skills through in-class activities and work at various departments on- (as well as off-) campus. Currently, nineteen students are enrolled in the program, and they come from District 13, Middletown Public Schools, Cromwell Public Schools, as well as Wethersfield Public Schools and other school distrcits. These students (with the support of their job coaches) have worked with the Athletic department, Campus Dining Services, ITS (Printing), Physical Plant (landscaping), and the University Bookstore.

Wesleyan students involved with the Best Buddies program serve as mentors for the students in the Academy, and these connections have been terrific and invaluable.

For more information, please contact program coordinator with District 13, Ann Mallin, at 860-349-7110.

High School Scholars Program

Designed for the high achieving, academically well-prepared juniors and seniors in local-area high schools, the High School Scholars Program enables these students to take more advanced work than is normally available at their schools; as such, selected students can take one course per semester at Wesleyan tuition-free.  Once selected for admission to this program, students can enroll in a class depending on availability and instructor's permission.  They are expected to fully participate in class and their earned letter grade will appear on a Wesleyan transcript.  Over the years, hundreds of students have benefited. 

For more information, interested students should contact their high school guidance counselor, or call Chris Lanser, Associate Dean of Admission, at 860-685-2983.

School Tours with Friends of the Davison Arts Center (FDAC)

Each fall and spring, volunteer FDAC docents offer tours of the exhibits at the Davison Arts Center (DAC), the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, Zilkha Gallery and other Wesleyan arts venues to about 500 4th grade students in the Middletown Public Schools. This is a very important part of the DAC's educational programs.  Participating students also have an opportunity to visit the World Music Center and learn about as well as play with the renowned Javanese Gamelan.

For more information, please consult with Middletown Public Schools at 860-638-1401.

Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Outreach Program

The Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies has an established outreach program geared for local area students, K-12, to introduce them to various aspects of East Asian cultures through a range of hands-on activities on topics including writing and language, food, martial arts, and music. Special programs are also available for preschool groups.

For more information, please contact program coordinator, Ann Gertz, at 860-685-2330.