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New Beginnings Family Academy

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: New Beginnings Family Academy provides students a meaningful, high-quality education through experience-based learning that helps develop essential social, emotional and critical-thinking skills. This gives all children a foundation to achieve their full potential at every stage of life. NBFA believes that children's well-being is foundational for learning; their development needs are supported; their experiences are important; and inquiry and active discovery are integral to their educational experience. Through a shared vision of progressive education, NBFA equips students to be creative, collaborative, deep thinkers and problem solvers with the social, emotional, and intellectual wherewithal for sustained success in the global community. NBFA is committed to being a leader in progressive pedagogy – meaningful, student-driven instruction that supports children in identifying their interests while mastering key skills – in an emotionally responsive environment, sharing best practices with urban districts throughout the state and nation.

Results: To accomplish our goal of preparing students for life-long success, we work with experts from Bank Street College of Education to implement a progressive education model with emotionally responsive practice. This model attends to the whole child, not just academics, and focuses on developing collaborative, socially responsible leaders by organically weaving ethics and character-building into daily instruction in small-class settings. Our student-focused approach brings out the best in each child by getting to know them individually, encouraging curiosity, and fostering their personal interests. All NBFA students are selected through a blind lottery, and there is no admissions criteria.

Target demographics: Children

Direct beneficiaries per year: 499 Students

Geographic areas served: Bridgeport, Connecticut but serve the entire state

Programs: Prek-3 through eighth grade

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The administration here is thoughtful, committed and always looking for ways to learn more and improve their school.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am a professor and the Director of the Elementary Education Program at Fairfield University. Fairfield University and the New Beginnings Family Academy have developed a powerful reciprocal partnership that helps our teacher candidates at Fairfield gain important field experiences in early literacy, while simultaneously helping the students at New Beginnings Family Academy develop their foundational early literacy skills. The Fairfield education students meet with elementary students at New Beginnings and work with them on a regular basis on phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension, supporting the instruction that the elementary students are receiving from their classroom teachers at New Beginnings. Our Fairfield education students have gained such valuable experiences during their fieldwork at New Beginnings. The teachers at New Beginnings have been mentors to the teacher candidates, and the students at New Beginnings have helped the teacher candidates to hone their skills as early literacy educators. The administration has been so supportive of our partnership from day one, which is the main reason why our collaboration has been such a success for everyone involved.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am a professor at Fairfield University for the Graduate School of Education. Last semester Collette Fearon granted permission for 3 graduate students to complete virtual fieldwork at NFBA. With the guidance of her amazing faculty our Fairfield U. students were able to create individualized reading plans for students grades K-3 based on previous assessments, shared online resources and one-on-one meetings with the reading specialist and classroom teachers. NFBA students met with Fairfield U. students virtually on-on-one and small group and the assessments at the end of the semester demonstrated successful progress. This proved to be an amazing and successful partnership and is the reason why we are in the midst of planning for this semester! Thank you NFBA for entering into this productive partnership!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love working for this organization and I am excited for it's future. Others may not see it, but I can see New Beginnings Family Academy blossoming as a beacon for children in the community where they are not just an academic statistic, but actual participants in their environments. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child approach is ever present in our day to day tasks and will continue to be as long as we continue to work together to put our children first.

Donor

Rating: 5

NBFA is a tremendously well run Charter school. NBFA offers a top notch academic program with many enrichment activities for students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such stellar education. The school has an all-star team at the helm. It’s been a pleasure working with NBFA over the past ~10 years!

Ira S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Maxine and Ira Stone have volunteered at NBFA for 8 years and find it to be one of the most powerful and hopeful non profits. The school respects the "whole child" and makes a significant contribution to the education, well being and success of each student and the community.
Attached is a video link of a song we wrote. The children learned to sing and to sign the lyrics. We believe NBFA should be recognized again as a top rated non-profit.

Donor

Rating: 5

New Beginnings Family Academy (NBFA) is having a positive impact on student success in our community. NBFA is ensuring that students in Pre-K through 8th grade are provided with the tools and resources to achieve foundational developmental milestones for social and emotional well-being and learning. NBFA has been a leader in Social-emotional learning, and has expanded its commitment by adopting a progressive education model with emotional responsive practice, and is now operating its fifth year as a Trauma-Sensitive School, which is more important now more than ever, with COVID-19 and racial injustice exacerbating the trauma that students often experience in their lives as a result of poverty and violence in the community. The school is also committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and has a staff, faculty, and leaders who represent the student population they serve. Our Foundation has been a proud , consistent supporter of the important work of NBFA for the past 12 consecutive years.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a volunteer mentoring 2 young girls for a total of 3 years. Everyone I encountered during each of my visits were friendly, supportive and encouraging. The kids all had smiles on their faces and they positively lit up whenever I walked in the room regardless if I wasn't there to see them. I think New Beginnings is a wonderful place for children to learn and grow.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NBFA goes above and beyond to teach the whole child! Staff at NBFA are committed to understanding not only the academic needs of students, but also nurturing the social emotional needs of students in a developmentally appropriate way.

Board Member

Rating: 4

New Beginnings Family Academy provides students with a meaningful education while developing their social, emotional and critical-thinking skills. As a parent and a board member I can say I have established a relationship with the educators, administrators and other faculty members. I must say they all strive to fulfill the mission of NBFA and they do so with such compassion and ambition. I am happy to be apart of such a caring, diverse, respectful and committed community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College has had an ongoing relationship with NBFA for five years. We have been impressed, overall, at the school's commitment to children's well-being, particularly as they balance the stressors of score-driven accountabilities that charter schools face. NBFA is one of a small number of charter schools that has made the emotional well being of its children a priority, so important in
these stressful times. This school knows that children learn best when they feel safe. NBFA is committed to integrating Emotionally Responsive Practices into both virtual and in- person classroom experience, to enhance a feeling of social and emotional connection in the community of children and families it serves. Through thick and thin, and changing circumstances over the years, the administration has held tight to the ideal of children's well-being, and the teachers have internalized this value.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of visiting New Beginnings Family Academy in my home town of Bridgeport CT several times. Every time I visit the academy I am more and more impressed, not only by the great academic opportunity that the kids receive but by the overall culture of the school community. There is a real commitment to the success of the children throughout everything NBFA does. NBFA provides a great opportunity for many families in Bridgeport where quality educational options are very limited.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over my career, I've served on numerous boards, but none where the mission is more critical and the successful outcomes more satisfying.

NBFA students are from among the more underserved communities of the State. This presents challenges and calls for even more dedication from the Board, the staff, the teachers and the volunteers and donors who together fill so many deep emotional, physical, psychological and fiscal needs that are largely unmet.

And no one fails NBFA.

With limited tools, the NBFA staff and faculty have enthusiastically met the obstacles and mastered the skills of teaching both in person and virtually during a crisis when even broadband is not widely available across our communities. The emotional needs of the students are being addressed with the interests of the families uppermost. The staff has executive skills that are the match, and possibly the envy, of many of the management teams with whom I have served because they bring and live an enthusiasm for NBFA's mission. The Board, though few, are devoted and committed beyond their numbers. And then there are the donors and volunteers who have sacrificed and freely given with all our gratitude so that, in a meaningful and concrete way, they know they are addressing real societal issues. Together, all this makes it possible for 500 young and aspiring students to successfully prepare for and continue on thru high school and college at a rate that makes comparisons embarrassing to many other comparable students in the communities that NBFA serves.

NBFA has a mission and plans; PLEASE HELP!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am a volunteer, mentor , at the school and my observation with this program is very good. I really think they are doing a great job in promoting the emotional side of a child as he enters the school each day. A child that is under distress can't properly learn in a classroom but as the school identifies with each child his or hers emotional state and deals with them then they can re-enter the classroom healthier and more productive. I've seen other schools in Bridgeport discipline a child by putting them in a detention type situation as punishment and its not a good approach, the child needs care and get back in the class learning asap.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported NBFA for several years. The level of care that the teachers and faculty give to students is very impressive.

Mindy F.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NBFA is doing an excellent job reaching their students on an academic, social and emotional level. They value all aspects of a student's educational experience and look to recruit the whole family in an effort to incorporate holistic developmental skills into a childs education.
NBFA has to struggle to help students overcome incredibly challenging situations at home and must rely on a great deal of donation funding to do so. Their community of students looks to the school as a true home away from home, often getting their most reliable meals of the day at school and bolstering their emotional life with support from the warm, understanding faculty and staff.
In our current circumstances, non-profits like this school need even more help from grant opportunities than before, as individual donors are distracted by their own financial and societal concerns. I hope NBFA continues to thrive and provide the invaluable services it offers to its surrounding community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an exceptional school and it that way for a reason. The leadership cares deeply for the students and they care about them on a number of levels. They care about their intellectual development but importantly they care for their emotional development. They work the balance between love and scholarship, very unique for charter schools in which many have abandoned the caring aspect.

The aspect of the school that I notice and that says it all is the scholars are happy and they return after graduating to see their teachers and the staff. They also want to see if they can help and give what they have gotten to the young scholars. A remarkable place.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have loved working with the administrators and teachers at New Beginnings Family Academy. Their dedication to their MISSION is so clear and their focus on students is a breath of fresh air. I have thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with their principal to support the literacy instruction throughout the school. I know that the hard work will pay off in terms of students' reading proficiency.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NBFA works with the whole child to help each child succeed.
Lessons look at the individual needs of the children to build self confidence.
Their staff is very caring and supportive.

Donor

Rating: 5

The faculty and staff of this school have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that its students have the equipment they need to deal with the remote education challenges brought on by the covid-19 pandemic. Everyone involved in the school is dedicated to ensuring that these under-served children receive the best possible education, both in terms of academics and in terms of social-emotional learning. The goal is to enable them to succeed in their future endeavors and be exemplary friends, neighbors and citizens. While working under severe budget constraints, the organization squeezes the most out of every dollar received.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been with New Beginnings since 2016. My employer uses a volunteer program that lists all volunteer opportunities in our community. Since I went to school to become a teacher, I felt that a reading volunteer would be a great match. After a few readings, I was also bringing my co workers to join me. When I walked into NBFA it was a different vibe from other schools. I've previously led Junior Achievement seminars in different public schools, but NBFA was different. When I was asked to be a board member, I didn't think twice. The board is very proactive with the school, and they all dedicate their time with other activities (volunteering themselves to classrooms). In my time with NBFA, I've enjoyed working the staff and administration.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at NBFA for the past eight years and have personally witnessed students being honored and respected as whole human beings so they can succeed academically. Spending time there has been an inspiration.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An amazing school that focuses on the whole-child.