President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D, deans, directors, faculty and staff of Naugatuck Valley Community College hosted the annual educational update for more than 30 administrators, faculty and staff of the high schools of the 22-town region served by NVCC. In the new Community Room at the Center for Health Sciences in Founders Hall, on the Waterbury campus, Dean of Academic Affairs, Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D. opened the program with a warm welcome and summary of the College’s success highlights including NVCC’s selection by the Aspen Institute as a top 150, then top 50 community college in the nation, the distinction of the College’s library as recognized by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).
Deputy Superintendent Robert Henry delivered greetings from Waterbury Public Schools. “Education is everybody’s business. Today is a demonstration of that.” He offered “Kudos” to President De Filippis for dreaming big, “when she dreams, the world benefits.” He cited the programs by which the College prepares students for College and the workforce.
Megan Boyd, Professor of Dance, joined by 3 students of the NVCC Dance program shared their experiences teaching dance in the community at high schools. The Dance Program at NVCC has taken on an initiative of community collaboration which has resulted in a continuous dialogue for all ages from senior centers, to high schools to residential homes. For 2017-18, the dance program worked with Kingsbury Elementary School, Regional Center for the Arts, and the Waterbury Arts Magnet School. Three students of the dance program, Fallon Dignan, Brooke Cyr, Gilia Jose shared their enthusiasm with the take-away that they had inspired youth in our community about dance as a major, a lifestyle, a job. “It’s priceless.” They closed their remarks with the anticipated arrival of NVCC’s 4th Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Aguibou Bougobali Sanou, a scholar in dance from Burkina Faso, West Africa. Mr. Sanou will share workshops with both NVCC and WAMS to explore personal histories and local heritages. He will also include his traditions and dances from Burkina Faso, West Africa.
David Celotto, Bridge to College Division Director and Robert Sheftel, Director, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) presented updates on the ACE and Bridge to College programs and their impact on retention, GPA, and graduation, “students who come to the ACE regularly earn a full letter grade higher,” noted Sheftel.
GEAR UP is in its 6th of 7 years at NVCC. “We are really excited to see where our students are going,” announced Celotto. Yovany Cruz, NVCC Upward Bound Coordinator at Crosby High School described the pilot program at the high school where she leads an academic support center. Crosby has accepted this pilot into the fabric of their culture. “Everybody knows it’s different in this space.” Celotto then opened the discussion up to the group by asking the audience for feedback. “How do we make this bigger? The next steps are for us to bring this program to your school.”
Jade Gopie, Principal of Crosby High School encouraged other high school leaders to visit Crosby and see first-hand the details, protocols, and the space where this program lives. The furniture and the atmosphere are different.
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis delivered the closing remarks with animated enthusiasm. She recognized Waterbury Board of Education Chair, Liz Brown and thanked the faculty and staff of NVCC for their work to create a “sense of family at NVCC and in the community.”