Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $100,000)
The Congressionally Recommended Awards Program, authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), helps improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, prevent or combat juvenile delinquency, and/or assist victims of crime (other than compensation). Funds should be used for the projects recommended by Congress, in the amounts specified in the joint explanatory statement incorporated by reference into Pub. L. 111-117, and generally consistent with one or more of the following statutory purposes: improving the functioning of the criminal justice system, preventing or combating juvenile delinquency, or assisting victims of crime (other than compensation). Each of these purposes is framed using language drawn, respectively, from the former Byrne discretionary statute, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the Victims of Crime Act, and the Violence Against Women Act. This project is authorized and funded through a line item in the FY 2010 Congressional Budget and by the joint explanatory statement that is incorporated by reference into the FY2010 Department of Justice Appropriations Act.
Western Connecticut State University will use grant funds to expand its "Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success" project into middle schools in the Danbury and Bethel public school districts. This project encourages more at-risk students to attend college and to better prepare them for college-level work in mathematics, the sciences, and writing. The goal of this expansion is to reach at-risk students earlier in their academic careers and help steer them toward, and prepare them for the challenging academic courses in these three core subjects (math, science, and writing) that lead to college-preparedness. In doing so, the project will provide positive alternatives to gangs, illegal drugs, and criminal behavior. As part of this expansion, about 300 at-risk middle school students (about 150 each from Bethel Middle School and the Exploration Academy at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury) will participate in a three-phase program designed to increase proficiency and engagement in the core subject areas through: 1) working with top WCSU students serving as tutors at the schools; 2) attending academic enrichment activities in math, science, and writing on campus during the school year; and 3) taking part in Camp College in the summer as a launching point for the upcoming academic year. Working with partner school districts, the project will track performance measures to evaluate the success of the Bridge expansion project by collecting data on student performance on Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMTs), student grades in core subjects, student choice of courses in next academic year in terms of difficulty/level, performance in first year of high school, and attendance and disciplinary problems as measures of student engagement with academics.