by Michael Shulansky
Recently, students, parents, educators from across Stamford met with city elected officials to share the incredible work the school is doing for local students.
Attendees included Mayor David Martin, State Representative Daniel Fox, Board of Representatives members Anabel Figueroa, Jay Fountain, Rodney Pratt and John Zelinsky Jr., and Board of Education Member Julia Wade.
At the meeting, the elected officials heard from students and educators from Trailblazers Academy and Stamford Academy. The two schools are run by Domus, a local nonprofit focused on helping the region’s most vulnerable youth experience success.
Elected officials check out Domus Trafigura Work & Learn Business Center, housed at Trailblazers Academy.
According to Mike Duggan, the executive director of Domus, their students are young people “who have struggled, mightily in the traditional public school system, as well as at home and in the community.”
“At our middle school, Trailblazers, the average student is three to six grade levels behind in reading and math, and at our high school is four to seven grades behind,” said Duggan. “To help the community and to help these young people, we’ve got to get them to read, write, add, and speak above, or at least close to grade level so they have a shot to make it.
Principal of Stamford Academy David Williams spoke passionately about his love for working with high-risk students, noting one student in particular. According to Williams, he and student Jamere Brutus spoke multiple times about Jamere leaving school, but after a year at the school Jamere has grown into a leader and made great strides academically.
In fact, said Williams, “when I asked a group of students who would like to speak today, he got up first and said, ‘I'm the man for the job.’ That's the kind of growth we talk about.”
Stamford Academy student Jemere Brutus speaks with Board of Representatives member Rodney Pratt at NECSN’s Manchester legislative breakfast.
Jamere echoed Principal Williams’ story. “After my first year, I noticed my work ethic was strengthening and so was my confidence,” he said. “Mr. Williams and other teachers helped me realize school comes first.”
Curt Barnes, a Domus board member of more than 15 years, praised the schools for supporting the community. “From a person who has seen these schools grow, I’ve seen how much of a difference this has made for parents and students over time.”
“The teachers here care passionately,” said Barnes. “We are all about trying to remove the barriers that exist for these families for whatever reason and help them take that next step.”
NECSN Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace lauded the educators at Stamford Academy and Trailblazers for transforming the lives of so many children.
“Domus is a community cornerstone that has improved the lives of hundreds of Stamford children,” said Grace.
Take a look at a slideshow of more images from the breakfast below.
Want to learn more about Domus? Watch this video below.
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