School Board President Mark Hughes presented a Community Support Award to Curtis Hill, executive director of Concepts for Adaptive Learning (CfAL), at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.
The New Haven-based nonprofit provided free computers and training to 49 families in the Meriden Family Zone (MFZ) last fall. The Family Zone is a support network for children and families in a distressed area of downtown Meriden.
CfAL initiated the program and sought guidance from the school board to determine where it would do the most good. In addition to holding computer classes in English and Spanish, CfAL solicited free refurbished computers from Northeast Utilities and worked with Cox Communications to negotiate discounted internet services for the families.
In accepting the award, Hill explained that the initiative came about for two main reasons:
1) To increase parent involvement in the schools. "The more involved the parent is in a student's world, the more successful the child is in school," Hill said.
2) To extend learning beyond the classroom.
Jene Flores, who taught the computer class, said she hopes to repeat it in September with a new group of families.
"They didn't miss a single session," she said of the families she taught. "To see them come home with knowledge and with a computer was an awesome experience."