Kiwanis Club of Norwalk CT Donates $750 to Brave Enough To Fail

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Brave Enough To Fail Executive Director Wayne Winsley (center) with members of Kiwanis Key Club members from Norwalk high School.

 

The Kiwanis Club of Norwalk has donated $750 to Brave Enough To Fail.

The donation, in support of the club’s effort to bring the student motivational program to Norwalk High School and Brien McMahon High School, was made during a BETF presentation by Executive Director Wayne Winsley to members of the Kiwanis Key Club of Norwalk High at the Norwalk Inn & Conference Center on Wednesday evening.

Kiwanis District 20 Lt. Governor Paula Conte said.

“Brave Enough To Fail is a phenomenal program that is giving young people the spark they need to be more successful in school and in life.

We are proud to support this organization and excited to work together in service to our students.”

Wayne Winsley, executive director of Brave Enough To Fail says,

“I’m so honored and humbled to have such tremendous support from such a great organization as Kiwanis of Norwalk. This partnership will strengthen our ability to raise student achievement and promote leadership through service.”

Brave Enough To Fail has partnered with Kiwanis Key Clubs to provide in-school assembly style motivational presentations and scholarships at several high schools in Connecticut.

For more information go to www.BraveEnoughToFail.org

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Helping Students Close The Achievement Gap

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The Battle over how Connecticut pays for public education has been going on for years and it continues with no end in sight.

In 2016, a superior court judge ruled that the state’s funding formula was “irrational” and unconstitutional, and failed to adequately fund urban and poor school districts.

In 2018 that ruling has been overturned by the state Supreme Court. The ball has now been punted back to the politicians and advocates for them to quickly and efficiently come up with a solution to the largest achievement gap in the nation between students in the richest districts in the state and the poorest districts.

We all know that the “fix” won’t be quick and efficient and any solution at all is still years away. Which brings up some uncomfortable questions.

What about the students who are struggling in our schools right now?

How can we help all of those thousands of children who are currently in our schools and on the losing side of the educational achievement gap?

Is there anything we can do immediately to positively impact even some of these students and increase their chances of not only graduating, but of achieving positive, productive, and even profitable life outcomes?

The answer is yes.

While the grownups are trying to figure out what to do, we can empower our children with motivation and some financial help to take charge of their own destiny, seize whatever opportunities are around them and pursue their dreams.

Brave Enough To Fail Inc. is helping students begin to close the achievement gap by inspiring students with the courage to pursue their dreams and to to see their own education as a way to get what they want out of life.

Brave Enough To Fail Inc, is a 501 ( C ) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational presentations and scholarships to schools.

We believe that by offering students a compelling reason to fully invest themselves in their own education and by providing a tangible and achievable goal, we can and will raise student achievement.

Does Brave Enough To Fail institute effective education policy? Does it ensure more highly trained and qualified teachers in the classroom? Does it remove the family and social challenges that many kids face? No, no, and no.

Brave Enough To Fail does however, provide a lifeline of support for “a number” of students in the total absence of additional help from anywhere else.

It can inspire “a number” of students to achieve better life outcomes by choosing to remain in school rather than drop out.

It can, over time, inspire and motivate “a number” of students to achieve their absolute best in school, no matter where that school happens to be.

We believe that “number” of our children is worth saving. No matter how large or how small that number is.

Local businesses are getting involved

Happily, there is a growing list of courageous companies who are Brave Enough To Fund (smile) this investment in the future of our children.  They believe our program is making a difference, and can see how it will help the future of our workforce – the future of our nation.

Preferred Utilities   has stepped forward to sponsor scholarships

Kiwanis Foundation of Greater Danbury has partnered with us to provide presentations and scholarships to as many as seven area high schools

Union Savings Bank has boldly contributed funding to provide a presentation and full set of scholarships to an area high school. 

These companies and others like them are taking action to help students close the achievement gap in their own lives by providing them with a message of motivation backed by resources.  They are sending a message to the children, “Your dreams are important enough to be invested in and pursued.”

By the way, it works.

I myself am living proof that the power of positive message can change the trajectory of a child’s life. At age 14 I made the choice to go back to school after hearing a message about striving for excellence. That choice saved my life. And I am not the only one.

When speaking about the question of whether kids are able to overcome circumstances like poverty and achieve at the highest levels, Jennifer Alexander, outgoing chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now says,

The fact that there is even a discussion in here suggesting that schools can’t be expected to overcome societal ills is unacceptable in 2018.”… “We know what’s possible when kids are given the opportunity and the support. We just have to have the political will to do it for all kids.”

We agree, and we hope you will too.

Wayne Winsley Founder and Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

 

 

Maddie Guerrera Gets The Bronze In Nationwide Short Story Contest

Madison Guerrera

 

Madison “Maddie” Guerrera is a freshman at Faith Preparatory School in New Milford, CT.  She enjoys writing, musical theater, 1930’s cartoons and photography.  She has performed in many different musicals and plays at the local theaters and hopes to one day become and actress on Broadway and a playwright.  Her natural curiosity and strong desire to overcome new challenges give Maddie her inspiration when writing.

Madison submitted a fictional autobiographical tale set in the pre-Civil War South. Her “Diary Of Susie Valentine” navigates one of the darkest moments of America’s existence with the kind of faith and imagination found only in the heart of a child, and in the pen of a budding novelist. Which is why she placed third the 17 years old and under category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. Learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

Read Diary_of_Susie_Valentine

White Students 57 Hispanic Students 26

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Another year, another big achievement gap in our state.

The Connecticut Mirror reports that for Connecticut – where one of every 10 public school students speaks Spanish as his or her primary language – academic achievement gaps between Hispanic students and their white classmates are among the largest in the nation.

26 percent of Hispanic students and 57 percent of white students were at or above proficiency in 4th-grade reading. That’s a 31-point gap. (Link to source article is below)

While the report is focused on the struggle of English learners, it serves as yet another reminder of the adversities and hurdles facing so many of our children in the schools systems today.

It also underscores the vital need for our students to use every tool available to help them achieve in an environment of scant resources and shrinking budgets.

One very important tool is the motivation and persistence needed to overcome adversity and achieve even in an environment and circumstance that is far from perfect.

And let’s be honest, for many students, helping themselves is all the help they are going to get for the foreseeable future.

Increased student motivation, and engagement are required ingredients for any recipe for success in narrowing the student achievement gaps.

There is one organization whose main goal is helping students to help themselves.

Brave Enough to Fail Inc. is a Connecticut based nonprofit formed in late 2015, that provides motivational programs and scholarships to high schools with a special focus on those schools that are most in-need.

The mission is to raise student achievement by inspiring kids with the courage to achieve their dreams and to help students see their education as a way to get what they want from life.

About the author

Wayne Winsley is founder and Executive Director of Brave Enough to Fail Inc. which provides motivational programs and scholarships to schools. The mission is raising student achievement by inspiring kids to achieve their dreams. www.BraveEnoughToFail.org

Source article for this post is here 

 

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Education Reform Won’t Help YOUR Child 

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If your child is struggling freshman in one of the many less affluent, high schools across Connecticut where overall achievement and test scores lag behind those in more well-to-do school districts, there is no help on the horizon.

Any solutions are still years away. By the time those solutions arrive, many of today’s freshman will have either graduated lacking the skills to compete in college and career, or dropped out to be caught the social service or justice systems.

The recent ruling of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher in CCJEF v. Rel concluded that “the state of education in some towns is alarming” and that “egregious gaps exist between rich and poor districts.”

That ruling is being appealed and who knows when that appeal will be won or lost.

After that, our elected officials still have to formulate and pass a plan to fund schools more fairly and in such a way as to get more help to students in low income areas. Then find the money to actually put that plan into action, all during a time when Connecticut is facing a massive budget deficit and school funding is cut rather than increased.

In short, if your high school aged child is currently on the wrong side of the education achievement gap,  good luck. He or she better figure out how to succeed in hard circumstances because there is little or no help coming in the near future.

Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents summed up the situation best when he said,

“The state makes decisions on funding every year, and unless they’re obligated by some court order there’s no proposal anyone can make that over the next few years says, ‘This is what we’re going to spend on education,’”

His comment was made recently during a meeting of leaders from five state education advocacy groups.

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Connecticut Association of Public School SuperintendentsConnecticut Association of Schools, and Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

According to the experts, the best we can hope for is some sort of policy change over the next few years.

What about the thousands of children who are in school right now?

Shouldn’t someone be something to help them?

At the very least, shouldn’t someone be offering these students a way to try and help themselves while the “cavalry” is trying to build a roadmap to find them and to buy horses to reach them?

Fortunately there is at least one organization that is helping students to overcome this adversity and help themselves now.

 

Wayne Winsley is Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail, a nonprofit student motivational program. To interview Mr. Winsley or learn more email wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org or visit http://www.BraveEnoughToFail.org

Read source Article here

 

 

 

 

 

Education Gap and Funding Crisis in CT

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As detailed in the November 14th article by Kevin Schultz of The Hour “In Norwalk, faith leaders call for school funding fix” the state of Connecticut has a major issue. The achievement gap is increasing in our state and educational funds are decreasing in large as Rev Carl McCluster states due to “the cancerous funding formula” in the state.

Brave Enough to Fail (BETF), a Non-profit organization is seeking an immediate solution to this devastating problem. Currently BETF provides schools and students with presentations and scholarships geared toward empowering students to succeed.

To answer the larger call that so many CT leaders have voiced, BETF is forming the Brave Enough To Write (BETW) platform. This platform will provide students with access to a self-publishing platform. The platform will be tied in current English Curriculum. Students will be able to write their own stories, read the stories of their peers and win scholarships in the process to further their enrichment.

Writing promotes confidence. Seeing one’s work published promotes confidence and winning scholarships promotes confidence and helps fund further education. The BETW program is designed to lessen the educational gap and to address some of the current funding issues. When a student wins, the school/organization they are a part of wins.

As Representatives from across the state make a case for a rational funding formula, we can help students NOW.

It is BETF’s hope that the leaders talking about this issue; Lenore Jordan, Lindsay Curtis, Deborah Fludd, Henry Floyd, Bruce Morris, Gail Lavielle, and Bob Duff work with us to create this amazing program.

Author: Matthew A. Connell, EdD., MBA.                                                                                 Advisory Board member, Brave Enough to Fail Inc.

Learn how you can help narrow the achievement gap for our children.

 

Source article for this post: In Norwalk, faith leaders call for school funding fix By Kevin Schultz

Don’t Let CT’s Children Fall into the Gap

BraveEnoughToFail.org

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“Always Strive for excellence, no matter what you do. Excellence will overcome prejudice, poverty, and adversity every time.”

When I heard those words spoken by the father of my best friend, I was a fourteen year old black kid wandering the streets of Cleveland Ohio. I was a repeat eighth grader who hadn’t attended school regularly for a year. Statistically I was too old to be reachable and was on a one-way path to either a prison cell or a cemetery plot.

But that simple message helped motivate me to make better choices and have the courage to follow my dreams.

I managed to get an education, even in the substandard inner city schools that I attended, and become a productive citizen in the country that I love. After serving in the United States Navy, I enjoyed a fantastic 20 year career as a radio newscaster and talk show host, ran for U.S. Congress, and now I am a teacher inspiring and educating my middle school students.

That is how I know that on any given day the right message, from the right person, can change the trajectory of a child’s life.

That is why I am convinced that we can break the cycles of poor achievement and poverty for many of our young people here in Connecticut.

There are more than 206,000 students in Connecticut public schools who are classified as poor, based on their family’s income level.

“Teachers, principals, superintendents, and others connected to some of the state’s lowest-achieving schools took turns testifying during a recent trial about the trauma and poverty their students face – and the shortage of resources they say they have with which to help.”

We are reaching out help some of those students to help themselves.

“In Bridgeport and Hartford, two of the largest school districts in the state, only a quarter of the students are reading at grade level and half are significantly behind.”

Our mission is to help change those numbers for the better.

The Tauck Family Foundation, a private foundation that invests in the development of children from low-income families in Bridgeport, reports that students in low-performing schools are five times more likely to drop out of high school than those in high-performing schools.

One high school in Stamford has nearly 200 repeat freshmen who are high risk to drop out.

  Our goal is to inspire those students not to give up on themselves.                                           We will be a lifeline of motivation and resources that these students can hold onto over the next four years to help pull themselves out and over their circumstances and fulfill their dreams.

We are also launching leadership programs for students as young as 4th and 5th grade.

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Our children can’t wait for the grownups to to get their act together.

The decision of Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell came over 10 years after the case was brought to court in 2005. The appeal could take even longer and after that, the politicians have to fight about exactly how to go about helping the children caught on the wrong side of the achievement gap. How many years will that take?

What about the thousands and thousands of children struggling in our failing schools now?

Far too many of our young people are leaving poor school systems unable to break the cycle of poverty and ending up in prison or in the social services safety net.

You can help change that.

Can our student motivational program save every student? Of course not.

But can it save SOME students by inspiring them with the courage and determination to overcome the odds and succeed even in so-called failing school systems?

The answer is YES!

Is saving the future of even a few of these children worth the effort?  Is it worth doing?

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If your answer is yes,  please give as much as you can right now.                                    

Your donation could literally change the destiny of a child.

Donate

You can Sponsor a school for $5,000, Sponsor a scholarship for $1,000

                             Give $500, $250, $100, $50, $25, $10

Author

Wayne Winsley

Executive Director, Brave Enough to Fail Inc.

Sources:

Ct Mirror When Poverty Permeates the Classroom  by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

@jacquelinerabe

Yale Daily News Behind Connecticut’s “Opportunity Gap” by