New Literacy Fellowship from Anne E. Fowler Foundation

New Literacy Fellowship from Anne E. Fowler Foundation

Only 20 percent of Connecticut children from minority, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds are reading at grade level in the fourth grade. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the state ranks 50th in the nation in closing the achievement gap.

In an effort to address this gap and to promote social equity and increased social mobility, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) is undertaking a new and innovative tuition-free program to better prepare classroom teachers to become master teachers and reading experts.

The University, in partnership with the Anne E. Fowler Foundation, announces the Anne E. Fowler Literacy Fellowship, an initiative to significantly raise literacy levels among low-performing elementary school populations. The fellowships, which will cover tuition and a living stipend, will be awarded annually beginning in fall 2015, and are funded in part by a gift from the North Haven, Conn.-based Fowler Foundation and a grant from The Grossman Family Foundation of Cos Cob, Conn.

“We’ve long known that reading deficits manifest very early in a student’s life,” said Dr. Robert Hannafin, dean of GSEAP. “If not remediated, these deficits prevent students from learning increasingly complex — yet foundational — concepts, thus widening the achievement gap.”

The Anne E. Fowler Literacy Fellows program will offer up to 10 teaching fellowships in 2014-15, recruiting PreK-3 teachers initially from Norwalk, Bridgeport, and other partner districts, who will take a yearlong leave of absence to concentrate on coursework and field practica, leading to an advanced degree in teaching and foundations with a concentration in literacy, language, and culture.

“Fairfield has been chosen to take the lead in this important work because of the very high standards that we have established for teacher training, and our existing commitment to literacy training and teacher mentorship in our neighboring communities,” said University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. “Educating our youth and giving them what they need to reach their full potential is the most effective way to ensure a brighter future for all of us.”

For more information on the program, contact Dr. Anne Campbell at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2873, or visit www.fairfield.edu/literacy.