In the News: Working Together for New Haven’s Young People

by Joel Tolman, Director of Impact & Engagement

Being a small public high school has huge upsides. We know our students well, and can treat them like the individuals they are. We can build a community where all adults and students can row together, and change course quickly when we need to.

But, especially because of our small size, Common Ground would never imagine that we could meet all our students’ needs on our own. We are always looking to our neighbors to help us create the life-changing opportunities for learning and leadership that all New Haven young people deserve. We recognize that we are part of a network of support, striving to make sure that every young person in our community has equitable opportunities and outcomes.

In the last two weeks, three news articles highlighted how much more we can do for our students when we join with other people who care about New Haven’s young people:

From the New Haven Register: With Elm City Communities, changing the odds for young people living in public housing 

… Liz Cox, school director at the Common Ground charter high school, jumped at the opportunity to work with Emily Byrne and Elm City Communities. 

“What they are able to provide to our students goes above and beyond what is happening in this building. They are able to go pretty deep into providing support,” Cox said of the help some students received who were having serious attendance problems.

“We were able, with their collaboration, to move those students to much a better place physically and emotionally,” Cox said.

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From the New Haven Independent: With City Climb Gym, helping young people reach new heights

… Halfway up a 25-foot wall, Ted Brooks felt his hamstring tighten and cramp. He pushed through the pain and pulled himself up the rest of the distance.

Then he rappelled down, massaged out the kink and immediately started back up again.

He and three other Common Ground High School students met up for their regular Monday night indoor rock climbing practice session at City Climb Gym just off of Winchester Avenue. One of the day’s challenges: “double doubles” and “triple triples.'”

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From the Yale Daily News: With the Urban Resources Initiative and the City of New Haven, creating opportunities for environmental stewardship and research 

… Those working on the project include Common Ground High School students — who will assist with research and plant flowers around the bioswales — as well as participants of Emerge, a New Haven-based transitional work program.

“I think that this is a great learning opportunity for the men from Emerge, students, researchers and Common Ground,” said Colleen Murphy-Dunning, Director of the Urban Resources Initiative. “It’s a chance for us to all partner together and learn something.”

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Common Ground isn’t the star in any of these articles, or the projects that they describe — and we are just fine with that! We don’t need to be front and center; we just want to make sure all our city’s students are on pathways to leadership and college success.

If you want to help us build a New Haven where all young people can thrive, let us know. We’re always looking for ways to strengthen the web of support that our community’s students need and deserve.


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