Fourth grade goes to college
Fourth grade goes to college
Posted on 01/17/2014
This is the image for the news article titled Fourth grade goes to collegeWEST HAVEN, Jan. 13, 2014 — Fourth-graders from the city’s six elementary schools got the college-student treatment last Wednesday, visiting the University of New Haven for some lessons in math, science and writing and a little fun at the basketball court.

The program, dubbed Class at the Court, was held for the second year in a row in partnership with the University of New Haven in an effort to expose students to the idea of college at a young age.

Professors developed and presented lessons relating to the elementary schools’ curriculums. UNH student-athletes assisted and led the nearly 500 young Westies around campus, giving the kids an idea of what it’s like to be a college student. The student-athletes are familiar with West Haven students, as they visit city schools throughout the year to read to classes, mentor students and talk about college.

“It’s been very beneficial,” Washington Elementary Principal Steven Lopes, who coordinates the trip with UNH leaders, said in between Class at the Court sessions. “The kids are loving it, and the teachers are loving it, too.”

Groups of fourth-graders rotated between different locations on campus throughout the day, ending the visit with lunch in a UNH cafeteria and an opportunity to watch the first half of the women’s basketball game.

A visit to the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science building included a presentation on DNA and bones, while a stop at the TV studio featured a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce a show. In another classroom, youngsters learned how to write a newspaper article, as they were later instructed to pen a write-up on the basketball game they watched after lunch.

New to this year’s visit was a Q&A with two college students about what it’s like to go to a university. Fourth-graders asked how long college lasts, if the two students live in dorms, how many days a week they have classes, and the number of language classes offered. One even asked if she could sign up at UNH for a course in Arabic.

But the kids’ excitement really showed when they got to the campus recreation center basketball court for a math activity that involved students calculating fractions based on UNH student-athletes’ free throws. Youngsters also got a chance to shoot some hoops.

“My favorite part at UNH was when we got to shoot free throws at the basketball court,” said Savin Rock Community School student Raven Bennett.

Savin Rock teacher Bethany Sottosanti said showing how sports and academics come together can motivate students, as can bringing them to a college campus.

“It’s definitely important for them to get a college education. By coming to campus, seeing the classrooms, and meeting the players, they can get an idea of what college life is really about,” Sottosanti said.

James McCoy, vice president for enrollment management, said fourth grade is an ideal time to learn about college and what it takes to get there. He added that UNH believes it should reach out to youngsters to educate them about college opportunities.

“For young people when they’re in fourth and fifth grade, sixth grade, they’re still very excited about education,” McCoy said. “We need to talk to them about going to college as early as possible so they can set their goals high. This isn’t a recruiting tool with UNH, but for college in general.”

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114