As a Community School Program, A Better Chance of New Canaan offers a somewhat unique setting for our students. The students experience the independence of being away from home along with the supervised study halls and other attributes one would expect from a boarding school experience. At the same time, the home setting replicates the experience of a day school, with family meals and resident directors who daily gauge the spirits and successes of each student, and provide individual attention as needed.
A visible foundation of our program is a comfortable home in New Canaan, CT, within walking distance of town, stores, a movie theater, churches, parks, transportation, and school. Our home accommodates eight students, two resident tutors, the Resident Directors and their family.
A full kitchen is managed by a part-time chef who prepares healthy weekday dinners. Meals are served family-style around a large dining room table with students, resident directors and family, and tutors participating. Dinnertime conversation is lively with talk about the news of the day, school, sports, and college plans. Guests from the community often drop-in to join the conversation.
Our family atmosphere and frequent interaction with others in the community deliver an important by-product. Our students see that respect for one another and spirited interaction can include teens, adults and teachers, no matter their age, backgrounds or skin color.
Students’ rooms upstairs include desks and a study area. Quiet study areas on the first floor are equipped with computers and printers. Resident Directors and tutors supervise evening study periods, and provide academic help and practical advice throughout the school year.
The pillar of our program is a four-year high school experience at New Canaan High School which is among the leading public high schools in the United States. The high school facility has recently undergone a major expansion and modernization program.
New Canaan High School’s mission is to create the conditions which encourage all students to excel. The school strives to ensure that students play an active role in their education, are guided by rigorous academic standards, and function within a community that regards students, educators, and parents as full participants in the educational process. The school is dedicated to the realization of a supportive learning environment that nurtures growth, personal integrity, and mutual respect.
New Canaan High School is led by Principal Bill Egan, with the strong and generous support of the Town of New Canaan and its Board of Education, led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi. It is by the combined generosity of these groups that A Better Chance students are permitted to attend New Canaan High School free of tuition.
Integral to our program is academic guidance, with special attention given to the individual needs of each student. Academic progress and personal development of our A Better Chance students is closely monitored by high school administration, teachers, guidance counselors, and by A Better Chance of New Canaan’s volunteer Board of Directors. Our goal is to ensure that every student’s efforts allow him to exceed the required grade point average and earn a place in a college of his choice.
A Better Chance Host Families are the keystone of our program. Eight New Canaan families open their homes and hearts to our students each year. Students spend most Sundays and one full weekend each month with their host family.
Our program also depends heavily on the generosity of New Canaan’s community organizations, including the Y, numerous churches, youth groups, recreation league sports teams, arts and theater groups, volunteer ambulance corp., and more, who offer financial support, services and fellowship, as well as opportunity for community service.