Since its pilot phase in 2007, the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Connections program has partnered with public middle and high schools to provide students access to original historical documents in the library's collection. After supporting the program in its initial stages, the New York Life Foundation has just awarded it a two-year, $200,000 grant. With additional support from the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, the Tiger Baron Foundation, and Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, Brooklyn Connections will expand its partnership with Brooklyn public schools.
Brooklyn Connections brings 6th-12th grade classes to the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection to work on local history research projects while providing access to original materials and the expertise of trained educators.
Schools, teachers, and parents interested in the opportunity this program offers should know that the Brooklyn Connections curriculum complements New York State standards and core learning standards for Social Studies and English Language Arts.
In order to create appropriate research projects for their students, partner classroom teachers receive unlimited planning support from Brooklyn Connections staff, a tailor-made history project outline, and lesson plans and classroom materials especially designed for each classroom.
Program staff also provide classroom instruction on research skills, and students and teachers receive a tour of the Brooklyn Collection and access to digital resources from its web site. Student work will be displayed each summer in an exhibit at the Central Library, Grand Army Plaza.
With the new grant and additional support from other New York City-based foundations, Brooklyn Connections will increase staff to serve more schools; work with its first high school partner classrooms; provide partner school libraries with history books and materials to further support the research activities of students; provide teacher professional development in research skills; and provide an easily accessible web site to partner classrooms and other students and teachers in New York City and beyond.
Interested? The 2011-12 Brooklyn Connections application is available online. All Brooklyn public middle and high schools are eligible for this free program. While most partnerships begin in the fall, applications are accepted throughout the year. To learn more about this promising program and find additional contact information, read the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Brooklyn Connections web site.
Foundation Center-New York