Get to Know Stamford Academy

Stamford Academy, a Teach For America placement partner, was opened in 2004 for students in grades 9-12 who who had largely been written off by the community as unwilling or unable to succeed. Many struggled in traditional school environments or dropped out of their previous school. At Stamford Academy, these young people have been proving their naysayers wrong.

Stamford Academy offers an intensive academic program that allows students to catch up on instruction they’ve missed so they are prepared for post-secondary education, training, or the skilled workforce upon graduation. Students come to the school performing, on average, four and five grades below level, and some are reading as many as eight grades below level. But given the right supportive educational environment, these students are able to focus on their studies and believe in their abilities.

Stamford Academy has seen increasing success in the post-secondary acceptance rates of its graduating seniors. During the 2008-2009 school year, 23% of seniors at Stamford Academy graduated with post-secondary acceptance, whether to college, technical school, or community college. That figure rose to 58% for the 2009-2010 school year, and again rose significantly to 92% for the class of 2011. The life trajectories of students attending Stamford Academy have radically and positively changed course in just three years.

Region Timeline

  • In Horton v. Meskil, the State Supreme Court rules that the right to education is basic and fundamental and guaranteed by Connecticut’s constitution, and that there must be an equal opportunity to receive a suitable educational experience.

  • State legislation establishes the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMTs) making it one of the first states to enact a testing program intended to measure whether students were meeting higher academic standards.

  • In Sheff v. O’Neil, the State Supreme Court rules that the racial and socioeconomic isolation of Hartford school children violates state law. However, the Court does not specify a goal, remedy, or timetable to resolve the problem, stating that this responsibility belongs to the legislative and executive branches.

  • Charter School S.B. 59 law passes, authorizing the creation of 16 charter schools. However, it has so many restrictions, both regulatory and funding, it makes Connecticut inhospitable for most operators of charter schools.

  • Jumoke Academy opens as the first charter school for inner city children in Hartford. It will be several years before it becomes a high performing, high poverty school.

  • Charter school Amistad Academy opens in New Haven. Amistad Academy is the flagship school for what later becomes the Achievement First Network which currently has twenty charter schools, nine in Connecticut and eleven in New York City.

  • Philanthropic education reform advocates, frustrated by legislative inaction, create Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) to serve as a think tank and build a movement of concerned citizens advocating to fundamentally reform Connecticut’s public schools through smart public policies.

  • State legislature passes Governor Malloy’s bill, S.B. 24. For the Year of Education Reform,  “An Act Concerning Education Competitiveness," offers a comprehensive set of reforms that will help set Connecticut on the path to guaranteeing great schools for all kids.    


Although I grew up in an underserved community, I had several factors in my favor that allowed me to reach my goals. I often wonder what happens to good students who don't have these added benefits. We tell children that they can achieve anything if they just put in the work. Currently, in many low-income communities, a child can do everything that is asked of them and still leave high school unprepared for college or the work force.
Aisha Bobb-Semple
Connecticut Corps 2009


04/28/2013 - 11:27am
“I always enjoy the opportunity to speak with Bridgeport’s next generation, and hope that my visit in some way encourages them to work hard and pursue the lives they want.”
04/22/2013 - 8:45pm
"This treasurer of the Connecticut Science Teachers Association and the Connecticut Science Supervisors Association has helped her Middletown students participate in Project O and Bioblitz."
04/16/2013 - 9:48am
"As details are worked out in federal legislation similar to the DREAM Act, we must stand behind the principles that would provide a realistic path to higher education and ultimately benefit society as a whole."

Pass The Chalk: The TFA Blog

Insight into how our teachers are working with communities.