Children's Community School (CCS) Waterbury, CT

*Names and photos are false, unless otherwise indicated, to protect the identities of these students. The stories are real. 


Old Tools Used in a New Way Bring Amazing Results

The new key to reading engagement is the classroom library.  While the school library still serves as a resource for checking out books to take home and a place to search for non-fiction resources for research projects (yes, they do these as early as second grade -- we have pictures on our Facebook page or this Google photos link), students spend more time with “eyes on the page” when they have an inviting space and large collection of books to choose from.

The development of classroom libraries at CCS is part of a Leever Foundation initiative to upgrade the curriculum and keep it aligned with Common Core Standards.  It started with a book audit of each classroom and the establishment of inviting reading spaces with comfortable seating, rugs, organized book bins.  The original goal was to add to each classroom’s collection by 100 books and we have surpassed that goal by several hundred!  In addition, teachers have benefitted from visits to other schools to see the model in action, professional development on best practices in reading, and modeling and coaching sessions.

Already we have seen noticeable results.  Ms. Caitlin, our second grade teacher has commented (more than once) that her students are much more engaged and excited about their reading this year.  She and other teachers have noted that their students enjoy reading and are also reading a lot more varied genres than in the past.

We thank volunteers from America Reads, Taft School, and Liberty Bank for coding the books for reading level. Special thanks go to our classroom library funders: the Leever Foundation, the Leavenworth Foundation, Congregation of Notre Dame, and private individuals, for making it possible.


A Difference Noticed in Just Weeks

"Jose" had a checkup just last week and the doctor reported something unusual....The doctor noticed t hat Jose had improved noticeably on his verbal skills. Jose started preschool at CCS in September.

The same was true for "Juliana." Her mother enthusiastically told the teacher that she saw a big difference in her 3-year-old in just a few weeks.

The professionals say it's because we have a "literacy rich environment." To understand what that means, you have to know how our teachers speak to these youngsters. Questions are rarely posed that allow for a simple yes or no answer.

Instead, you hear:

Tell me about you are doing.

Why do you think that happened?

You're painting with a lot of green today, can you tell me why?

The CCS pre-K program is recognized by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood as being a program that goes above and beyond. With two teachers per classroom, only one of them is required to meet standard educational and professional development requirements. At CCS, ALL of our teachers meet of exceed the requirements.

Youngster Reaches Out for Help

It's hard to start the year out failing your spelling test when you're so young, so "Johnny" went to his mom for help. (Our students benefit from parental involvement that goes beyond signing the contract with the school. Parents review and sign off on homework and reading assignments each day). Then "Johnny's" teacher started working with him in the mornings, too. His grade went from the lowest to some of the highest in the class. He now is excited to take part in class spelling bees. 

Rohan's Story

Many of our students come to us with academic challenges. They often start with deficits in reading or math, which is not unusual for children from low-income households. Rohan was one of those students. He started the fall two years behind grade level in reading. 

What we offer at CCS is the school equivalent of "intensive care" -- small classrooms, specialists in reading and learning, extra assistance with tutors, daily homework and reading requirements, and constant encouragement. It was just what he needed. According to his Fountas & Pinnell scores ( a reading benchmark assessment tool), Rohan has improved his reading so much that he is now reading at grade level!


Back For Moore

From an article originally published in the Waterbury Republican American.

"Although nearly 15 years and a college degree separates them, Ashley Moore still sees herself in the fifth-grade students she mentors at Children's Community School in Waterbury.

Moore, 24, said she loved her time at the private elementary school for economically disadvantaged youths and always knew she would come back to volunteer. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2013 and started working with CCS students in September of 2014."


Another Alumni Success

I have so many wonderful childhood memories from CCS -- field trips, performances for monthly assemblies, and just being in the classroom. CCS was a second family. My graduating class had been together from kindergarten through fifth grade. This school has provided me with so many amazing experiences and opportunities and I will forever be grateful. One of my fondest memories of CCS was the day we created the mural in the parking lot.  To this day as I drive by I always say, “That’s me the one in the red”.

As I continued my education, I wanted to do well in school just as I did at CCS. I made honor roll every marking period at North End Middle School and Wilby High School. I was placed in honor and AP courses. In high school I was qualified to become a member of the National Honor Society. I graduated from Wilby High School 3rd in my graduating class.

I attended the University of Tampa for my undergraduate degree in Public Health. I am now  pursuing my Master’s in Health Care Administration at the University of New Haven. I really enjoyed how small CCS was, and that feeling stayed with me when I chose the schools for my degrees.     

Keneisha Rasheed, CCS Class of 2004  

(pictured at right with Phoebe Nieves, 2016 Alumni Award winner)



Students in Classroom Library



31 Wolcott Street, Waterbury, Connecticut 06702 (203) 575-0659 FAX: (203) 754-7825