Rites of Passage

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

The Stamford Rites of Passage program is an educational enrichment program that serves to close the achievement gap.  It offers students the chance to experience an Afrocentric approach to history. 

The Stamford Rites of Passage program assists students in learning about the significance of African and African-American heritage, to build academic confidence and close the achievement gap. 

Participating students are 11-15 years old.  This program runs once a year and consists of an academic portion coupled with a chance to travel to Africa.

The academic portion of this program consists of 14 Saturday classes (starting in December) held at Stamford High School.  The coursework requires a literature review of African and African-American history. Students learn from instructors, guest speakers, mandatory readings, journal writing, PowerPoint presentations, and upon completion are required to complete a CMT/CAPT style final exam.

The classrooms are designed to ignite student interest in learning, in order to have them succeed academically.  Practicing study techniques benefits their mainstream schoolwork, academic confidence, CMT and CAPT exam scores, thus closing the achievement gap.The students learn slavery was not the beginning for African-Americans, nor is it the defining principal.  Instead, students see it was a limited part of a very long legacy of faith, pride and endurance.  Distinguishing this for young people in Stamford aims to not only close the achievement gap, but clear the past to allow each student to create their own future.

Upon successful completion of the classroom portion, those involved are taken on a life-changing journey to Senegal and the Gambia.  Called fundishwa wasafiri (Swahili for educated travelers), students visit places they have been learning about, thus giving context to their studies.

Young people who go through this program form a healthier attitude to educational attainment and, consequently, are empowered to reach their full potential.