New Beginnings Family Academy

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The mission of New Beginnings Family Academy (NBFA) is to provide students a meaningful, high-quality education through experience-based learning that helps develop essential social, emotional, and critical-thinking skills. This gives all children a foundation to achieve their full potential at every stage of life.

NBFA Students & Community
Founded in 2002, NBFA opened as Bridgeport’s first public charter school. Today, it includes an elementary and middle school that collectively serve 500 students, grades Pre-K through 8th. Bridgeport is one of the poorest cities in Connecticut. As such, 98% of NBFA’s student body live in poverty. Many NBFA students grapple daily with poverty-related adult-size stressors including food insecurity, parent incarceration and impending eviction.

Learning at NBFA
NBFA staff and students have benefited from years of professional development by child psychologists from the department of Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College of Education in New York. NBFA teachers address students’ challenges, build trust, and help them overcome fears/anxieties, freeing them to learn, and setting the stage for academic excellence. NBFA’s primary academic focus is literacy because reading is the gateway to all learning. Programming also includes integration of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) principles, research-based interventions, and frequent field trips for experiential learning outside the classroom.

NBFA’s Model
NBFA’s model embeds trauma-informed practices to address students’ needs. Through Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP), the emotional, social and cognitive needs of each child are addressed holistically through skillful relationship building and the use of culturally relevant curriculum, thereby reducing children’s anxieties and freeing them to learn. NBFA teachers and leaders know that their students’ ability to learn is impacted when they are stressed. And while we are not a therapeutic school, our teachers are trained and knowledgeable in child development. NBFA’s student-centered model features smaller average class sizes (no more than 20 students) and two adults to foster meaningful attachments with children. This approach sets NBFA apart from other schools in Bridgeport and the region and gives families choice for their children’s educational experience.

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