Fairfield University and Bridgeport Schools began collaborating in 1999 through the Community Partnership Scholars Program, allowing Bassick, Central, Harding, and Kolbe Cathedral High School students to visit campus, attend financial aid seminars and apply for full-tuition scholarships. In 2009, this program expanded to provide full-tuition scholarships to any Bridgeport high school student accepted to Fairfield University whose annual family income fell under $50,000; more than 300 students from Bridgeport schools have benefited from this aspect of this partnership.
Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions has made a particular commitment to Bridgeport schools, engaging them as priority partners for student teaching, internships and service-learning courses. Recently, Fairfield was asked by the Bridgeport Public Schools superintendent to focus its outreach and partnership efforts on Bassick High School (one of the three high schools in Bridgeport serving over 1,100 students) and its eight elementary/middle feeder schools. As part of this partnership, the university developed an innovative dual-enrollment plan for Bridgeport high school seniors and created a multifaceted partnership focused on improving K-3 literacy at Cesar A. Batalla School.
In addition, more than 115 students from Bridgeport schools attended a daylong writing conference hosted by the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP) on Fairfield's campus. CWP@Fairfield also offered over 120 professional development hours to Bassick High School. Later, 20 Bridgeport students were provided full fellowships to attend one of CWP-s three young writers' institutesIt was an awesome night to be celebrated at the Boston Mariott Longwharf hotel and to have the friendship created with Bridgeport schools celebrated and recognized.