New Beginnings Family Academy Inc

Working Together for Brighter Futures

aka NBFA   |   Bridgeport, CT   |  www.nbfacademy.org

Mission

New Beginnings Family Academy provides 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. Our vision is for every student to develop the essential social, emotional, and academic skills necessary to reject negative environmental influences, successfully participate in and complete post-secondary education (college, military, trade school), and have favorable long-term outcomes.

Ruling year info

2002

District Director/Chief Executive Officer

Ronelle Swagerty

Main address

184 Garden St.

Bridgeport, CT 06605 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

06-1578214

NTEE code info

Charter Schools (B29)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

New Beginnings Family Academy (NBFA) was established in 2002 with the purpose of providing a free, high-quality public education to students in Bridgeport and the surrounding area. NBFA is committed to equity in education and helping to close the achievement gap in Connecticut – the difference in academic achievement between students from families of low income and those from families of affluence. Connecticut currently has the widest achievement gap in the nation between the rich and poor, particularly in Fairfield County. NBFA educates 499 students in grades Pre-K – 8, 98% of whom are residents of Bridgeport, with 100% qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. Bridgeport is one of the poorest cities in the state, and NBFA’s students face significant challenges to their well-being and life success, including a child poverty level more than twice the statewide rate.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Progressive Public Education with Emotionally Responsive Practice, Pre-K – 8

As a progressive public charter school located in Bridgeport, CT, New Beginning Family Academy (NBFA) educates 499 students in grades Pre-K – 8. Established in 2002, NBFA’s mission 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.

Connecticut currently has the widest achievement gap in the nation between the rich and poor, particularly in Fairfield County. The school’s primary focus has been to help close this gap. Students enter NBFA daily grappling with adult-size stressors such as food insecurity, parent incarceration, and impending eviction – trauma that impedes our students’ learning.

NBFA aims to engage all students in grades Pre-K – 8 in active, hands-on, experiential learning daily throughout the school year. Experience-based learning ranges from dramatic play for Pre-K students, to scientific investigation and hands-on math projects for older students. This is an active pedagogy that promotes deeper integration of the concepts presented, which will engage the entire student population. NBFA students’ school day includes Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) disciplines integrated throughout the curriculum at all grade levels, interdisciplinary instruction (e.g., social studies and art), and a focus on local and virtual field trips.

In the 2016-17 school year, the Board of Directors chose to move from a punitive-based model to a trauma-informed model. NBFA has worked with Bank Street College of Education, leaders in progressive education and Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP), to provide professional development for the school’s teachers and staff. This student-centered approach is steeped in child development and project-based learning.

The goals are to: a) facilitate learning in a way that is affirming and respectful of the diverse needs and styles of each student; b) make learning come alive and be more relevant to students; and c) weave trauma-informed, preventive mental health strategies into all classrooms to enable poverty-impacted students to learn optimally.

NBFA changed its model in order to not be a contributor to the ‘school to prison pipeline.’ Statistics prove that many youth follow this path when they are consistently suspended, particularly those from poverty-stricken cities like Bridgeport. Studies show that type of punishment does not change behaviors in children. With our innovative approach, we are setting our students on a path for long-term success both inside and outside the classroom. NBFA’s distinctive track record of success includes engaged students, on-time grade promotion, competitive high school placement, and low suspension rate.

As the state’s only emotionally responsive progressive public charter school, NBFA’s model is cutting edge in Connecticut. NBFA distinguishes itself from a pool of 21 charters and many other traditional district schools by embedding trauma-informed practice in its approach as a means to skills mastery rather than viewing social-emotional programming as an ancillary offering. Most of NBFA’s classrooms are staffed with both a teacher and an Instructional Assistant. NBFA employs two social workers and two Restorative Justice coordinators. Academic assistance is provided by two literacy interventionists, two math interventionists, and one literacy tutor.

“NBFA’s niche model sets it apart from other urban schools and provides a story about a little charter school whose courageous leaders dared to abandon traditional mindsets, shift gears and delve deeply into the social, emotional and mental health needs of students in order to educate them more effectively. Not without challenges, the journey to become an emotionally responsive, progressive school has shown that a cohesive, collaborative team can overcome setbacks to position NBFA as a desirous, high-quality place of learning for low-income urban public school children from Bridgeport.” Ronelle Swagerty, NBFA District Director/CEO

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Progressive Public Education with Emotionally Responsive Practice, Pre-K – 8

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of student suspensions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Progressive Public Education with Emotionally Responsive Practice, Pre-K – 8

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NBFA maintains a suspension rate of less than 1.5%.

Number of students per teacher during the reporting period

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Progressive Public Education with Emotionally Responsive Practice, Pre-K – 8

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NBFA has small class sizes of no more than 20 students per class for Pre-K to Grade 8.

Number of students at or above a 90% attendance rate

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth

Related Program

Progressive Public Education with Emotionally Responsive Practice, Pre-K – 8

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

NBFA's goal is to maintain an average attendance rate of 93%.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The only public charter school in the state with a Pre-K program and a progressive educational model with emotionally responsive practice, NBFA is proud of its mission: 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’s vision is to bring about enduring change in the lives of its students by helping to close the achievement gap – the difference in academic achievement between students of low-income families and their more affluent peers and prepare students for success in high school, college and beyond.

NBFA’s progressive educational model includes interdisciplinary, project-based, student-centric environments filled with hands-on activities that engage students in creative, investigative, active learning. Through emotionally responsive practice, the emotional, social and cognitive needs of each child are addressed holistically through use of curriculum and through skillful relationship building. NBFA students’ school day includes Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) disciplines integrated throughout the curriculum at all grade levels, interdisciplinary instruction (e.g., social studies and art), a focus on local field trips, and math and reading intervention for those students in danger of falling behind in achievement.

Leveling the playing field for students of low economic means involves providing the supports necessary for their success. NBFA is committed to helping to close the achievement gap and offers its students a progressive approach to education. As part of the school’s progressive educational model, professional development in emotionally responsive practice by experts from the Bank Street College of Education enables staff to get to the heart of the anxieties and emotions that interfere with student learning, helps students be more comfortable and enables them to learn.

With character-building instruction woven into the curriculum, NBFA offers its students a distinctive track record of success including on-time grade promotion, competitive high school placement, low suspension rate, and robust parent engagement. NBFA is proud of its efforts, particularly in the following areas crucial to student success:

• NBFA is the only charter school in Bridgeport that offers a Pre-K program.
• 100% of NBFA’s students achieved on-time promotion in the 2019-2020 school year.
• Suspension rate for 2019-2020 was maintained at less than 1.5%.
• 75% of NBFA’s 2020 graduating class of 8th graders were accepted at competitive admissions high schools.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

New Beginnings Family Academy Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

New Beginnings Family Academy Inc

Board of directors
as of 1/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Donald Foley

Finance Executive

Term: 2016 -


Board co-chair

David Schlakman

Development Consultant

Term: 2012 -

LaShea Hall

Parent

Craig Johnson

Environmental Lawyer

Judith Keklik

Reading Specialist

Kevin Knight

Marketing Professional

Mylena Teixeira

Banker

Ronelle Swagerty

CEO, Ex Officio

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/20/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.