College Community Connections, Worcester Public Schools, and WCCA TV

(Without your help, this Summer Could be the Last Summer of the College Community Connections program where WCCA TV partners with Worcester Public Schools.  This concern is due to funding cuts to the program through Worcester Public Schools.  Please consider contributing to this program so that it will be available for youth next year and in the future.  We would like to keep this great program going for the youth of Worcester and the Worcester community.)   

For Several Years we have worked with Worcester Public Schools (WPS) to help youth who are English Language Learners (ELL) improve their English and academic skills while preparing for the testing requirements of Massachusetts.  Furthermore, they learn new media communications and technology skills. This program has resulted in youth who participate preforming better on their MCAS tests than youth with similar backgrounds  (most of these youth are immigrants or refugees).     

Each Summer, what the youth learn the first half of the day is reinforced in their projects and learning in the second half of the day.  It is a proven model for learning for ELL youth not only at WPS but at other locations as studies have shown.  For example, in a study published in 2014, youth in a middle school English as a Second Language classroom (in the Southwest) showed that collaboration of youth on student-generated video projects resulted in significant language skills development “by promoting negotiation of meaning.” The researchers concluded that “products of student thinking should mimic tools used by real-world experts,”  and that adolescent youth “motivation to engage with academic content is increased when creative freedom is present.” (Green, Lucy Santos, Inan, Fethi A., and Maushak, Nancy J., A Case Study: The Role of Student-Generated Vidcasts in K-12 Language Learner Academic Language and Content Acquisition, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 46 no. 3 pp 297-324 (2014).  

This summer program is called College Community Connections (CCC) in which the youth work with a WPS teacher during the first half of the day, on academics, and then work with our youth instructor the second half of the day where they create video and television productions and learn how to use the video/television equipment as well as plan video productions.  

One year, the youth read about the Worcester Cold Storage & Warehouse Co. Fire that occurred in 1999 where six Worcester firefighters lost their lives.  The youth read about the fire during the first half of the program and then interviewed fire fighters as well as the Mayor of Worcester about the fire and provided video and television coverage of these interviews.

Another year, they learned about the 1953 Worcester Tornado by reading a book about the tragedy and doing research followed up by creating a video for television about it.

Essentially, this program empowers youth facing language and culture barriers by helping give them greater opportunity to develop their language and communications technology skills.  To often, we take for granted the opportunities those of us born in the U.S. have been privileged with.  The youth in the above program, however, are often youth who have escaped terrible circumstances abroad while they, and their families, seek a better life and opportunities in the U.S. Please help WCCA TV and Worcester Public Schools maintain this program in the future.  

The following video is a video of youth in last summers program where young “super heroes” come to the rescue of their peers who are facing motivational and study challenges.  It’s a fun little video with flying super heroes who have super powers.