THE BEST 24 YEARS
A Celebration of Teamwork: Some Highlights
- During BEST's inaugural year, pilot programs were sponsored by 1/2 dozen businesses; today, BEST is proud to list some 175 area businesses and organizations on its Business Honor Roll.
- Over $400,000 has been donated by area businesses and organizations to sponsor a variety of important and innovative programs ranging from a multitude of projects through its Mini-Grant Program alone to many others such as Project Trampoline (Stratford's After-School Tutoring Program), The Young Astronaut Program, Challenger Center Visits and Project Oasis, to name a few--exclusive of many donations of equipment and materials as well.
- A unique program entitled "Youth at its BEST" annually recognizes and rewards students for remarkable and continuing volunteerism in the community. To date, 63 exceptional examples of these "young heroes" have been chosen to receive this prestigious award.
- Stratford's After-School Tutoring Program, which hads traditionally received major continuous business support, assisted 900 young people, during that time, to meet their Connecticut Mastery Test goals, with a 99.67% success rate.
- BEST's Mini-Grant Series has provided an opportunity for Stratford's teachers to expand upon their creativity and enhance the educational experience for well over 50,000 of their students through sponsorship of special innovative and outstanding projects which otherwise would not have been funded.
- The Mentoring Program launched 480 Mentor/Mentee relationships, providing emotional, social & academic support.
- BEST's e-Pals Program began in 2007 with mentors from 2 area companies and 19 students, further augmenting Mentoring.
- Stratford's business community has "adopted" the entire Stratford Public School System consisting of 2 High Schools, 2 Middle Schools and 8 Elementary Schools.
- Local businesses provided support for 4,500 Fifth Graders to visit the Challenger Center at The Discovery Museum and experience firsthand the fascination of the space program.
- 200 Students became "Young Astronauts" through a local company's sponsorship of a member chapter of the Young Astronaut Program in the Stratford Public School System, receiving original, high-quality, space-related, curricular materials & hands-on activities, designed to promote the study of science, mathematics and related subjects.
- Area companies have sponsored Job Shadowing & Training, Internships, On-Site Visits and Tours, Career Days, and Professional Development Opportunities--participated in a Speakers Bureau--contributed to a Video Library--served on a School-to-Career Advisory Council--presented Scholarships--provided employment opportunities through the Phase II Job Program--and supported and participated in a diverse variety of additional programs and activities designed to enrich the educational process.
- The 1997 Magna Awards, which recognize outstanding programs in school governance by The American School Board Journal, bestowed upon BEST the distinction of “a cooperative program worthy of national recognition.”
- The BEST Committee received a letter of commendation from the President of the United States, which was read at its annual reception in June of 1997.
- One of the outstanding projects awarded through BEST's Mini Grant Program received national recognition in 2001, when it was also honored by USA WEEKEND Magazine, in partnership with The Points of Light Foundation, in the 10th Annual "Make A Difference Day" Awards. It was one of only 2 such projects selected in the State of CT.
- The Associated General Contractors of Connecticut, Inc. dedicated a $10,000 two-year construction industry scholarship to a graduating high school senior from Stratford through the BEST Committee, beginning in 1999. 3 such scholarships were offered for a total of $30,000.
- In 1997, with Stratford's BEST as its theme, the first-ever entry of a float for the Town of Stratford in the Barnum Festival Parade garnered the prestigious Grand Marshal's Award. It came about through a community team effort with educators, students and business people joining forces.
- In 2006, the BEST Committee established the "BEST Unsung Heroes Award" to recognize those educators and school staff who have shown a consistent pattern of commitment and service to the school community.
- The BEST Committee annually presents the "BEST Friends Awards," which recognize outstanding leaders in the business and educational communities who exemplify the cooperation that BEST is all about and representative of the teamwork that makes it possible for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.
A commitment to Quality Education by the Stratford Chamber of Commerce and the Stratford Public Schools