Activity Overview

Here is a tighter look at the PromiseNet 2014 schedule.
Visit New Haven Guides: Attractions | Dining | Transportation

Wednesday, November 19


pnet-act-conncat2This is a walking tour of the historic campus of Yale University, founded in 1701, and the vibrant Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology, founded in 2011. Participants will walk less than a mile, returning to Gateway Community College from ConnCAT via bus at about 3:30 pm. The tour will also include a quick stop at the headquarters of Higher One, which sits on the edge of Yale’s campus in Science Park. (More..)

pnet-act-gatewayThis is a walking tour of the downtown area just south of the New Haven Green. In all, participants will walk well less than a mile, never straying more than a few blocks from the hotel. The tour will conclude with a visit to Gateway Community College after quick stops at Alexion, the world’s second-most innovative company according to Forbes, the arts-focused Co-Op High and the new Southern On The Green. (More..)

big-dataA recent Boston University survey of 70 mayors across the nation uncovered that they were twice as likely to worry about economic development than education. With Promise programs serving as transitional hubs between high school-to-college and college-to-career, what are the “big data” indicators that can let mayors and city economic advisors rest a little easier? What is the impact of raising college attainment rates in a City, particularly among its low-income residents? How deep is the correlation between absenteeism and academic and career success? Does community service and civic engagement impact college success? Lots of interesting things to explore. (More..)


pnet-act-yagThis will be the kick-off gathering of PromiseNet 2014 at the wonderful Yale University Art Gallery. City leaders will welcome the PromiseNet attendees and provide ample time for connecting and re-connecting. The event is scheduled to end at 7:30 pm so that visitors can explore the abundance of restaurants and nightlife in New Haven, which is unquestionably the cultural center of the state of Connecticut.

Thursday, November 20


pnet-breakfastContinental breakfast at the Omni New Haven Hotel will begin with opening remarks by New Haven Promise Executive Director Patricia Melton followed by self-selected informal breakouts by affinity groups, such as college access, fundraising, etc. There will be more to come as the registrant list is finalized.

Early Morning Sessions

pnet-act-peoriaWhat initial program and activities have been undertaken, in planning and partnership to prepare for Promise programs in communities that have adopted the model? Is scholarship money enough to reach the big vision and mission of such programs? This session will explore the necessary preconditions to starting and growing a Promise program. (More..)

pnet-act-kalamazooPlace-based scholarship Promise programs have a big vision that encompass much more than “dollars for scholars” as research and experience suggest that scholarship dollars alone are not enough for a Promise to succeed. Only when the scholarship program serves as a catalyst for deep engagement across a community will a Promise truly achieve its transformational goals. (More..)

pnet-act-lacrosseThe transition of students from secondary to post-secondary to career can be fraught with difficulty due to a number of challenges. Promise programs are uniquely positioned to serve as intermediaries throughout a scholars’ developmental trajectory. What practices have evolved from the Promise landscape to cultivate effective cross-boundary institutional collaboration and mediate the “leaky pipeline” that too often upends students? (More..)

Late Morning Sessions

pnet-act-hartfordIn each Promise community various challenges have arisen, including changing community cultures, reversing declines, and eliminating disparities, among others; from outside the K-12 and higher education environments. In addition to the challenges that have been conquered, we will explore other barriers that have been more resistant to change or come from institutional obstinance. Secondarily, to truly transform Promise students’ life prospects and educational outcomes, local ecosystems in which students live, work, play and grow must be addressed. How do community members — including school and district administrators, service workers, funders and business executives — align efforts around the belief that “all kids are our kids?” (More..)

pnet-act-denverWell-established Promise programs — in places like Pittsburgh, Denver, New Haven, Syracuse and Kalamazoo — are serving to motivate, incentivize and fund more than 250,000 students in their pursuit of a college degree. Hartford and Richmond, Calif., will begin Promise programs very soon. Our collective impact could reach well over 1.5 million students if other cities which have been exploring the model develop similar programming. That includes cities like Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and Providence. What national alliances should the network explore to increase our strategic advantage for this important work? Morley Winograd of Redeeming America’s Promise will moderate this session. (More..)

pnet-act-ynhhIn 2009, the City of New Haven, New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven launched the New Haven Promise, aimed to improve the postsecondary enrollment and graduation rates of NHPS high school graduates who are residents of the City as a way enhance the growth, stability and economic development of the city and attract more residents to New Haven. The session highlights findings from a study researchers from RAND undertook on the first years of the Promise (2010-2013). Dr. Gabriella C. Gonzalez and Lindsay Daugherty of RAND will present along with New Haven Promise Executive Director Patricia Melton. (More..)


pnet-act-saloveyThe 23rd President of Yale University — Peter Salovey — will deliver the keynote speech at lunch in the Ballroom of the Omni New Haven Hotel. Formerly the Provost of the University, Salovey was also an award-winning instructor in the field of “emotional intelligence,” the theory he helped popularize. Salovey serves as the chair of the New Haven Promise Board of Directors. (More..)

Early Afternoon Sessions

pnet-act-el-doradoThis discussion will begin with a presentation from Dr. Michelle Miller-Adams of the W.E. Upjohn Institute, whose e-book on the evolution of the Promise movement is forthcoming. From there Dr. Gabriella C. Gonzalez will moderator a program focused on results in four Promise cities — Buffalo, N.Y.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; El Dorado, Ark.; and Pittsburgh, Pa. The presentations are “The Effects of Say Yes to Education on High School and Post-Secondary Outcomes;” “Estimating the Impact of the El Dorado Promise on High School Graduation;” “Longer-term Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise: College Enrollment, Persistence, and Completion;” and “Leveraging the Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship by Right-matching Students’ Postsecondary Selections.” (More..)

pnet-act-pittsburghThe Promise movement is thriving and growing because of wonderful commitments from private donors — like in Denver and Kalamazoo — and anchor and philanthropic institutions in places like Pittsburgh, El Dorado, New Haven and, most recently, Richmond, Calif. This session will not only explore the reasons and expectations of those anchors, but also examine the next steps to grow and strengthen Promise programs. The truth is that to see full implementation of those major investments, other businesses and initiatives must be engaged in the effort to assist scholars in returning to the city. This will be a two-part panel, one highlighting the anchor institutions and the other focusing on the “beyond” — other local institutions, corporations and initiatives that can benefit from and ensure the return on the investment. (More..)

Late Afternoon Sessions

pnet-act-detroitWhile most Promise programs are privately funded, they are frequently viewed as a “public good” and find themselves nested in politically choppy waters when mayoral and superintendent leadership transitions occur. City residents frequently reference “tax dollars” in association with Promise programming and government relations with Promise programs can ebb and flow as the “newness” factor wears off. How can local officials help stabilize this “public good” and what role can local government, philanthropy and broader stakeholder engagement play to deepen the roots of such programs? If there is a desire to have Scholars return to the cities that gave them the support to attend and succeed in college, what can be done to sustain Promise programs in maturity? (More..)

pnet-act-faceAs the demographic characteristics of America changes, so too does the face of the U.S. college student. The industry of placing minority, low-income and first-generation students into elite universities will soon be overtaken by a wave of diversity that will challenge the traditional structure of higher education. Which universities will emerge as innovative leaders in this environment? What will it take to ensure that its entire student population has an opportunity to thrive after graduation? Can Promise programs give universities a chance to develop ground-breaking strategies for success? And what would those universities do to fully realize Promises’ potential? (More..)


pnet-act-fordThe Yale School of Management will host a dinner and Promise Town Hall, moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Jack Ford. At the center is the case study focused on the national Promise movement, the country’s premier place-based scholarship and economic development program. Representatives of Promise organizations from across the United States will discuss the challenges and opportunities in knitting together the various Promise organizations into a more formal network for collective impact. The town hall will be held in the School of Management’s new campus, Edward P. Evans Hall. (More..)

Friday, November 21

Breakfast & Dreaming Big

pnet-act-jordyIn addition to breakfast, attendees will hear from Jordy Padilla, who embodies the experience of today’s “Dreamers.” He came to the U.S. from Ecuador as a seven-year-old and he has simply had to make a “way” out of “no way,” which is what the Promise movement is all about for students who are under-funded and under-prepared. Padilla was fortunate to have landed in New Haven, a city which has been issuing — for seven years — municipal identification cards designed to benefit undocumented immigrants. When New Haven Promise was announced it was intended to incentivize and encourage all students. Padilla has done everything asked of him. Unable to qualify for federal aid, he has had to work to pay for his education. His father has contributed handsomely. And as an engineering student who was under-prepared at the start, his academic commitment was more intensive than most. But when he graduates from the University of New Haven in the spring, he join The Walsh Group, working on the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge on I-95 in New Haven. (More..)

Morning Sessions

pnet-act-richmondOne big thing that comes with the establishment of a Promise program is data. This session will explore how technology can produce efficiencies that allow for the reallocation of resources, build and engage audiences who will help promote the efforts, and connect and deliver two-way content with students and their families. Using tools for assessment and engagement can easily form positive program perceptions externally while simultaneously inform of the areas of attention and improvement internally. (More..)

pnet-act-cleveland-coThis session focuses on ownership from citizenry. In each of our communities, after Promise programs were announced, what additional projects have either sprung up and/or grown outside the school districts, with volunteer, other organizations, and parents to help prepare students for college? (More..)

pnet-act-voicesWhile Promise programs are making an investment in students, what is almost never discussed is the investment the students are making in Promise — be it in community or financial commitment. The dollars provided in every Promise program make college more affordable, but that does not mean that college is free. It might encourage some to go to college and others to widen their college options, but most students have loans or out-of-pocket expenses to make the dream a reality. Those who don’t meet with success often have an additional financial burden that will be with them for years. What are the challenges in the college/work balance for students expected to help at home? How does the “Deferred Action” introduced by President Obama play into the equation for students who are “Dreamers”? With what choices are these students confronted? How are students leveraging their status as Promise Scholars to access all that their cities and their potential careers have to offer? Do they intend to re-invest in the place that invested in them? Come hear from students themselves about their journeys and triumphs. (More..)

pnet-act-kalaThis session will serve as a reflection on our time together as well as a look ahead to PromiseNet 2015, which will be held in Kalamazoo, Mich. to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the watershed announcement of The Kalamazoo Promise. We hope everyone leaves PromiseNet 2014 replenished, with deeper commitment and greater enthusiasm for the work. We are thankful and appreciative that so many organizations, cities, universities and businesses decided join us in New Haven this week and we hope to see you in 2015. (More..)

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