Letter: Yale makes resources available to local high schoolers

As a public school teacher in New Haven, I read the article “Recruiting: Should Yale target locals?” (Feb. 27) with interest. I am truly grateful that students at Yale want to ensure that their University is open to students in the local community. I am also eager to acknowledge all that Yale does to support this city’s schools — something I can speak to from personal experience.

In the six years I have been teaching at Common Ground High School, I have been grateful and impressed by the ways that Yale has made its resources available to my students: Yale undergraduates have tutored my students, organized after-school programs, taught in my courses, created amazing programs on the Yale campus and supervised our summer youth employment program. Yale faculty and staff have advised my students’ senior projects, opened up Yale classrooms, given tours of buildings, created internship opportunities and advised our school on a range of efforts.

Particular departments have consistently stepped up. The admissions office has rebuilt campus tours to make them work for students for whom Yale may not be within reach — but who want to experience college firsthand, and who want to learn about Yale’s role in the city. The Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs and academic departments have created some of the most useful professional development opportunities I’ve experienced. The School of Forestry has opened its classes, allowed us to tour its building before its official opening and pushed many great students our way. The Oral History Project created and staffed a special section of a course for my students.

These experiences — probably more than a standard college tour — have made Yale feel within reach for my students. They have also helped my students take the steps that will actually get them ready for college. Have any of my students been accepted to Yale yet? No. Will they soon? We will get them there, with the help of Yale’s resources.

I hope that Yale, and its students, will keep creating new pathways for local students to succeed in college. There’s definitely more work to be done. But I think it’s important to start with a clear picture of what Yale has already committed.

Joel Tolman

March 9

The writer is a social studies teacher and the director of development and community engagement at Common Ground High School.

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