You can find Kjerstin Pugh in her office at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, “Co-Op”, with her door wide open and available to the 400+ students that participate in Co-Op After School (CAS). In this space, she recruits, enrolls, and provides mentorship to her students. She is also simultaneously overseeing the planning, hiring, training, and curricular development of the 50+ CAS programs that are offered each trimester, which may include programs like Girl Confidence, Basketball, SAT Prep, and Ukelele Justice League just to name a few. With all of this work, she somehow still finds time to organize large-scale events like theater performances and annual field trips to New York as further enrichment opportunities for CAS students.
Fortunately, Kjerstin’s five years of sleepless nights and wearing many hats with passion, grace, and grit have not gone unnoticed. Under her leadership, CAS has become the largest high school after-school program in the state of Connecticut. By providing free, innovative courses to its artistically-inclined students in an environment that is dynamic, nurturing, and exciting, it has become an exemplary model that other after-school programs in the state aspire to become.
She received a T.A.P.S. Award from the New Haven Board of Education at the 2017 T.A.P.S. Award Ceremony that took place at John S. Martinez School on June 14, 2017. This annual ceremony honors exemplary teachers, administrators, parents, support staff and community partners in the New Haven school district. Kjerstin was one of the three awardees for the community partners category for being a cheerful and welcoming mentor for all of her students. Congratulations Kjerstin!
CAS is a grant-funded after school program that is operated and managed by Dwight Hall at Yale under the supervision of Program Manager Mark Fopeano and in partnership with Co-Op High School. Dwight Hall’s partnership with Co-Op through CAS helps Dwight Hall achieve both parts of its mission statement: (1) “to nurture and inspire [Yale] students as leaders of social change” and (2) “to advance justice and service in New Haven and around the world.” With Co-Op conveniently located one block away from Old Campus on Crown and College Street, it is a great place for Yale students to work with high school students, either as tutors, program instructors, or as programmatic support in CAS.