Purpose & History

The Interdistrict Cooperative Grant Program (ICGP), established under section 10-74d of Connecticut General Statutes, provides state funding to local / regional school districts and nonprofit organizations to support inter-district programs designed to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation and improve student academic achievement (particularly in the areas of science and mathematics). As part of this program, the State Department of Education requires a minimum of 30 face-to-face contact hours between participants. The 2016-2017 school year marks the 23rd anniversary of the New Canaan Nature Center executing this innovative educational program. To date over 18,000 students in lower Fairfield County Connecticut have been served through LINKS. Approximately 650 fourth grade students from Norwalk and New Canaan participate in the LINKS program each year.

New for 2016-2016 — LINKS Share Site

We have developed a LINKS share site for students and teachers. This site is your one-stop shop for all things LINKS, including our program calendar, info on participating schools, RSVP invites, Emergency Release forms, lesson plans and more. LINKS participants can also share thoughts, comments and photos of their LINKS experience. For more info, and to be granted access to join the share site, please contact the LINKS Coordinator at (203) 966-9577 x41 or Email LINKS Coordinator

LINKS Primary Goals:

  • Primary goals are twofold.
  • Increase academic performance of urban and suburban fourth grade students by supplementing existing district curriculum with hands-on, interactive, interdisciplinary studies and cooperative problem solving related to environmental issues.
  • Reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation by involving a cohort of urban and suburban students in integrated partnerships for cooperative learning and teamwork.

How We Achieve These Goals:

  • All participating classes are part of three field trips to the New Canaan Nature Center. Each trip allows students to immerse in the forest, fields and ponds to study the ecosystem and food chains within each habitat.
  • Six program opportunities are offered to all participating schools for after-school discovery activities in a relaxed atmosphere to enhance the school day field trips.
  • In November and May families have the opportunity to visit the New Canaan Nature Center on a Saturday to explore and experience what their children are a part of! Also, we offer a family winter study day in February!
  • If you have any questions or are interested to learn more contact 203-966-9577 ext. 41 or Chris Hendershot, Director of Education Programs & LINKS Coordinator