Established at the University of Hartford in 1990, Educational Main Street (EMS) is a program of the College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions that partnered with urban schools in Hartford's north end. The focus of the program was to serve the children of the north end in meeting their academic needs to successfully graduate from high school and continue on to college. The program provided trained tutors drawn from University of student population to tutor children individually and in small groups during the school day and after school. There were only three schools in the original 1990 design. In 2000, the number of schools increased to five and then to eleven partners.
The schools in the partnership from 2000 to 2008 were: Fisher, King, Rawson, Twain, Elementary Schools, University of Hartford Magnet Elementary School, Fox Middle School, University High School for Science and Engineering, and Weaver High School. In 2007, an additional partnership was created between Bloomfield Public Schools and Educational Main Street to work in three schools there: Bloomfield High School, Arace Intermediate and Arace Middle Schools.
Due to school closings and other major changes in the Hartford School System, Educational Main Street shifted its attention to different schools within the Greater Hartford area. In 2008, Educational Main Street became the lead agent of a 21st Century After-School grant to serve children at the Global Communication Academy in Hartford. Educational Main Street had also continued its relationship with Bloomfield schools while adding on the charter schools Jumoke Academy and Jumoke Honors Middle School. Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School was added in 2011.
In 2001, the mission of Educational Main Street broadened from service to just the children of the north end to include service-learning opportunities for the University students. University of Hartford students, through the various activities at the partner schools, were able to participate in projects that enhanced their own undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students were able to earn course credit for their tutoring efforts while putting into practice many of the skills and principles they acquire in their classes. These dual goals continue as the main purpose of the program.
This year Educational Main Street begins its 23rd year of service to the children and families in greater Hartford and the students of the University of Hartford with the unveiling of EMS 2.0! EMS 2.0 will take educational initiatives to the main street and work with agencies and organizations along Albany Avenue. It will also use the media by utilizing television, web podcasts, and radio promotions to reinforce literacy. With the support of corporation and foundation funding, Educational Main Street is able to make a difference in the lives of the students its serves.