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Capitol Region Education Council

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CREC Discovery Academy Fifth-Graders Plan for Future with New STEM Project

(Wethersfield, Conn.) Starting in March, fifth-graders at CREC Discovery Academy will take inventory of their current life and map out where their future will lead with a new project titled “Future Quest,” which incorporates real-life decision making, and uses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), writing, and research together to motivate students.The project, part of a new STEM special class that runs from March 11 to April 26, integrates the new International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards, recently adopted by the State of Connecticut.This is the second year the school has added the STEM special for students, with each grade taking on a unique, integrated project. Clare Neseralla, theme coach at the school, will teach the STEM Special courses. Once a week, students will go to the Science Lab to work on their project. Additionally, the project will be integrated into weekly art classes to teach students about photography and graphic design basics (pictured below).The ISTE Standards “are designed to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process,” according to iste.org. Students will look to the future to learn about professional salaries for full and part-time jobs, and the cost of homes, cars, insurance, and taxes. To incorporate writing, and to examine higher education, students will write business letters requesting information from trade schools or colleges, and researching how education can qualify them for different careers.As part of the project, engineers from the Interstate 84 reconstruction project will come and talk to the students about all the engineering fields that have been hired to make their project a success.Neseralla previously taught Future Quest as a teacher in West Hartford and said it was a favorite of her past students.“I am thrilled to be able to duplicate this project with the students at CREC Discovery Academy,” said Neseralla. “It is never too early to inspire a student about a career and let them know about how the adult world works.”Future Quest integrates all the ISTE Student Standards which empower Discovery’s fifth-grade students to become:Empowered Learners - students will take an active role demonstrating technology competency through incorporating Google Drive, spreadsheets, digital photography, and graphic design. Digital Citizens - students will research their future choices and give credit for material they incorporate in their projects. Knowledge Constructors - students use a variety of resources using digital tools to produce a personal, creative presentation.Innovative Designers - students will incorporate photography and graphic design in their personal, creative presentation.Computational Thinkers - students will use electronic spreadsheets to compute the financial results of their future choices.Creative Communicators - students will present this current and future life digitally through art, photography, and graphics. Global Collaborators - students complete interest profiles online and reach out to professionals in their field. They will conduct interviews through email, blogging, forms, phone calls, or in-person meetings.The CREC Discovery Academy’s website is http://da.crecschools.org ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Ana Grace Academy Fifth-Grader announced as 2018 Connecticut Kid Governor

(Avon, Conn.) The winner of the 2018 Connecticut’s Kid Governor® (CTKG) Statewide Election was revealed during a school-wide assembly at the CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School in Avon, November 21 at 10 a.m. This year’s winner Ella Briggs of East Hampton, a fifth-grader at the school, campaigned on equity, specifically LGBTQ student rights and issues. Her slogan was “Love is Love.” Students were under the impression that they were attending an assembly however, CTKG Officials surprised them with announcement that one of their classmates had won the election. The Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus performed for the students—their first time ever performing in a school. CREC Administration, representatives from True Colors, State Senator Douglas McCrory (CREC’s director of Family Engagement), and State Representative Jeff Currey were in attendance.The assembly began with a video announcing Ella as the winner. Sen. McCrory and Rep. Currey each presented citations to Ella from the State, and Currey presented her with a pin proclaiming her part of Connecticut’s LGBTQ Caucus. Head of CTKG Brian Francesco, Principal Patti Phelan, Ella’s Teacher Chelsea Davis, and Superintendent of CREC Schools Tim Sullivan also spoke.Ella proudly read her victory speech and thanked everyone for their support. The classmates in attendance chanted “Ella! Ella! Ella!” as she concluded.Connecticut’s Kid Governor is a statewide civics program for fifth graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network in 2015. The program offers each school in Connecticut the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election. All fifth graders in the State are eligible to vote.In 2018 over 6400 votes were cast, a record for the program. Ella’s competitors, were:Eva Greenspan, Eric G. Norfeldt Elementary School, West Hartford. Issue: Child PovertyHayden Xhokaxhiu, Pleasant Valley Elementary School, South Windsor. Issue: Limiting Electronic UseJason Hayes II, Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, Meriden. Issue: Children’s LiteracyMadison Lowthert, Our Lady of Fatima School, Wilton. Issue: RecyclingMelody Valdes, Dr. Thomas S. O’Connell Elementary School, East Hartford. Issue: Food for AllReilly Bard, Plantsville Elementary School, Southington. Issue: Foster CareCurrey, a democrat, whose district covers parts of Manchester, East Hartford, and South Windsor, is openly gay and met with Ella on October 22 to answer questions as she built her platform and visit with other students at the school.“Ella is a beacon of hope and an inspiration to not only Connecticut students and residents, but to individuals across the country. In a charged political climate that is not always tolerant, she has the courage to stand up for basic human rights, and to speak out against the erasure of identities,” said Currey. “Her message that love is love, and her determination to make education safer and more equitable to meet all of her peers’ needs is inspirational and something older generations must listen to.”I am just so pleased that Ella has the confidence to stand up for something that is so very important to her and her whole family,” said Ella’s father Christopher Briggs. “She is really coming into her own, and the support that she has received not only from the faculty and staff, but also the whole student body of Ana Grace, has been very heartening.” “Ella is one of the most remarkable young people I have had the pleasure of meeting,” said Currey “I haven’t stopped speaking about her and her candidacy.”“We are very proud of Ella,” said Phelan.Currey also spent time talking with other students in the lunch room about Ella’s campaign and their support.Ella’s campaign speech began, “I am a proud part of the LGBTQ community and I want to make youth programs all around the state, make school clubs, and help with kids who were kicked out of their homes. Together we can make Connecticut a little bit more colorful. With your vote, we can make a stand, make a change, and make a difference. Vote Ella, campaign, Love is Love.”The CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School’s website is agaaems.crecschools.org###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Civic Leadership High School Students Volunteer in Community for Public Service Day

(Enfield, Conn.) Each year, as part of the school’s theme, CREC Civic Leadership High School (CLHS) holds semi-annual Public Service Days to provide opportunities to put learning into action. This school year’s first Public Service Day was Wednesday, October 17. But this year was special because of the school’s new broader theme of Civic Leadership. “The theme was public safety in the past, which is a niche kind of theme,” said CLHS Theme Coach Cory LaChance, who organized the day with fellow Theme Coach Nancy Rosenbaum. “So we were able to broaden it to Civic Leadership, which Public Safety is an important part of, but it’s not the whole thing.”“This our fourth Public Service Day, and one of the things that we wanted to instill into our school was the importance of public service. And we think it’s so important that we shut down the school for a whole day and everybody goes out,” said CLHS Principal Jeff Larson. “It’s fantastic a lot of our kids walk out and are saying, ‘Ugh, where am I going?’ or ‘What am I doing?’ and then they come back and they all have smiles on their faces because they know they just did something great.”At 8 a.m., CLHS ninth, tenth, and eleventh-graders boarded buses, bound for a variety of sites throughout the Greater Hartford area to serve the community. “We do the event twice a year in fall and spring, as a theme coach, we book the outside sites by reaching out to community organizations to see who needs assistance,” said LaChanceThe list of organizations and locations helped by CLHS this year is extensive:Charities of Hope, Hartford – sorted clothing donations Charter Oak Greenway, Highland Park to Charter Oak Park, Manchester – trail clean-upCharter Oak Greenway, Sunset Ridge in East Hartford to Manchester Community College – trail clean-upCongressman Joe Courtney Campaign, 312 Hazard Ave, Enfield – assisted with mailings to constituentsCREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary, Avon – tutored elementary studentsCREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Middle School, Hartford – tutored middle school students CREC International Magnet School for Global Studies, South Windsor – tutored elementary studentsCREC Soundbridge, Wethersfield – grounds clean-upCREC University of Hartford Magnet, West Hartford – tutored elementary studentsGlory Chapel of Hartford – cleaned the church groundsGoodwin Park, Hartford – helped to set up for Holiday Light FantasiaManchester Area Conference of Churches – prepared meals for the homeless, sorted and organized stock in a food pantryNew Dimension Christian Center, Hartford – church nursery and kitchen clean-up“I think that Public Service Day gives you such a great idea, perspective, of what you want to do,” said CLHS junior Tiron Cannon, of Hartford, who traveled with his political science class to make calls and send postcards for Connecticut Democrats at Congressman Joe Courtney’s Enfield Office. “At first, I had a closed mind, I didn’t want to do this. But then being here, it’s not bad! The people are nice, we’re making phone calls. I think it’s good, it instills a lot of good characteristics into the students.” “They’re actively campaigning, experiencing by doing, which is better than just learning in the classroom,” said Kevin Brown, the teacher of the political science class. “They’ve learned about what races are up for election this fall, taken a side, identified their ideology, researched the candidates, written letters to the editor in support, and now this is the piece where they’re out actually doing some campaign work. So this is a chance for them to see it firsthand.”Supervising the students on Public Service Day is a unique opportunity for teachers and staff as well.“It’s an opportunity for us all to get out of the classroom and learn more about each other but also learn about different public service modalities and connect with community members from all walks of life and charities and organizations,” said Jamie Roderick, a Spanish teacher who traveled with students to Goodwin Park in Hartford to help set up for the Holiday Light Fantasia that benefits the Channel 3 Kids Camp.“It’s important that the kids feel ownership and have a genuine interest in bettering the community,” said Keely Ouellette, a chemistry teacher overseeing students sorting clothes for the Charities of Hope thrift store in Hartford’s South End. “ A lot of students live near this location so they’re familiar with the community and it’s important that they realize they can have a role in making it better”Back at the school in Enfield, CLHS seniors hosted a variety of activities for eighth-graders from CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School. The gamut of activities was modeled after CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” “They go all around the building and use their CREC Essential Skills, like problem solving and communicating, and they get hands-on with a lot of our theme-related equipment while the seniors take a leadership role,” said LaChance.“Today, helping eighth-graders, I think this is just an opportunity for me to show them what we do so I can guide them with an opportunity for their future,” said senior Evan Silverio of South Windsor.CLHS students accrue over fifty hours of community service during their time at the school. “If they understand, by the time they walk across that graduation stage in four years, how important it is to give back to their community, we’re doing better than most,” said Larson.CREC Civic Leadership High School’s website is http://clhs.crecschools.org ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Partnership Awarded $4.9 Million by USDOE

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) has been awarded a grant for $4.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education to fund and design the establishment of a Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC). The five-year grant is a collaboration between CREC, the African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP), the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), and the State Education Resource Center (SERC). The grant will enable partners to work with communities across the state, providing resources and promoting the engagement of parents, families, students, and other community stakeholders to improve students’ academic, social and emotional development.“This is a unique and timely opportunity to support family engagement statewide. This grant will give all stakeholders—students, parents and families, school and district leaders, state-level policy makers, and community partners—the opportunities and support needed to increase engagement and impact outcomes for our students,” stated CREC’s Executive Director, Greg Florio. “CREC is honored to lead this work, and committed to promoting full, equal and equitable partnerships.”Through the grant, partnering agencies will implement and expand proven family engagement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student development and academic achievement. “SERC is excited about the announcement of the award for funding a new CT SFEC,” said SERC’s Executive Director, Ingrid Canady. “We have long approached family engagement as a pillar of our work on behalf of Connecticut’s students and families, including as operators of the CT Parent Information and Resource Center. The award for the new center demonstrates Connecticut’s commitment to family engagement.”The purpose of the SFEC grant program is to provide financial support to organizations that provide technical assistance and training to state educational agencies and local school districts. “We look forward to working with our partners to strengthen the family voice and improve educational outcomes for all of Connecticut’s children,” said Ann R. Smith, Executive Director of AFCAMP. “This investment presents a significant opportunity to expand family participation in Connecticut’s evolving family engagement framework.”John Flanders, CPAC Executive Director, echoed support for the work of the SFEC partnership. “CPAC enthusiastically looks forward to working with the partners to bring mothers and fathers more fully into collaboration with their children’s schools. The $4.9 million award over five years to engage school systems and families to work together for better education outcomes is an incredible opportunity.” The U.S. DOE permitted each state’s central education agency to endorse one applicant per state; CREC was the chosen recipient of the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE)’s endorsement. Connecticut joins ten other states awarded similar grants: Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings more than five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changings needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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