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Capitol Region Education Council

Press Room

Contacts

For press inquiries:

Zoe Stetson - Communications Specialist
estetson@crec.org or (860) 509-3663

For other information:

Aura Alvarado - Director of Communications and Community Relations
aalvarado@crec.org or (860) 524-4065

Recent Press Releases

CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School Nominated for High School Theater Halo Awards

(Hartford, Conn.) Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre will present its 15th Annual Halo Awards at the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30. This year’s event recognizes theater students from more than 60 high schools across the state for all aspects of theater. Tickets are on sale at the Seven Angels Box Office or by calling 203-757-4676.CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School is nominated for a variety of awards for its recent production of “A Chorus Line.” They are Best Stage Management (Callum McCabe (SM), Tessa Trotta-Smith (ASM)); Best Dancing; Best Featured Dancer (Madeline Duval); Best Specialty Ensemble in a Musical; Best Standout Performance in an Ensemble Musical (Geo Mantilla as Paul); and Best Classical Musical.The awards are a gala, red carpet event for the students and their families and friends. Awards are given in numerous categories, including Best Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; Best Performance by the Cast in an Ensemble Production; Best Comic Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; and Best Student Choreographer. There are additional categories for lighting, design, stage management, special effects - and more. One of the evening’s highlights is the presentation of the Gypsy Robe, which is given to a chorus member nominated by the director from the school awarded Best Chorus. The Gypsy winner receives a cash scholarship. Outstanding seniors also receive cash scholarships. In addition, Dance Molinari in New York City awards dance scholarships.For more information, contact Melissa Stemmer at 203-591-8223, Ext. 813 or halos@sevenangelstheatre.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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CREC Students to Compete at National Youth Inventor Event

(Hartford, Conn.) Budding young inventors from three CREC schools are traveling to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Exposition (NICEE) in Dearborn, Michigan to display their inventions at the Henry Ford Museum from May 31 to June 2. The CREC students represent Discovery Academy in Wethersfield, Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, and Montessori Magnet School in Hartford. Two second grade students from the University of Hartford Magnet School in West Hartford will submit their inventions online. These aspiring entrepreneurs each won their local, regional, and state competitions to compete against the nation’s top student inventors at this invitation-only event. NICEE is an annual celebration for young inventors and entrepreneurs to display their critical thinking skills through inventing, innovating, and entrepreneurial activities. The organization’s goal is to inspire tomorrow’s youth by creating a national showcase for those whose efforts embody America’s inventive and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s the youth equivalent of the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. NICEE is the marquee event of The STEMIE (STEM + Invention + Entrepreneurship) Coalition. The STEMIE Coalition is a new initiative that emerged from the principles of Connecticut’s 33-year-old Invention Convention that has expanded to 20 states. It was founded to elevate K-12 invention and entrepreneurship education to a national level, share best practices, evaluate programs, and provide national data demonstrating that invention and entrepreneurship are important parts of student learning and development, and lead to future innovators.This year, more than 17,000 Connecticut students competed in the Invention Convention. There were 979 inventors from CREC schools. Of these, 94 went on to the regional competition, 46 made it to the state finals, and 12 are going to the national event. Five student entrepreneurs from CREC Discovery Academy will compete at Nationals. They are Catherine Webster, grade 4, Wethersfield; Namyanzi Edwards, grade 5, New Britain; Sydney Hartley, grade 3, South Windsor; Vaibhav Satishraj, grade 5, South Windsor; and Grace Foster, grade 3, Ellington. Among their inventions are Webster’s “Adaptable Sleeves, Satishraj’s "Baby Saver," a high-tech system that warns parents that their baby is still in its car seat, and Foster’s "The Handy Helper," a hands-free umbrella/backpack.“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that will impact the students in a powerful way,” said Clare Neseralla, theme coach at CREC Discovery Academy. “I am thrilled to have our students represent Connecticut and bring national attention to CREC schools and the amazing work we do with students.” Seventh grade inventors from Two Rivers Magnet Middle School are Kaitlyn Capacea, Vernon; Amber Braga, East Hartford; and Michael Shoemaker, Colchester. Capacea’s invention is a "Motorized Solar Water Filter," Braga’s is an "All-in-one Dog Walker," and Shoemaker’s is a "Snowboard Trainer."I love the fact that the students can be creative problem-solvers, regardless of their ability,” said Christie Hazen, Two Rivers’ invention coordinator and judge. The inventions are their ideas." Dr. Antonio Napoleone, principal of CREC Montessori Magnet School, agreed. “A great aspect of the Invention Convention is that it enables our students to turn their classroom learning into practical application,” he said. “Students had to use their ability to think critically, develop creative solutions, problem solve, and communicate effectively.” Representing Montessori Magnet School are Sophia Pafundi, a lower elementary student from South Windsor, and McKenna Semeraro, an upper elementary student from Cromwell.The University of Hartford Magnet School students who will submit their inventions online are Kathryn Ciccarelli from Windsor and Jarielys Orozco from Hartford. “This opportunity for online competition provides the students the voice to communicate their passion for the solution to the defined problem and demonstrate how and why their invention is necessary for their intended audience, “said Terry Wilson, elementary science curriculum specialist for Magnet Schools. “In addition, the students are able to reflect on their work in an authentic way, both through their inventing process and the video pitch creation, just like real inventors and marketers do.” Students and their chaperones are paying out-of-pocket for the majority of their trip. If you would like to make a donation to help offset their expenses, please contact the schools, drop off your donation at a school’s front desk, or contact Clare Neseralla at cneseralla@crec.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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CREC Students Perform at Connecticut Music Educators Association Conference

(Hartford, Conn.) CREC students from the Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (IMS) in Bloomfield, Montessori Magnet School (MMS) in Hartford, and Reggio Magnet School of the Arts in Avon took part in the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) Conference festival at Hartford’s Connecticut Convention Center in April. They were especially chosen for the Elementary Honors Ensembles that feature high-achieving young vocalists and musicians from across the state. This year’s Elementary Honors Chorus was comprised of 230 choral students in grades four through six. CREC vocalists included Gabriella Eckert, IMS, grade 5, Enfield; Saoirse Noyes, MMS, grade 5, Berlin; Chaina Mersan, MMS, grade 5, Hartford; Shanira Lugo, MMS, grade 4, Hartford; Phoebe Candy, MMS, grade 4, Hartford; Jelitza Santiago, Reggio, grade 5, Hartford; and Mekena Pisani, Reggio, grade 4, Simsbury. The conductor was Craig Knapp, a clinician and choral conductor who makes frequent appearances in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.The Elementary Honors Band featured student musicians in grades four to six. CREC’s band members were Collin Howe, IMS, grade 5, Enfield; Davian Santana, IMS, grade 5, East Hartford; and Casio Robinson, Reggio, grade 5, New Hartford. Their conductor was Rob Grice, one of the preeminent composers of young band music. The band premiered his original piece that CMEA commissioned. Grice’s “The Steel Mill” is about the first steel mill in the U.S, which was located in Simsbury in the 1700s. Performing at the festival was a great experience for the students. "There were a lot of kids there. I've never sung in a group that size before,” said vocalist Gabriella Eckert. “I was nervous, but you should never be afraid to do something that you like." ###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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Theater Department Chairperson Chosen to Create High School Theater Curriculum

(Hartford, Conn.) Brian Jennings, theater department chairperson at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School, was chosen from among 100 high school theater educators and teaching artists nationwide by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) to help create a standards-based curriculum framework and instructional units in targeted areas of theater. The goal is to provide high-quality professional development for EdTA members and the field of theater education. Jennings is part of 12, two-member teams from across the country who will work on this project in Cincinnati July 12 through 15. According to James Palmarini, EdTA director of educational policy, the teams will receive web-based training in standards-based teaching and assessment strategies reflected in the 2014 National Core Theatre Standards. This will help prepare them to create the curriculum framework and instructional units. “The goal is to expand instructional practice for both classroom educators and teaching artists. They both bring a lot to the table for this project — artistry, pedagogy, and a mutual desire to create the best possible learning opportunities for students engaged in theatre education,” Palmarini said. “Nearly 30 states have adopted new theatre standards in the past two years,” he continued. “To meet those standards, our teachers need a framework that articulates what is important to teach and learn in theatre. Along with creating and sharing quality examples of standards-based learning and teaching, the secondary goal of this project is to demonstrate how theatre educators — classroom teachers and teaching artists alike — can measure the effectiveness of their teaching and the learning of students.” Participating teachers are expected to use the instructional units and assessments during the first few months of the 2018-19 school year. They will also gather videos and written reflections generated during student engagement with the instructional unit. A select number of adjudicated portfolios, judged to be at or above the standards aligned to the individual instructional unit, will be posted on the EdTA website in early 2020. The EdTA Model Curriculum Framework is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). EdTA’s NEA Art Works matching grant is part of the more than $25 million in grants approved in 2018. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category. It supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meet the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.###About the Educational Theatre Association, home of the International Thespian Society The Educational Theatre Association is an international association with approximately 125,000 active members. EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education: honoring student achievement in theatre; supporting teachers by providing professional development, resources, and recognition; and influencing public opinion that theatre education is essential and builds life skills. EdTA is the home of the International Thespian Society, an honorary organization established at more than 4,700 schools, that has inducted more than 2.3 million theatre students since its founding in 1929. EdTA also produces the International Thespian Festival and publishes Dramatics magazine for high school theatre students and Teaching Theatre, a journal for theatre education professionals. The Educational Theatre Foundation is the philanthropic arm of EdTA. 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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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