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Capitol Region Education Council

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Fifteen CREC Students to Compete at National Inventor Event

(Hartford, Conn.) Fifteen budding inventors from three CREC schools will travel to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Exposition (NICEE) in Dearborn, Michigan later this month to display their inventions. The CREC students represent Discovery Academy in Wethersfield, Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, and Montessori Training Center Northeast in Hartford. These aspiring entrepreneurs won their local, regional, and state competitions to compete against the nation’s top student inventors. This invitation-only event will be held at the Henry Ford Museum from May 31 to June 2. NICEE is an annual celebration for young inventors and entrepreneurs in grades 3 through12 to display their critical thinking skills through inventing, innovating, and entrepreneurial activities. The 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. At CREC Discovery Academy alone, 160 inventors in grades two through five took part. Twenty-four students went on to the regional competition, 15 qualified for the state competition at UConn, and five are going to nationals.“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.” Discovery Academy’s student entrepreneurs 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 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.The student inventors from Two Rivers Magnet Middle School are Dylan Mongillo, Southington; Pacey Mahar, Wethersfield; Violet Robinson, Manchester; Kaitlyn Capacea, Vernon; Amber Braga, East Hartford; Michael Shoemaker, Colchester; Rishi Mallepally, Manchester; and Catie Field, Colchester. Their inventions include Braga’s "All-in-one Dog Walker," Capacea’s "Motorized Solar Water Filter," and Shoemaker’s "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." Representing Montessori Magnet School are Sophia Pafundi, a lower elementary student from South Windsor, and McKenna Semeraro, an upper elementary student from Cromwell.Students and their chaperones are paying for most of their trip themselves. If you would like to donate money 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 by May 18.###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.

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.

CREC Students Enjoyed Hands-on Activities at STEM Night

(Hartford, Conn.)The CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School, Rocky Hill, recently hosted an evening of theme-focused, special activities at its annual STEM Night. Students, families, and members of the school community saw how airplanes, rockets, – and more – work. Student ambassadors from UConn’s engineering department also shared their own demonstrations and were on hand to encourage the students.The school’s theme is the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Even the school’s youngest learners are exposed to STEM vocabulary and equipment. “STEM is integrated across the curriculum, thanks to the hard work of all the teachers,” explained the school’s STEM Coach, Dr. Jan Mooney-Frank. “We are lucky to have the tools and technology to allow for STEM learning throughout the school.” Each classroom has its own cart of iPads, a Smart Board, and other laptop and STEM technology. “The goal is to get kids thinking about a career in engineering or science at an early age,” she said.“The quality of the work that the teachers and students display each year is impressive,” said Principal Gayle Hills. “Families and students participate in the design process together and get to see the results of the older students’ work within a common theme.”CREC’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School focuses on developing strong foundational knowledge for students in four interrelated domains of STEM literacy: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The curricula provides students in Pre-K3 to grade 5, with significant and meaningful opportunities to conduct investigations, gather and use information, and solve problems using scientific methods of thinking and technology as tools. Engaging children in these practices helps them develop a deep understanding of the world around them.For more information, visit http://aae.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Arts Director Kim Stroud Receives 2018 Arts Hero Award from State's Office of the Arts

(Hartford, Conn.) Kim Stroud, director of the arts at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School (GHAA), was chosen from 165 nominees to receive the 2018 Arts Hero Award for the Greater Hartford region by the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts. The award recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things through the arts. This year’s emphasis was on harnessing the power of the arts to build resiliency. Stroud was selected for her “impactful and responsive contribution to (her) community and the profound impact it has had on the state and beyond.” She will receive her award on April 25 at the Hartford Stage as part of CT Arts Day. She will also be featured in a CT Arts Day publication. Stroud’s is one of nine annual Arts Hero Awards recipients recognized for their artistic excellence and community contribution. The awards review panel was comprised of CT Arts Day Task Force members, who are arts leaders and artists from throughout the state.“I am awestruck. I just can’t think of any better title than to be called a hero,” said Stroud. “I know what comes to my mind when I think of the heroes in my life who were the mentors, guides, and stewards who made me strive to be more than I could imagine at that time. If I can be that for my students, there is nothing greater I can achieve. “I am well aware that I work with some of the best and most caring artists, educators, and humans in the world,” she continued. “We do this together and we all share in the joy for any of the students who leave us and make a place for themselves in this world that they could not imagine before we met them. I thank all my heroes, mentors, colleagues, and fellow artists who make magic happen for students every day.”Stroud lives in Madison and has worked at GHAA since 1993, where she has been the school’s dance department chairperson, assistant director of the arts, and director of the arts. She is also the general director of the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. Stroud's former positions include being the administrator for dance programs for city youth through the school of the Hartford City Ballet, the general director and dance chairperson for the Center for Creative Youth, and the head of the diversity committee for the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools. Stroud’s other honors include being named a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO and receiving a citation from former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and the City of Hartford for teaching. In 2012, Dance Teacher Magazine honored her as Outstanding Dance Educator. In 2009, she received the Teacher of the Year award from the International Arts Schools Network. Stroud was bestowed Teacher Recognition from the Connecticut Dance Alliance in 2007 and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2000. The National Dance Education Organization named her Outstanding Dance Educator of the Year in 2005. Stroud served on faculty at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, SUNY Purchase, the University of Hartford, and The Hartford Conservatory. She was a Principal Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for eleven years, touring the world. She has also danced and toured with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, performed in the Universal Studio film production of The Wiz, and as a guest artist with Katherine Dunham and the Gemini Dance Company. Stroud was also a master teacher for the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Randolf-Macon Women's College in Virginia, the University of Hartford, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. Stroud attended SUNY at Purchase and holds a degree in Dance Performance and Pedagogy.###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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