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CREC Two Rivers Middle School Students Visit Iowa State University for Insight on Space-Bound Algae

(East Hartford, CT) A group of eighth graders from CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, whose algae experiment will fly into space this summer, visited Iowa State University recently to get some insight from algae experts. The students toured the campus and visited the Center for Crops Utilization Research facility to learn more about the work that ISU is doing with bio renewable resources for fuel."The trip was an incredible opportunity for the students to experience a real world application of science research. They not only got a feel for the precision needed to conduct experiments, but they also got a better sense of just how broad the fields of science and engineering are," said Kennan Poulakos, Environmental Theme coach at CREC Two Rivers Middle School.The students’ experiment, "How does microgravity affect algae growth?” was selected to fly aboard a SpaceX-12 rocket to the International Space Station in late summer of 2017. The students are among 21 groups whose experiment will fly as part of Mission 11 of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.The students connected with Dr. Martin Gross at ISU while researching algae for their experiment. Dr. Gross agreed to help the students and flew them to Iowa for a dry run and to show them the innovative programs that ISU does with bio renewables, especially with corn and ethanol production.Of the five students who worked on the experiment, three of them made the trip to Iowa: Jack McCann of Vernon, Angel Soto of East Hartford, and Kieran Yanaway of South Windsor.The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.###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 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 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Releases Catalog for 2017 Summer Institutes Offering Professional Development Opportunities

ELLEN RETELLE - Director of Teaching & LearningThe Capitol Region Education Council has released the catalog for the 2017 Summer Institutes (www.crec.org/summer), a variety of professional development workshops and seminars for teachers, principals, social workers, psychologists, and technology and educational professionals who work in public, private, charter, and international schools.CREC’s summer institutes are opportunities for educational professionals in kindergarten through grade 12 schools to deepen their understanding, knowledge, and skills on various topics that align with content areas and grade levels and to engage in learning communities. The institutes also support educators looking to meet the eight Standards for Professional Learning (SPL) developed and adopted by the Connecticut State Department of Education. ( HYPERLINK "http://www.crec.org/c/SPL" www.crec.org/c/SPL)Professional learning…“is the process by which, alone and with others, teachers review, renew and extend their commitment as change agents to the moral purposes of teaching and by which they acquire and develop critically the knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence essential to good professional thinking, planning and practice with children, young people and colleagues through each phase of their teaching lives” (Day & Sachs, 2004, p. 34). Connecticut SPLs define the characteristics of a high-quality system of professional learning for all educators and staff to support, enhance, and enrich student learning and performance. Connecticut’s eight standards include cultural competence, learning communities, leadership, resources, data, learning designs, implementation, and outcomes. Learning Communities (LC) is a vital element of the Connecticut’s SPLs. A learning community is a group of people who share values, beliefs, and ethics about engaging in learning from one another and others. That is, a learning community shares expertise, knowledge, skills, and experiences, and works collaboratively to engage in continuous learning to expand teaching skills, deepen teacher knowledge with the goal of enhancing and enriching student learning and academic performance. CREC’s institutes will help you renew and recharge your commitment to education, and you will learn and reflect with like-minded colleagues. For more information visit: HYPERLINK "http://www.crec.org/summer/" www.crec.org/summerDay, C., & Sachs, J. (2004). International handbook on the continuing professional development of teachers. Maidenhead: Open University Press.###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 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 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

Big Red Box Initiative Makes Food Donations Accessible at Polaris Center

Scanning the radio stations on his way home from work one day, CREC John J. Allison Jr. Polaris Center Facilities Manager John Danco listened intently as he heard about the Big Red Box initiative popping up in communities around the country. The program crossing America involves ‘big red boxes’ containing food donations. The intent is to encourage anyone in need to take what they need and those who have extra to give what they can. Since the Polaris Center is fortunate to receive regular donations from Whole Foods, Danco thought the Big Red Box would be ideal to have in an easily accessible area on campus. Director Timothy Carroll liked the idea of being able to serve the needs of the clients from the Center’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, the Polaris Educational Community, as well as those who live in the East Hartford community who walk or drive by regularly. Upon approval, Danco constructed the box using scrap materials from around campus and his own home. Painted bright red, with a plexiglass door, the box is adhered to the brick exterior of the Polaris Outpatient Mental Health Clinic building. The Big Red Box has truly been a team effort as students from the Polaris Educational Programs have joined in to assist with the project. Under the supervision of Lorin Charanian, a job coach at the Polaris Career Center, students will monitor usage and stock the box with food and items that are donated by staff members, organizations and from the Polaris Food Service Program. With a simple sign to Take What You Need and Give What You Can, members of the John J. Allison Jr Polaris Center community work to promote full bellies through kind hearts.###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 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 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Two Rivers High School Students Raise Funds, Serve Community Meals at Hartford Church

Seeing people in need motivates Two Rivers Magnet High School sophomore Elaine Jackson to give back. When she learned of an opportunity to volunteer through her school at a local soup kitchen, she didn’t hesitate to sign up.“With opportunities like these, you have to grasp them,” said Elaine, 16, of Hartford. “I like helping people. I have a passion for that.”Elaine was among nine Two Rivers High School students who raised more than $600 in one day in April for the Community Meals at Christ Cathedral Church in downtown Hartford. The money was used to purchase care packages and meals, which the student volunteers, including Elaine, recently prepared and served.Terri Olson, the Community Service Program Coordinator at Two Rivers, organized the event with Hands on Hartford, a social service nonprofit organization that manages the community meals at Christ Cathedral Church. She also recruited students to brainstorm ideas for fundraisers.They decided to host a “Dress Down Day.” Students donated $3 and got to wear casual attire instead of their school uniforms. Staff also participated by donating $5. “It makes me feel good to have these students take time out of their busy schedules to help others,” said Olson.Sophomore Ninoshka Mendez, 16, volunteered to collect donations at the school entrance as students arrived for school in the morning. With the money raised the students were able to purchase enough food to serve dinner to 120 people. The student volunteers prepared and served a dinner of chicken thighs, baked beans, pasta salad, juice and cookies and cupcakes for dessert. Leftover funds were spent on 24 care packages – tie bags containing a bottle of water, toothpaste and toothbrush, a comb, bar of soap and lip balm. “It’s a good experience because we get to do something we haven’t done before,” said Mendez.This is one of several projects that the students have participated in this year. They also volunteered to set up and to work the registration table for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer at Bushnell Park in October, helped with a luncheon in November and volunteered at open houses at CREC Two Rivers High School.###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 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 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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