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Oct 1

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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Sep 20

CREC holds groundbreaking ceremony for new Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School Building

(Rocky Hill, Conn.) Thursday CREC held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new school building in Rocky Hill. The state-of-the-art facility will eventually house the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School.Members of the school community, the Rocky Hill Board of Education, the State Department of Education, CREC leadership, former and current students and parents, and special guests were invited to attend the event which featured remarks by many involved with the project, followed by a photo opportunity for attendees to actually get their shovels dirty. “Now the time has come to realize our dream: a home built specifically for us,” said Gayle Hills principal or CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School in her opening remarks. The new building, which will become the school’s permanent home, will be located across the street from the current location, 525 Brook Street, and it is slated to open in August 2020. The new building will take over more than 17 acres of the property at Gardner’s Nurseries. Plans call for more than 89,000 square feet of space, which will include a radial layout that provides a safe student gathering and play courtyard, away from the areas of vehicular circulation. “The property selected for the new school facility is going to provide these students with a wonderful opportunity to learn both indoors and outdoors,” said Superintendent of CREC Schools Tim Sullivan about the planned, versatile learning space. “When I look at the site behind us, I don’t see a construction project; I see the fruition of a social justice mission. This building is going to send a message to all 700 students… that we believe all children have value.” CREC’s Executive Director Greg Florio served as master of ceremonies for the speaking portion, offering his own remarks and recognizing members of the community, the State Department of Education, and the CREC Council. “I’m thrilled today to celebrate the groundbreaking and to give a deserving group of kids and staff their forever home,” said Florio. “Students, family, staff, and the community will hopefully see concrete evidence of our investment in this theme and the students’ future.”“We are thrilled to have this school going up in our town,” said Ed Charamut of the Rocky Hill Town Council and candidate for State Senate.“This is a partnership that we are looking forward to,” said Kermit Thompson of the State Department of Administrative Services.“On behalf of the CREC Council and the 35 districts in the region, thank you for this opportunity, and good luck with your new building,” said David Joy of the South Windsor Board of Education and chair of the CREC Council for the 2018-2019 School Year.The interdistrict magnet school opened in 2013. The school’s theme focuses on developing strong foundational knowledge for students in four interrelated domains of STEM literacy: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The curricula provides students with opportunities to conduct investigations, gather and use information, and solve problems using scientific methods of thinking and technology as tools. The goal is to engage children in these practices to help them develop a deep understanding of the world around them.The CREC Academy of Aerospace Elementary School’s website is http://aae.crecschools.org Superintendent Tim Sullivan (left) and Principal Gayle Hills (right) with studentsMembers of CREC Leadership and the community with students###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....

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Sep 4

CREC Partners with CHR for Outpatient Mental Health Clinic

(East Hartford, CT) In the spring, as part of a competitive bidding process, Community Health Resources (CHR) of Windsor was selected by CREC to assume management and provide all clinical services at the CREC Polaris Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in East Hartford. CHR is a non-profit behavioral healthcare agency that has worked with patients in central and eastern Connecticut for over fifty years.At the CREC Polaris campus, CHR will offer outpatient services for the entire family. This includes expert care for depression, anxiety, trauma and other mental-health challenges, as well as state-of-the-art care for substance use disorders and addictions. Services will include individual, group, family and intensive outpatient services for all ages.“We are excited about our new collaborative partnership with CHR,” said Deborah Richards, director of Student Services at CREC. “We look forward to expanding our services in the behavioral health arena for our students, families, and the greater community. CHR is well known for their services across the state and we value the addition of this expertise to our organization.” Additionally, as of this school year, CHR will coordinate school-based behavioral health clinics in five CREC schools:Two Rivers Magnet Middle School – East HartfordCREC Polaris Center – East HartfordPublic Safety Academy Civic Leadership High School – Enfield Academy of Science and Innovation – New BritainAcademy of Aerospace & Engineering – Windsor"CHR is delighted to begin providing personalized behavioral healthcare services to people of all ages at the CREC Polaris site in East Hartford,” said CHR’s President and CEO, Heather Gates. “Our mission is to provide real hope for the challenges of real life by giving people the tools and resources they need to achieve and maintain recovery and lead happy, healthy and productive lives. We look forward to serving the community in East Hartford and within the CREC schools.” The school year began Wednesday, August 29 for CREC Schools.More information about the schools and services offered by CREC’s Division of Student Services can be found at www.crec.org/ss. CHR’s website is chrhealth.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 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.Community Health Resources is the most comprehensive, non-profit behavioral healthcare agency in the state of Connecticut, with more than five decades of experience meeting the healthcare needs of adults, children and families whose lives have been touched by mental illness, addictions or trauma. CHR delivers services throughout central and eastern Connecticut, including outpatient care, residential services, therapeutic group homes, therapeutic foster care services, a robust supportive housing program and more. CHR is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by the state of Connecticut. The agency has repeatedly been named among the region's Top Workplaces by the annual Hartford Courant survey and is led by a visionary President and CEO, Heather Gates....

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Jun 11

Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts juniors are Fresh Voices Poetry Competition Winners

Alexander Nordlund and Rachel Justice, 2018 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition winners(Hartford, Conn.) Two junior creative writing students from CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts are among the six winners of this year’s Fresh Voices Poetry Competition, which was held at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington in April. Alexander Nordlund is a half-day student from Glastonbury and Rachel Justice is a half-day student from Enfield. The students wrote poems suitable for presentation and publication and competed against other high school students from throughout New England. The competition has nurtured young poets since 1993.Nordlund, Justice, along with the other winners, will read their poems at the museum’s Sunken Garden Poetry Festival’s Young Poet’s Day on Sunday, August 5. Their winning works will also be featured in Hill-Stead’s online poetry journal, Theodate, and printed in a chapbook published by Antrim House Press and available for purchase in the Hill-Stead Museum Shop. The other high school student winners are:Vanecia Fultz – Rockville High School, VernonYoussef Mezrioui – Rockville High School, VernonSarah Lewis – Hall High School, West HartfordEllis McGinley – Arts at the Capitol Theater Performing Arts Magnet High School, WillimanticTheir judges were Daniel Donaghy, an English professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Adriane Jefferson, arts program manager and special programs coordinator for the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts.Visit www.hillstead.org/sunken-garden-poetry-festival/poetry-programs-students-educators/fresh-voices-poetry-competition/ for more information.###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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Jun 4

CREC Academy of Science and Innovation Team Named 2018 U.S. Nationals Robotics Team Champions

(Hartford, Conn.) Seventeen talented high school students from the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, New Britain, are the new 2018 U.S. Nationals Robotics Team Champions. The Ravens team was awarded the title at the 11th annual VEX Robotics World Championship held in Louisville, Kentucky, in late April. This is the first year the school qualified for this worldwide student competition by being in the top seven percent of all robotics teams. The event brought together 30,000 competitors, including 1,648 teams from 30 nations, for a weeklong celebration of STEM, diversity, and robotics. It also secured the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title of largest robot competition. In addition, the Ravens’ robot finished 39th out of 20,000 robots worldwide in robot skills, which assessed programming, design, build, and control skills. This means their robot was better than 99.8 percent of all robots in the world. Congratulations to team members:Cameron Hicks, grade 12, East HartfordJoe Schultz, grade 11, Vernon Tre Baroncini, grade 11, MarlboroughStefany Ferguson, grade 12, Manchester Muhammad Afzaal, grade 12, WindsorAaron Paladino, grade 12, Manchester Zack Koval, grade 11, BristolTyler Scheinblum, grade 12, Manchester Tyler Carr, grade 12, East Hartford Christus Akrong, grade 11, New BritainRadha Patel, grade 11, Meriden Manna Matthew, grade 11, Glastonbury Jared Kruger, grade 10, BristolGramoz Ajeti, grade 11, New BritainAustin Raymond Tricka, grade 12, New BritainHardhik Kumamaru, grade 11, Windsor LocksTyreke Martina, grade 12, GlastonburyEarlier in April, the Ravens won the U.S. Nationals Robotics Open Division Competition in robot skills at an event held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during National Robotics Week. They also took home the U.S. Robotics Nationals "Think" award, presented to the team that demonstrates "impressive and effective autonomous programming." They bested challengers from 19 teams from China, as well as other high schools, colleges, and professional engineers. “The team's robot stood out from a programming perspective and their tireless efforts really impressed the judges, players, and coaches, “said Dr. Robert Polselli, the team’s robotics coach and the school’s technology and engineering teacher. “We were also the first school in our region to qualify for the world championships in the last 10 years.” ###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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May 23

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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May 22

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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