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Car Chase Leads to Lane Closings on I-91

HARTFORD — A police chase that began in Massachusetts and injured at least one person caused lane closings on I-91.

State Police said the two lanes of I-91 south near exit 49  are still closed because of a crash at the end of a police chase that began in Springfield early Thursday.

At least one person was seriously injured in the crash, police said

Troopers from the Massachusetts State Police and Springfield officers were involved in the pursuit, police said.

Connecticut state troopers responded to scene.

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Asian Host First Culture Night

HARTFORD — The Asian American Student Association at Trinity College hosted the first Intercollegiate Asian American Culture Night in the Admissions Grand Room.

In addition to the Trinity students who hosted the event in November, the conference welcomed Asian culture clubs from the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut College, and Wesleyan University.

Members of the Trinity College Asian American Student Association executive board with Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Members of the Trinity College Asian American Student Association executive board with Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Each club brought food to share with the group, and offered introductions and presentations as the students got to know one another. “The energy was very high, and the enthusiasm for future events such as this was very apparent,” said Ethan Yang, the first-year representative for Trinity’s AASA and one of the conference organizers. “During the open microphone session, many people passionately discussed issues relating to the Asian American identity, including conflicts with tradition, acceptance, fitting in, and being criticized for not looking Asian.”

The event organizers believe that this was the first step toward forming a coalition to unite Asian American culture clubs from colleges across Connecticut. The organization aims to encourage further collaboration and communication amongst its member clubs.

“My co-host Hamna Tariq and I had the privilege of hosting one of the most successful and productive AASA events ever,” Yang said. “Overall, this event was an unprecedented and historic step that has created momentum that will surely change the state of Connecticut for the collegiate Asian American, and hopefully all cultures.”

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Middletown Group to Hold Annual Open House

MIDDLETOWN — Artists for World Peace, a non-profit humanitarian organization, will be holding our annual Open House event on Dec.  3 at the deKoven House Community Center

The event is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. located at 27 Washington St. in Middletown.

Organizers said they will be hosting a community dialogue on peace and unity, and discussing how they can start to heal the divide that has come to light within different communities.  They  are welcoming community members from all over Connecticut to join them fora free event, they said.
They will have food, beverages, a holiday marketplace, and  showcase of the humanitarian work they have accomplished in 2016.
If you have an questions-or comments, call or email:  Kelley Salemi, 860-830-8736 or

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Hartford Community Schools Receive $1.6 Million

By Chris Senecal

HARTFORD — When Sahar Hakim, Catholic Charities’ after school program director for Thirman L. Milner School, was planning the first year of a new Milner LEADS student summer internship program this past spring, she had no idea that the program was going to make such a positive impact on the entire community.


The eight eighth-grade students selected for the paid internship program spent each morning learning about what it takes to be a leader, and each afternoon organizing neighborhood festivities as a part of National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. All of the students learned how to effectively communicate with local leaders, businesses, and organizations to as a part of their work.


The Milner LEADS students chose “Stop the Violence” for their National Night Out theme. Members of the Hartford Police and Fire Departments, along with Mayor Luke Bronin and former Mayor Thirman Milner, joined in the event. Hundreds of neighborhood residents, community organizations attended and residents enjoyed the festivities, the largest one of several National Night Out events held throughout Hartford.


These types of unique enrichment programs will continue to be offered to hundreds of students and their families thanks to grants totaling $1.6 million from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support Hartford’s seven community schools.


“Learning to speak to adults and asking them to participate in the event was extremely challenging,” said Alexiah Smith, who was in charge of recruiting entertainment for the event. “But it was so satisfying to see that all of our hard work paid off, and so many people donated their time and resources and so many people participated in the event. It showed us that even though we’re young, we can accomplish positive things for our community.”


First developed in 2008, Hartford Community Schools seek to close a variety of opportunity gaps that Hartford students and families often experience as a result of economic disadvantages. The seven community schools receiving funding from the Foundation include the Asian Studies Academy at Bellizzi, Alfred E. Burr Elementary School, the Fred D. Wish Museum School, Thirman L. Milner School, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, Burns Latino Studies Academy, and West Middle School.


Three Hartford nonprofit agencies currently coordinate student supports and services in the schools working in partnership with the schools’ principals and district leaders. Over the course of an academic year and the following summer, the schools will each provide a broad range of wraparound services such as vision, health and dental care, mental health services, academic support and enrichment, civic engagement programs and cultural activities.


“The Hartford Foundation is committed to promoting educational equity and opportunity through the entire region that we serve,” said Sara Sneed, Director of Education Investments for the Hartford Foundation. “Hartford Community Schools represent a proven model of school improvement and student support that results in better academic outcomes for students and schools as well as significantly increased community engagement in student learning and student success.”


The community school model has been cited by the State Department of Education, Hartford Public Schools and others as a stabilizing force among Hartford schools, due in large part to community schools’ focus on school culture and climate alongside academics and developmental gains. Overall, Hartford Community Schools presently serve more than 4,000 students and connect the schools with more than 60 community partnerships, including partnerships with area universities, health care providers, cultural organizations and others.


The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $630 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.

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Gateway Community College Praised for Ed Reform

NEW HAVEN — Gateway Community College was recently identified by the U.S. Department of Education as excelling in the area of student acceleration. Gateway’s Resource, Education and Training Center was recognized for several programs including a free 3-week summer and winter intercession Math and English Boot Camp which includes coursework on College Competencies 101, Financial Aid, New Student Orientation and Documents needed for School. Staff also meets one-on-one with students to monitor progress.

The initiative, spearheaded by the  Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), supports President Obama’s, and the U.S. Department of Education’s goals for accelerated learning, is “an investment aimed at identifying successful programs at community colleges across the United States in the areas of acceleration, contextualization, hybrid, and student supports.” 

GCC President, Dr. Dorsey Kendrick, Victoria Bozzuto, Dean of Workforce Development and Community Partnerships, and Erika Lynch, Director of Workforce Development will be in  Washington, D.C for the Thought Leaders’ Summit on September 23. The Summit brings together the four validated sites (LaGuardia Community College, Gateway Community College, Amarillo Community College and St. Louis Community College) with other community college and adult education practitioners and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to review the finding of the validation and discuss the next steps moving forward. The Summit will also offer participants an opportunity to provide feedback on how initiatives for the upcoming year can support future efforts of community colleges and adult education sectors.

The initiative, conducted by the Manhattan Strategy Group, is an investment aimed at identifying successful programs at community colleges across the United States in the areas of acceleration, contextualization, hybrid, and student supports. It seeks to identify how community colleges are aligning with adult education programs to support low-performing students in furthering their post-secondary education and employment goals.

The goal of the Reform is to identify community colleges to be validated, identify alignment practices between developmental and adult education, design validation rubrics, convene a task force, validate alignment practices at community college sites and provide technical assistance product development. The validation process involves interviews with key staff as well as document review. The four validated sites including Gateway Community College are also under consideration for a U.S. Department of Education grant to be announced in 2017.

For additional information about the Education’s Supporting Student Success: Adult Education and Remedial Education Reform in Community Colleges initiative contact Vicki Bozzuto, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at (203) 285-2408

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Connecticut Education Reform is Failing Our Students

By Wayne Winsley

The far-reaching and (depending upon who you ask) controversial decision of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ordered the state of Connecticut to come up with a new funding formula for public schools, devise clear standards for both the elementary and high school levels, overhaul the state’s system of evaluating teachers, principals and superintendents, and change the way Connecticut funds special education services.

All well and good from the policy side, but let us not forget the other end of the equation. Any real education reform must take the actual students into account.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionThis court case was launched over 11 years ago. Many of the students who were in school at that time have been pushed through the educational system and we are still paying to feed them either via welfare system or the penal system.

What about the students who are in our schools right now?

What are we doing to help them do better?

As a teacher, (I’m a middle school history teacher), I can say with certainty that whether a school is rich, poor, or in between, there is no “policy” that can make a child study if he or she doesn’t want to.

The dropout rate cannot be substantially reduced without giving students a compelling reason to stick with their education.

Raising student achievement cannot be accomplished without students who are motivated to achieve.

To close the achievement gap, we have to pull from both sides.

Governor. Dannel P. Malloy says, “We know that to improve outcomes for all Connecticut students and to close persistent achievement gaps, we need to challenge the status quo and take bold action.”

I agree 100 percent. It is time to take action to save the students that are currently struggling in too many of our schools.

While the politicians and lawyers bicker about what needs to be done and how to pay for it, we must throw a lifeline to our children that are sinking right now.

As Judge Moukawsher pointed out, Connecticut’s poorest schools are posting results worse than the poorest schools of 40 other states and is no better than the other nine.

Our children deserve better.

To close the achievement gap we must work from both ends. We must give our students the tools to achieve AND we must increase our students desire to achieve.

Wayne Winsley is Executive Director of an educational nonprofit that provides motivational programming and scholarships to in-need schools.

He is also a history teacher at Faith Preparatory Academy in New Milford


Wayne Winsley is the Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

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Obama Movie Features First Date with Michelle

The film about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s first date  in 1989 earned about $3 million at the box office.

“Southside With You,” which transports the viewer to a Chicago outing between Obama and then Michelle Robinson after they meet at a law firm, premiered in 813 theaters this weekend, grossing $3.1 million, according to studio estimates.

The limited-release film finished 13th at the box office. The film was released by Roadside Attractions and Miramax.

The highest grossing film of the week was “Don’t Breathe,” a horror film that pulled in $26.1 million at 3,051 locations. It also premiered this weekend. It was followed by “Suicide Squad,” with $12.1 million, and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” with $7.9 million.

“Southside With You,” which stars Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama and Tika Sumpter as Michelle Robinson, debuted at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in January 2006. The movie was written and directed by Richard Tanne.

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High School Tech Career Fair in New Haven

NEW HAVEN  — Students, parents, and community members will celebrate students’ graduation from a unique summer program preparing them for introductory careers and certifications in a range technical careers this August.

The event scheduled for Aug. 26 at Bregamos Community Theatre on Blatchley Ave. will be from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Organizers said that the Career Pathways Collaborative Summer Academy gives students the opportunity to earn credentials, school credit, math and reading skills, financial literacy, and social-emotional skills to better access their regular education and to prepare for productive lives post-graduation, said Jason Bartlett, Director of New Haven Youth Services and the Youth Stat initiative.

The Career Pathways TECH Collaborative, developed and operated by The Justice Education Center, Inc., is a public/private partnership with multiple sponsors, most importantly, the City of New Haven, the New Haven Board of Education, the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division, the Department of Justice, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association/CBIA Education Foundation, the Charter Oak Group, and Integrated Wellness Group.

“The Career Pathways TECH Collaborative recognizes that there are many avenues for a successful career and selecting a career using a student’s aptitudes. The Career Pathways Collaborative provides motivated high school students the opportunity to match their aptitudes and interests in projected growth industries in Connecticut,” said Sherry Haller, Executive Director of The Justice Education Center. “I am grateful that we are able to work hand-in-hand with Mayor Toni Harp and the New Haven Board of Education, CSSD, and the Connecticut Technical High School System to make these opportunities a reality for our youth”, she said.

For more information about the Career Pathways TECH Collaborative, contact Sherry Haller, Executive Director of The Justice Education Center, Inc., at 860-231-8180 or

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Job Corps Offers Career Opportunities

WETHERSFIELD — The federally-funded Job Corps program is now offering in-demand skills programs for 16 and 24 year olds.

Job Corps provides students with opportunities to receive a variety of technical training that can lead to jobs in healthcare, business services, construction and advanced manufacturing. In addition to on-the-job training and academics, the program helps students earn a high school diploma, provides job placement and retention help, and continuing support services following graduation. Students also receive life skills training, career counseling, social skills and healthcare assistance, residential housing, a bi-weekly living allowance, driver’s education and an annual clothing allowance.

Connecticut offers two Job Corps locations, each offering a variety of educational opportunities. Programs at the Hartford Job Corps Academy include business technology, insurance and  financial services, advanced manufacturing, and health occupations for certified nursing assistant and clinical medical assistant.

Programs at the New Haven Job Corps Center include culinary arts, facilities maintenance, carpentry, and health occupations for certified nursing assistant, clinical medical assistant, and emergency medical technician.

Students qualifying for Job Corps Advanced Career Training program are eligible to continue their education at local colleges and universities or may transfer to another Job Corps campus that offers advanced training in their field of choice.

Those interested in learning more about the Job Corps program are welcome to attend a weekly tour offered at either campus. Tours of the Hartford Job Corps Academy, held 9 a.m. every Monday, can be scheduled by calling (860) 952-1744 or (860) 952-1704.

Tours of the New Haven Job Corps Center, offered 9:45 a.m. on Tuesdays, can be arranged by calling (203) 907-4303.


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President Obama Honors Connecticut Students

WASHINGTON, DC. – Two Connecticut teachers are among more than 200 mathematics and science teachers named as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

These awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The educators will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Sept. 8.

The two awardees are Liesl Fressola, of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Science and Nicole Gilson, Peck Place School, Mathematics in Orange.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.

The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Each nomination year of the award alternates between teachers in the kindergarten through 6th grade level, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion, and are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.

President Obama and his Administration have taken significant steps to strengthen education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in order to fully harness the promise our Nation’s students. The President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, launched in November 2009, has resulted in more than $1 billion in private investment for improving K-12 STEM education. Additionally, in 2011, the President set an ambitious goal to put 100,000 additional excellent STEM teachers in America’s classrooms by 2021.

For more information visit,


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