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 hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
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
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.
This 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 BraveEnoughToFail.org 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
The Golf Channel will televise live from 3-6 p.m. today and you can also follow along all day on our live leaderboard (below).
Bubba Watson is the defending champion, and he has won this event three times. He is the only player ranked in the top 10 set to play.
The Travelers Championship will also provide an Olympic preview because three-quarters of the U.S. men’s Olympic golf team will play together in this event. Watson, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed are scheduled to go out as a trio today and Friday for the first two rounds. Rickie Fowler, the fourth member of the team, will skip the event because he will be in Rio.
PGA TOUR TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP Site: Cromwell, Conn. Course:TPC River Highlands. Yardage: 6,841. Par: 70. Purse: $6.6 million (First place: $1,188,000). TV: Golf Channel (Today-Friday, 3-6 p.m.; CBS Sports (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m.); Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m.). Defending champion: Bubba Watson Last week: Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship for his first major. Notes: The tournament, typically played the week after the U.S. Open, moved to the first week in August because of the Olympics. … Bubba Watson is turning down opening ceremonies at the Olympics to defend his title. This was his first victory, and the only one his father saw him win on TV before dying. … Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed also are in the field, making three of the four Americans who are in the Olympics. Reed is No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings, while Kuchar is at No. 11. Watson now is No. 9. … Three other Olympians are in the field — Padraig Harrington, Alex Cejka and Soren Kjeldsen. … Rickie Fowler, at No. 12 in the Ryder Cup standings, has not finished in the top 10 at a major since 2014. … Harrington moved to No. 129 in the FedEx Cup with his tie for 13th in the PGA Championship. This will be his last chance to secure a spot in the top 125 because he will spend two weeks in Rio for the Olympics. … Jimmy Walker now has won in each of the last four years on the PGA Tour. … Jason Day became the first player to post all four rounds in the 60s in consecutive PGA Championships. … The tournament has gone to a playoff six of the last 12 times. Next week: John Deere Classic.
(The Associated Press and Cleveland Plaindealer contributed to this report)Photo Courtesy of Golf Week.
NEW HAVEN — Two brothers from New Haven were arrested on Wednesday and charged with illegally collecting more than $10,000 each in Unemployment Compensation benefits from the State of Connecticut while they were staying in Ecuador.
Cesar I. Zuniga, 42, and Jorge P. Zuniza, 41, both of 135 Lexington Ave. in New Haven, were arrested by Inspectors from the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and charged with Larceny in the First Degree and Unemployment Compensation Fraud.
The arrest is the result of an investigation into a complaint by the Connecticut Department of Labor, which received an anonymous tip that the brothers worked in Connecticut eight months a year and then collected unemployment while spending four months in Ecuador.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Cesar Zuniga collected $10,752 in benefits and Jorge Zuniga collected $10,166 from December 2015 through April 2016 when they both were in Ecuador. In order to be eligible for Unemployment Compensation, claimants must be available and able to work and actively seeking employment in Connecticut.
The two were released on $10,000 non-surety bond each and are scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court, G.A. No. 15, on August 11, 2016. The charges are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty.
HARTFORD — Melanie Trump might be the first immigrant First Lady. But before the nation gets her into the White House, it’s apt to explore six degrees–or less–of separation with The Hartford Guardian‘s own first at the White House: Ann-Marie Adams.
In 1987, Ann Marie Rose Mesquita was on the road to the White House as the first black First Lady.
But Providence stepped in when she was a kid in the Blue Hills section of Hartford, Conn. Since then, she has embodied the classic Harriet Alger story. She is a journalist and a historian. And she recently learned from FBI sources that she’s the real Olivia Pope, the main character in the hit ABC series: Scandal.
In 1989, she her best friend invited her to live in New York. After satisfying her wanderlust in Milwaukee and other states, she worked as a model and actress in Manhattan. In1992, she worked for the Black Fashion Museum and produced a variety of programs at the Minisink Town House in Harlem, New York and was an active member of the Harlem fashion community and worked with Lois Alexander Lane, founder of the museum and Adam’s mentor. She also helped produced the Harlem Week Fashion show. She then met and married her husband in 1993. Now Ann Marie Rose Mesquita Adams, she started her career as a staff writer at Brooklyn College’s Excelsior newspaper in spring 1995, where she was editor in chief. In 1996, she became editor-in-chief of the Kingsman, cutting her teeth as a journalist in New York and developing her…um… sixth sense as an investigative reporter.
“I have developed a journalist’s instinct, which has served me for about two decades,” Adams said while sitting in the Legislative Office Building’s cafeteria in Hartford. “That’s why my colleagues said I have good instincts akin to a sixth sense. I’m truly amazed at how I’ve survived in the journalism business this long because of that instinct.”
In January 2004, the award-winning journalist founded The Hartford Guardian and the online magazine publication, which began in October 2008. Since then, she has covered in 2010 Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez’s corruption trial, which led to the court overturning Perez’s conviction in 2016. Additionally, her reporting about condo associations’ scams helped to shape new laws that protect condo owners. And her story about predatory lending schemes and the foreclosure crisis by financial institutions in 2007 led to new laws in Connecticut. Adams has also covered the 1999 Columbine shootings in Denver, Colorado, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. and the General Assembly at the United Nations. More recently, her coverage of Obamacare led to President Barack Obama’s administration discovering fraud under the new Affordable Care Act law.
Ann-Marie Adams: pretty and poised in 1992.
This is quite an achievement in the Greater Hartford area, some of her admirers said. That she is the only remaining black, female reporter at a daily publication is akin to the 1960s, according to local residents. During the 1960s, black residents received news from the white press, said Dr. Cedric Rawlings, 89. Rawlings was chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the early 1960s.
“Back then, I don’t remember seeing any black reporters,” Rawlings said. ” We got reports from the white press. So I’m pleased and proud that she’s been around that long and is able to write about positive things in the area.”
Dr. David Williams, who is chairman of the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc., which publishes The Hartford Guardian, concurred with Rawlings.
“I’m really proud of her. She has done a wonderful job shepherding this paper for so long,” Williams said. ” It’s hard to start and maintain a business here, so I understand why [celebrating 12 years of publication] is a tremendous achievement.”
Adams has also been a trailblazer. After she founded The Hartford Guardian in 2004, there have been similar publications such as hers, copying her brand and writing style. Other followers include CTNews Jukie, New Haven Independent and CT Mirror.
That can only be attributed to her ingenuity, Luis Giles said. He added: “And we’re proud of the fact that she’s a distinguished student from a Historically Black College and University: Howard University. I sincerely hope this intellectual racism we’re seeing in CT is addressed by Connecticut residents.”
In 2011, Adams graduated Howard University’s doctoral program with a distinction in United States History and taught U.S. History at Rutger’s University. And in 2012, the journaprenuer (a blend of the words journalist and entrepreneur) was also chosen for the cover of HartfordMagazine for the year of the black woman.
After that, she was on her way to becoming the first Jamaican-American White House Correspondent.
Adams’ path to the White House intersected with Melania’s presumed path to the White House as an immigrant. Both women were models in New York during the 1990s. And both met then Kansas Senator Bob Dole during the 1990s.
Ann-Marie Adams was as a model in New York City during the 1990s.
In 1996, when Melania emigrated to the U.S. from Slovenia, Adams was selected to interview Dole during his presidential campaign stop at Brooklyn College. In 1998, Melania met Donald Trump, who is a friend of Dole. And Dole met Adams.
That’s how Melania Trumped Adams: She and her husband met Dole, who knew about Adams, the smart reporter on campus, her former college buddies said, who should have gone to the New York Times.
Dole, a Brooklyn College alum, has resurfaced in the 2016 election. Dole is also linked to Adams, the award-winning journalist and founder of The Guardian, now in her third year of covering the White House beat. Only Providence can explain that coincidence, Adams said.
Also a local historian, Adams said that if Melania goes into the White House as the first immigrant first lady, it would be because the Republicans show that they are the stronger team to tackle the question of immigration and xenophobia in our country.
Her knowledge of the issues and her six degrees–or less-of separtion from Melania, Adams said, will only help give insights into the White House beat as the first black president finishes his second-term in office as he has yet to finish his plan to tackle immigration reform and other lingering policy issues.
That’s not the only connection Adams has to the White House, however. Her friend, who is a Princeton alum, who lives in Boston, is a friend of a Washington, D.C. resident: Gary Officer. Officer is also a close ally of Michelle Obama.
Celebrating 21 Years of Civic Journalism with Ann Marie Rose Mesquita Adams. Adams’s career spans from 1996 covering Republican Presidential Candidate Bob Dole at Brooklyn College to 2016 covering Democratic President Barack Obama at the White House:
Video with Melanie and Bob Dole:
In 2015 while covering the White House, sources told Adams that she might have been the first immigrant First Lady at the White House–if she had behaved and wasn’t such a workaholic. What unfolded after the Afro-Latina got the news is dubbed the crime of the century: Adams has no wedding plans with any of the presidential candidates. That’s because she was and is perhaps still married to her twin career as a journalist and a historian. As a result, she has displaced an incredible depth and breath as a journopreneur, doing the work of about 10 people.
Ann-Marie Adams, White House in 2015 (top) and Melanie and Michelle (bottom):
None of these women, her colleagues said, work harder than Adams for what they have accomplished so far. Adams, who emigrated from Jamaica in 1987, is now the founder of the first nonprofit news publication in Connecticut. Moreover, Adams believe in keeping her word and holding politicians accountable if they don’t. Her integrity in the Greater Hartford community is why she was trusted to locals to tell their stories, so that leaders could effect change in Connecticut, also known as Corrupticut.
So it’s only apt that we celebrate our journalist in Connecticut, her colleagues and locals said:
“I think she’s made a big contribution to journalism. It’s a big accomplishment to (stay in the business that long). It’s not easy to do,” said a former Hartford Courant colleague: Frances Grandy Taylor. “It takes perserverance.”
As result, she’s “known as a superior writer who has effectively report on the human experience, especially the marginalized. We understand why she’s envied,” said Lansana Koroma, a community organizer. “It was only fitting that we lift her up and thank her for helping to tell our stories.”
Informally ordained as a saint in 2016, Adams has been seeking a prayer-filled and purpose driven life by continuing to give back to her community. She practices civic journalism at The Guardian, a non profit news organization based in Hartford, Conn. A prophet who was baptized at 7-years-old and gave her life to Christ. She was a first a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bloomfield, Conn. and has since visited several churches since 2001 noting the disconnect between the church and the world of news and politics, eschewing the false dichotomy of faith and politics. Her recent encounter with God has given her a new direction in life.
“With The Hartford Guardian, I get to marry faith, politics, history and media,” said Adams who still looks like a 26-year-old ingenue. “I love writing about people who are passionate about God, country and family. This allows me to share the human experience and the larger story of humankind.”
Six Degrees of Separation
Picture of Adams and Bob Dole at Brooklyn College 1996 (top) and Gary Officer and Michelle Obama 2011 (bottom):
All photos courtesy of Ann-Marie Adams and Gary Officer. The comment section is off to prevent xenophobic individuals to be anonymous. Send emails to email@example.com.
Additional reporter by Lansana Koroma, paranormal investigator and community organizer.