Tag Archive | "Hartford Public Schools"

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77-Year Old Grandmother to Graduate High School

By David Medina, Contributor

HARTFORD — Betty Ayers spent most of her 77 years raising children. She raised two of her own, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

On June 5, she will get up on the stage at the Bulkeley High School Auditorium and receive the high school diploma she earned as one of 145 graduates of Hartford Public Schools’ Adult Education Center.

Inspired by her life’s story, the staff at the center at 110 Washington Street also selected Ayers to address her fellow graduates at the commencement ceremony.

Ayers said that, during her many years of raising children, she was constantly seeking out government programs that provided her with opportunities to study English, Math and typing. Under the city’s Senior Aid Program, she worked in customer service in the Office of the Mayor from 2003 to 2008, when her position was eliminated.

She enrolled in the Adult Education program last year, she says, because the only way to get ahead in life is to have a diploma.

“It has been a great pleasure to have Ms. Ayers in our program,” said Thomas A. Blake, the center’s social worker. “She has served as a role model for our students and shared her wisdom with both students and staff.”

The center will present diplomas from both the GED Preparation Program and the National External Diploma Program, which assesses the high school level skills of adults, like Ms. Ayers, based on their life and work experiences. Hartford State Representative Angel Arce will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

According to Dr. Tina Jeter, the director of the center, 95 percent of the graduating students there are employed and many have amazing stories to tell of perseverance and overcoming barriers to earn their diploma. We welcome your coverage of this event.


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Hartford Students Slated for Model United Nations

HARTFORD —  A record 62 high school students from Hartford Public Schools will join more than 700 of their colleagues from across the state this weekend as delegates to the annual Model United Nations Plenary Session, sponsored for more than 60 years by the World Affairs Council of Connecticut.

The session will take place Friday, Dec. 6, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave. in West Hartford.

The Model U.N. is a simulated meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in which student teams, each representing member nations, meet and discuss ways to resolve the most pressing issues occurring around the world.

Participants research their countries, take on roles as diplomats of those countries, investigate international issues, debate within parliamentary rules and procedures, consult and develop solutions to world problems, and ultimately they vote on those solutions.

“What an ideal way to help prepare our future leaders in education, government, business and philanthropy to make life-changing decisions that impact future generations,” said Hartford Schools Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto. “The Model U.N. challenges their thinking, hones their decision-making skills and their ability to collaborate with others and broadens their world perspective.”

Among Hartford Public Schools, a team from Bulkeley High School will represent Colombia; teams from Capital Preparatory Magnet School will represent Germany and Norway; High School Inc. will represent Greece; the Law and Government Academy will represent Sri Lanka and Singapore; and Classical Magnet School will represent Syria.

“We are very proud of the participation from Hartford Public Schools this year,” said Megan Torrey, Interim Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut. “Our Model U.N. program provides an opportunity for student to tackle complex global issues and develop lifelong skills that enhance their competiveness in the global workforce.”

Preparations for the Model U.N. begin in September, when representatives from the participating schools meet to choose the topics that could be discussed. A variety of topics are designated to one of four committees; the Political Committee, the Economic Committee, the Environmental Committee and the Humanitarian Committee. Student delegates in each committee then choose a topic the will stimulate debate and foster increased understanding of each committee’s focus. As part of their preparations, the participants also get to attend briefings with real world diplomats at the United Nations in New York City.

This year, the Political Committee will debate U.N. Security Council Reform; the Economic Committee will debate Global Partnership for Development; the Environmental Committee will debate Sustainable Transportation; and the Humanitarian Committee will debate Corporate Social Responsibility.

The following is a list of the Hartford students participating in the Model U.N. session and the schools they represent:


Bulkeley High School:

Abdirizak Abdirizak, Kevin Bedon, Chardia Campbell, Cuifen Chen, Kamara Garcia,

Ahmed Guster, Moira Hooks, Amina Huric, Samir Mustafic, Jose Ramirez, Romaine Thomas, Gaitri Tulsie.


Capital Preparatory Magnet School:

Daniel Augustus, Jazmine Alicea, Miguel Badillo, Monifah Baltimore, Marquise Clarke, Emma Knauerhase, Nashaly Olivieri, Joseph Priester, Cassandra Spann, Madison Vidal, Cole Zajack, Haddiyyah Ali, Ashli Beamon, Eric Bergen, Ilhan Braxton, Shawn Hilton Bush, Janay Diaz, Lakisha Malave, Chad Hill, Aleyah Seabrook, Emmett Riddick, Ronald Watson, Vanessa Williams.


High School Inc.:

Amberleigh Delgado, Madyson Frame, Roy Scott, Vinecia Thaxter.


Law and Government Academy:

Xavier Arriaga, Paola Hernandez, Ashley Jimenez, Natasha Ruiz, Nora Dweh, Valery Alegre, Abigail Velazquez, Mikal Lee, Anthony Thomas, Ivan Del Rio, Carissa Dullary.


Classical Magnet School:

Michael Demers, Chantel Tetreault, Kathryn Hedrick, Fiona Aufiero, Joy Vincenzo, Alex Vertefeuille, Matthew Puzio.


Participating schools:

Metropolitan Learning Center, Bloomfield; Lewis S. Mills High School, Burlington; Canton High School, Parish Hill High School, Chaplin; CT IB Academy, East Hartford;, CT River Academy, East Hartford; East Hartford High School, Enfield High School, Farmington High School, Glastonbury High School, Granby Memorial High School, Lyman Memorial High School, Lebanon; East Catholic High School, Manchester; North Branford High School, RHAM, The Ethel Walker School, Simsbury; Simsbury High School, South Windsor High School, Southington High School, E.O. Smith High School, Storrs; Suffield High School, Hall High School, West Hartford; Northwest Catholic High School, West Hartford; The Master’s School, West Simsbury; Westbrook High School, Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy, Windsor; Wolcott High School.

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Dr. Kishimoto to Exit HPS in 2014, Now What?

By Nyesha McCauley, Op-Ed Contributor

The Hartford Public School District is on course for more changes and challenges in the coming months. Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto’s current contract to run the school district will not be extended past next year, and she will be gone on or before June 30, 2014.  She had requested a two-year extension, but that was rejected by a 7-0-1 vote at last Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Mayor Pedro Segarra and Board Chair Matt Poland have released statements explaining how the Board has come to this decision.  It is good to publicly hear the Board Members’ thoughts on this to better understand the values they hold as they shape the educational destiny for Hartford children.  Forums and community meetings will present further opportunities to ask questions and explore this decision.

As a parent of a child in the school district – or as a resident – you have seen major changes in the school system in the last six years.  These have included smaller learning academies and magnet, community and charter schools designed  to turn around low performance.  All of these changes are evidence that leadership at the top really, really matters.

The decisions made by the Board of Education to start a search for a new superintendent will most certainly impact parents, students and teachers where it matters most – in the classroom.  Just think: a kindergartener starting in the 2006-2007 school year, at the beginning of the reform, will enter seventh grade this fall.    Have her or his educational experiences been enhanced by the reform? What are the opportunities that exist for this student? Is s/he a high achieving student in a high performing school?

hartford-public-schoolsThe city now faces a tall order: finding our next great superintendent. This process – which residents of Hartford must be a part of – will determine whether or not  every student in Hartford graduates ready for the world, through college or career, because that is the job of any school superintendent.  Holding the next superintendent accountable to this great task is on the parents and community, but first we have to hold the Board accountable for finding that person. Process matters, and the city of Hartford is ready to be involved and do its part to sustain this reform.

Nyesha McCauley is the communication director for Achieve HartfordFeatured Photo: WTNH.

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Hartford Schools Receive Another $4.1 Million

HARTFORD — Members of Hartford’s corporate and philanthropic community on Tuesday committed $4.1 million to launch the Hartford Promise, a college access program and scholarship fund proposed by Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto, as an incentive to boost student achievement and contribute to the city’s economic growth.

Beginning with the class of 2016, the Hartford Promise will award up to $5,000 a year to every eligible Hartford resident student, attending a four-year college, who is enrolled in Hartford Public Schools since at least ninth grade, graduates with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and meets district attendance criteria. Studentswho plan to go to two-year colleges would receive $2,500 a year and students who opt to pursue a master’s degree in education would receive an additional year of support.

Today’s donation is more than a third of the $12 million that the Hartford Promise expects to raise overall to support the scholarships through the year 2023.

Flanked by the donors and the Hartford Promise “champions”, Superintendent Kishimoto announced the donation at a press conference Tuesday morning in the auditorium of Hartford Public High School on Forrest Street. Also joining her was Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

“The Hartford Promise is real now,” Superintendent Kishimoto said. “It will better enable our young people to have an impact on the world.”

The announcement included a ceremony in which 16 freshmen, one from each of the district’s high schools and themed academies, joined the superintendent on stage and recited a pledge to meet the requirements of the Hartford Promise by the time they graduate in 2016.

“Long-term economic growth in our city is impossible if our students don’t receive a high quality education,”  Mayor Pedro E. Segarra said. “The more investment we make the more likely we are to have a trained workforce prepared for the competitive job market and the more likely they will remain to fill the jobs that exist here.”


The champions, whose role is to advocate, advise and raise the remainder of the funds for the Hartford Promise, include: Mayor Segarra; Robert E. Patricelli, Chairman, President and CEO of Women’s Health USA; Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of The Travelers Cos. Inc.; Ramani Ayer, former CEO and Chairman of The Hartford; Jeffrey A. Flaks, President and CEO of Hartford Hospital; Oz Griebel, President and CEO of the Metro Hartford Alliance; Marlene Ibsen, CEO and President of the Travelers Foundation; Linda Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; Andrew Lord, Partner, Murtha Cullina law firm and George Weiss, founder of the Say Yes To Education Foundation.

Today’s $4.1 million donation came from six contributors: The Travelers Foundation ($2 million); Hartford Hospital ($1 million); the Say Yes to Education Foundation ($500,000); Mr. Ayer ($300,000); Newman’s Own Foundation ($200,000) and Mr. Patricelli ($100,000). Mr. Bessette and Mr. Patricelli have been named co- chairs of the Hartford Promise. Mr. Ayer will serve as fundraising chair. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving will act as the fiscal agent for the fund and the Murtha Cullina law firm will be the program’s pro bono legal counsel.

The Hartford Promise is modeled after similar programs that have developed since 2005 in many districts across the United States, including San Francisco,

Denver, Pittsburgh, New Haven and Kalamazoo, MI. Promise programs tend to have distinctive funding sources and different eligibility requirements. But they are all based on the principle that investing in education is an effective way to foster community well being and economic development, in that they stabilize school enrollment and create an educated workforce that is likely to remain in the area and keep local businesses competitive, officials said.

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Hartford Public Schools Kicks Off National Drive for Early Reading Proficiency

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and City leaders Join National Drive For Early Childhood Reading Proficiency.  Kishimoto is reading the book “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” to a first-grade class at the Betances Early Reading Lab School, as part of the Jumpstart Read for the Record campaign.

Photo: Univision

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Hartford Schools to Kick Off College Month

HARTFORD — Hartford Public Schools on Monday will launch a month-long series a month-long series of events designed to help students and families eliminate real or perceived barriers to a college education.

The ceremony will be the first of many activities in October as part of “College and Career Awareness Month.” and is scheduled to begin at 10: 30 a.m. in  Trinity College’s Vernon Social Center at 114 Vernon Street in Hartford.

School officials said the objective of these events is to help make parents and students mindful that being well prepared to attend college is the ultimate goal of an education at the district.

Officials of local area colleges and universities and recent graduates of Hartford Public Schools, who are now attending college, will join Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and other officials, including James F. Jones, Jr., President of Trinity College and member of the Board of Directors of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education; Mark Scheinberg, President of Goodwin College; Kathy A. Butler, Ph. D., Dean of the School of Education at St. Joseph College; Carl R. Lovitt, Ph. D., Provost of Central Connecticut State University; Hartford Public School alumni; and students from throughout the Hartford portfolio of schools.

The centerpieces of “College and Career Awareness Month” will be the district’s administration of the PSAT and SAT college entrance examinations on Oct. 17th.

The schedule of events will also include a district-wide display board contest; screenings of the film documentary “First Generation” about students who are the first in their families to attend college and a financial literacy workshop to teach parents how to access free grants and scholarships.

For a list of events, throughout  October, please click this: Schedule of Events during College and Career Awareness Month.


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Hartford Touts “Impressive Gains”

By Melissa Flynn, Contributor

HARTFORD — Hartford Public Schools 2011 Connecticut Mastery Test and Connecticut Academic Performance Test scores show “overall improvement,” school officials said Monday.

Flanked by administrators, staff, teachers and supporters, outgoing Hartford Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski officially unveiled the district’s test results and gave context, saying they were “transformative.”

Compared to test scores five years ago when Adamowski began, the district scores showed “marked improvement” in the 2011 test scores released by the state last Wednesday. In the 2011 report, 33 percent of the district’s third graders met the state’s proficiency goal, up from 15 percent in 2006. Only 29 percent of fourth-graders and 22 percent of fifth graders reached proficiency in reading.

Grade six students posted the highest gain with 48 percent having met goal in reading, 42 percent in math and 39 percent in writing, according to state data.

The graduation rate was unavailable, but school officials said that “so far it does look promising.”

“There have been impressive gains, said newly appointed School Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Other major achievements were noted. For example, some of the schools with the greatest gains were Opportunity High, Culinary Arts and Engineering and Green Technology Academy.

Among the schools showing the greatest Overall School Index (OSI) are Montessori with 92.2 percent, Webster Micro Society with 85.7, University High with 83.8, Hartford Magnet Middle with 82.8.

Schools showing the greatest improvement include seventh graders at Noah Webster’s Micro Society Magnet School at 79 percent master, Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts at 78 percent and Breakthrough Magnet School at 71.

With all the progress and hopeful thoughts floating around, Chair of Hartford Board of Education David McDonald said: “This has been a desperate five years, but we have had growth and that is pretty incredible.”

And before everyone proceeds to enjoy the refreshments and further conversations, Mayor Pedro Segarra basks for a moment in the “good news for the city.”

“Let’s not forget where we started, cause behind these charts are children and families,’ Segarra said. “These students are the future of our state.”

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Hartford Officials Sign ‘Synergistic’ Plan

HARTFORD — Hartford Public Schools will be a laboratory for the University of Hartford as officials on Wednesday move forward to “synergize” reform efforts in city schools.

During a ceremony at the Betances Early Reading Lab School on Charter Oak Avenue, Superintendent-designate Christina Kishimoto and University President Walter Harris signed an agreement  to implement a partnership that allows University students, faculty and staff to engage in classroom and administrative research.

In return, Hartford School officials and teachers are allowed to take professional development classes and collaborate with university faculty. Students would continue to take college-level courses.

Officials said the goal of this first-ever system-wide affiliation is to increase educational and research opportunities that benefit University and HPS students and faculty.

“I believe that, working together, we can make Hartford a national leader in education reform.  We can be a leader in quality education within an urban environment,” said President Harrison (seated on the right in photo). “This is a dream I believe we all share.  With today’s signing, I believe it is a dream within reach!”

As part of this agreement, Hartford students will continue to enroll in college-level courses at the University. In addition, University education majors will have priority placement in Hartford schools for internships and teaching positions, clinical placements, and other training opportunities. Also, Hartford Public School administrators and faculty will be able to take courses at the University.

“This partnership with the University of Hartford provides our teachers the opportunity to have their practice informed by the research of the university faculty,” Dr. Kishimoto said.(seated center and next to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in photo) the university faculty would likewise use applied practice by our teachers to inform their research.”

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Hartford Schools Select Finalists For Teaching Award

HARTFORD — Who will be Hartford’s teacher of the year?

That question will be answered on May 25 at the annual Hartford Public School Teacher of the Year banquet to be held at the Society Room downtown.

After an intensive screening and interview process by a district-wide committee, three teachers were selected last week as finalists.

The committee of Hartford Public School curriculum directors, the teachers union and two former winners selected Corinne Clark, a sixth grad teacher at Clark Elementary School and a Kappa Delta Pi; Timothy R. Clemens Jr., a seventh an eight-grade social studies teacher at Naylor Elementary School and Tracy Weisel, a special education and reading teacher at the Hartford Journalism and Media Academy at Weaver High School. Each teacher has worked in the district for at least seven years. 

Nominees, among to her things, had to be tenured K-12 teachers in Hartford schools, had to exhibit exemplary teaching skills and show commitment to the belief that all children can learn. They also had to show that they are active in the community and humanitarian affairs, school officials said.

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Hartford Board of Education To Tackle School-based Seniority Tonight

HARTFORD —  City officials want the state to help them retain senior teachers for magnet, redesigned  and charter schools.

The  Hartford Board of Education tonight  will discussed a proposed resolution requesting that the State Board of Education take corrective action to apply school and program-based seniority in Hartford.

The board meeting is scheduled for tonight a 5: 30 p.m. at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy at 280 Huyshope Ave.

The reason outlined for this proposal is that, among other things, school-based seniority protects senior teachers from being bumped from these special schools in favor of “those not qualified,” according to the list of justifications sent out to the press.

For more information on the district’ school based seniority proposal, download information here: School-Based Seniority – Supporting Document-1.

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