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CREC Schools Correspondence on Coronavirus Concerns



In an effort to promote health and safety in light of the developing spread of the Coronavirus (CoVID-19), read up on the latest information on CREC Schools' response.

CREC Sponsoring Social Distancing Video Contest

(Hartford, Conn.) On Tuesday, March 24, CREC Superintendent of Schools Timothy J. Sullivan Jr. announced that CREC is sponsoring a video contest for students to promote the importance of social distancing during a global pandemic.“I cannot overemphasize the importance of social distancing… Stay Safe, Stay Home,” Sullivan’s email to CREC families read. “To help emphasize this point, CREC is sponsoring a video contest. We are asking students to write, direct and/or act in a video that sends a strong message about social distancing.”The email included a link to a form for students to submit their video via URL. The form can be found at http://www.crec.org/c/sdvidcontest“It can be a music video, comedy, sci-fi, documentary, animation, Public Service Announcement, etc.,” Sullivan said.The rules for submission are:1) Submit a link of a video that must be posted to YouTube (unlisted), Vimeo (private link), or Google Drive (shared with anyone with link)2) Your video cannot be longer than 60 seconds3) Must be written, directed, and performed by PreK-12 public school student(s) from Connecticut4) Must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 5.5) Students working collaboratively must do so remotely Contest winners will be decided by a panel of impartial judges, yet to be named, and the prizes are $400 for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third. Winning videos and runners-up will be shared publicly, and winners will be announced at the end of April.“We think the best way to get students to listen to the message about social distancing is for them to hear it from each other,” said Sullivan about the motivation for such an endeavor. “The contest lets them find their voice around a critical issue in a medium they have mastered. We see it as a win-win.”An anonymous $700 donation to the CREC Foundation, designated for multimedia enrichment, will fund the prizes.The contest and prizes are sponsored by CREC, but it is open to all students in Connecticut, and CREC hopes that other area superintendents share with their families as well. ###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 and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Discovery Academy's Butterfly Garden Recognized by National Wildlife Foundation

(Wethersfield, Conn.) Students and staff at CREC Discovery Academy in Wethersfield successfully created a Certified Schoolyard Habitat® in the butterfly garden outside their school. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, approved the recognition through their Garden for Wildlife program, officially on October 8. Discovery Academy joins over 5,000 schools nationwide that have transformed their schoolyards into thriving wildlife habitats that provide essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young. The habitat, part of the school’s Bioswale (rain garden) installed in spring 2019, also serves as an outdoor education site where students can engage in cross-curricular learning in a hands-on way. Certification also makes the NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat® part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitats for pollinators. “We are excited to have another school join our growing list of more than 5,000 certified Schoolyard Habitats,” said Liz Soper, Director of K-12 Programs for National Wildlife Federation. “Kids can now personally experience nature through hands-on learning in an outdoor environment,” Discovery Academy’s Bioswale is used for scientific plant observations with students. In the spring each year, PreK students release butterflies they hatch in the classroom. The goal was to get the area certified as a wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. In March, the school’s STEM Coach, Clare Neseralla, applied for and received a $400 mini-grant from the Connecticut Ornithological Association to add more bird and butterfly friendly features to attract wildlife. She also included student-made binoculars and birdhouses. “I saw the butterfly garden as an opportunity to teach the students about native plants and learn more about the environment,” said Neseralla, an avid gardener who also supports the school’s rooftop garden and PreK garden beds. “The observations of wildlife through binoculars opens up a whole new world of nature. Now that the garden is certified we can promote more gardens in Connecticut by sharing this project and placing the NWF signs in the garden.”The butterfly garden is a true homegrown project. A Discovery Academy grandfather, Jim Woodworth, helped select and plant the bird and butterfly-friendly plants. All plants purchased are native to Connecticut from the Connecticut Conservancy annual plant sale at Auer Farm in Bloomfield. Students in Kindergarten and parents helped clear a corner of the bioswale for the butterfly garden.According to NWF, “the Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive… It encourages planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. Each of the nearly 200,000 certified locations provides food, water, cover and places to raise young. This makes yards, schools, businesses, places of worship, campuses, parks, farms and other community-based landscapes into wildlife sanctuaries.” CREC Discovery Academy’s website is http://da.crecschools.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 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

Over 3000 Members of Hartford Community Celebrate 5th Annual CREC Back to School Block Party

(Hartford, CT) Hundreds of families from Hartford and surrounding towns attended the Fifth Annual CREC Back to School Block Party on Wednesday, August 14, a free community event hosted by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) and CREC Foundation, to celebrate the upcoming school year and prepare students for class with a backpack and school supplies giveaway. This year the lead sponsor was Owens Realty, who provided the largest financial contribution to the event. To commemorate the fifth anniversary, CREC closed a portion of Charter Oak Avenue to make extra space for the event. “I’ve always said it’s my favorite event of the year. It’s so important to give back to the region and to make sure kids are ready to go back to school and feel ready to go back to school,” said CREC Executive Director Greg Florio.Hartford Fire and Police departments, Our Piece of the Pie, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, Access Health CT, Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, and Girl Scouts of CT were among more than 30 local organizations that offered information and resources to parents throughout the event. The block party kicked off at 3 p.m. with free balloons, snacks, and activities that included a “Hope Line” where children wrote their hope for the school year. Over 75 free haircuts provided by Puerto Pelo by Mary and Connecti-Cuts, a fitness workout led by Sudor Taino, raffles, field games, origami tutorials, a puppet show, and ice cream provided by Ice Cream for a Dream were among the event’s attractions. The Back-to-School Block Party’s main event was the giveaway, with 1,200 backpacks filled with school supplies given to children from the Hartford area. Hot 93.7 broadcasted live from the Block Party.“No matter what school a child attends, we are committed to helping them start the school year in a positive way,” said Superintendent of CREC Schools Tim Sullivan. “It’s our number one goal.”El Bori and Rolling Dish food trucks were stationed on the closed street offering affordable, $5 prix fixe menus to the attendees.In addition to Owens, contributions from sponsors, including Aetna, Voya Financial, the Ryan T. Lee Foundation, Global Atlantic Financial, Air Temp, Downes Construction, Friar Architecture, and from CREC employees, were used to purchase the backpacks and school supplies. Members of the community also dropped off donations of school supplies at the CREC “Fill-A-Van” event at the Rocky Hill Walmart on July 25 and 26. The event was free and open to anyone from the Greater Hartford area.###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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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