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Capitol Region Education Council

Press Room

Contacts

For Press inquiries:
Hilda Muñoz
Communications Specialist
Central Office: (860) 509-3663
Email: himunoz@crec.org

For other information:
Aura Alvarado
Director of Communications and Community Relations
Central Office: (860) 524-4065
Cell Phone: (860) 490-9676
Email: aalvarado@crec.org

Recent Press Releases

CREC Arts Academy Spring Musical “In the Heights” Infused with Hip Hop, Salsa and a Diverse, Talented Cast

(Hartford, CT) When the curtains go up at this year’s spring musical at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, the audience will experience Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning, “In the Heights,” through a diverse and talented cast, many of whom relate to the musical on multiple levels. Infused with Hip Hop and Latin music, “In the Heights” was chosen partly because the academy could satisfy its diverse casting needs. To keep the choreography legitimate, the director, Brian Jennings, did something he’s never done before – he allowed a student, junior Dajmon Peele, to contribute to the choreography for “96,000,”one of the musical numbers in the show. “A lot of collaboration went into the choreography. There are bits and pieces of ourselves in the show,” said Cassandra Pagliaruli, 17, a half day student from Berlin High School.“I just love Lin-Manuel and his work, plus this show hits close to home and has had a big influence on my life,” said Aamahri Nicholson, 15, a half-day student from Windsor High School.Director Brian Jennings said auditions to find the right voices for the scores and roles, and cast members with the ability to fill the style of choreography, among other skills, were held for about a week in December. Thirty students in grades 10 to 12 were selected and have been rehearsing daily since February. In addition, there are five students in the orchestra, and approximately 30 on the stage crew, which includes creating costumes, working with lights and building sets. Jennings, a Hartford-based actor, director and playwright, has been at the CREC Arts Academy for 20 years. He said holding rehearsals while the cast is on a school schedule can be challenging, but working with the students is worth it.“There’s something about catching a young artist at an intersection in their lives when their paths are not yet determined and being able to impact their lives as they make their decisions. It’s remarkable and rewarding. It’s why so many of us stick around as long as we do,” said Jennings.In the Heights” is scheduled on April 28 and 29, and May 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Theatre of the Performing Arts, 359 Washington Street in Hartford. Tickets are $15-25 for adults and $10-15 for students and seniors and are available online.###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....

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CREC Magnet Schools Observe Earth Day, Care for the Environment with Special Events and Programs

(Hartford, CT) From recycled fashion to a farm-to-table environmental lesson, magnet schools at the Capitol Region Education Council support caring for the environment. Special events were organized in observance of Earth Day, while others are year-round environmentally conscious programs.On April 22, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering and the MIT Club of Hartford are jointly hosting an educational event for science students and MIT Alumni community featuring former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and world-renowned glass artist Josh Simpson. In addition to lectures by the two speakers, and a lunch, there will be multiple afternoon sessions featuring aerospace industry presentations from; ACT Group - Industrial 3D printing; ACMT Inc. - Advanced aerospace materials and adhesives; GKN Inc, - Next generation Composite Materials; and presentations from student teams who are building a full size RV-12 airplane, preparing entries for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), and members of the AAE "Pirates of the Pythagorean" robotics team. The event is taking place on Saturday, April 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, 1101 Kennedy Road in Windsor. If you are interested in attending, please contact Reed MacMillan at (617)229-9626.On April 24, CREC Discovery Academy, in collaboration with the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation will observe Earth Day with “Exploring the Earth a Bite at a Time,” a farm-to-table game and salad making program. Classes will get into groups to design a salad, identify where the food is sourced from, calculate the environmental impact of each ingredient, plot the geographic location on a map and record data on an impact worksheet. The event is scheduled to take place from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at CREC Discovery Academy, 176 Cumberland Avenue in Wethersfield.On April 26, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will take its Art in the Community class to plant seedlings at the Comstock Ferre in Wethersfield from 1:10 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. The class will also deliver painted bird houses to a nature trail in Manchester on May 3, 2017.In addition to these events, a couple of CREC schools offer environmentally friendly programs for students throughout the school year. The CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts offers a Recycled Fashion class where students learn how to restructure unused clothing into viable accessories or garments that are budget and earth friendly. The class emphasizes creativity through recycling, basic hand and machine sewing, and color and design theory. The class recently made and donated pillows and blankets for the children's unit at Institute for Living at Hartford Hospital.Similarly, the CREC Discovery Academy has a new Upcycle Club. The definition of upcycle is to reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. During the club, fourth-graders repurpose fabric to make new items. Students gather at recess to work at a sewing station that includes two sewing machines recently donated to the new Design Lab. Clare Neseralla, the Discovery Academy STEM Coach, is a quilter and has been sewing since she was in kindergarten and she wants to pass the skill on to Discovery 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 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....

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Open Choice High School Students Gain Leadership Skills, Prepare for the Future During April Vacation

(Hartford, CT) High school students participating in the Hartford Region Open Choice Program spent their April spring break at the Open Choice annual Youth Empowerment Summit (YES), learning leadership skills and strategies to identify challenges, set goals, and build relationships. The goal of YES is to inspire students to develop and strengthen their voices, to prepare them for personal and community leadership and to encourage them to pursue higher education.Participants also explored strategies to manage family neighborhood dynamics and how to build healthy and active social lives. The two-day social justice, community-building and leadership development portion of YES also gave students the opportunity to discuss issues related to self-identity; stereotypes; oppression (internal, interpersonal, institutional and ideological) and collaborative problem-solving as a strategy to address challenges, whether they are in school, home or community. The final day of the summit included a presentation and tour at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. Students also participated in a series of workshops offered by The Discovery Center that highlighted the complex experience students enrolled in Open Choice have in navigating academic expectations, self-identity, and access to extra-curricular activities. During the self-identity activity, student Cedane R. shared that when he is in his suburban district, “I’m told I speak too ‘ghetto.’ When I’m home in Hartford, my friends tell me I speak too ‘white.’” Students discussed code-switching – the act of switching between two languages in a conversation and between different cultures as one moves through life, depending on one’s present environment. Some nodded in agreement; acknowledging the struggle of juggling multiple identities, while other youths pointed out that code-switching was a skill that increases their likelihood of success without compromising their identity. Keynote speaker Mike-Charles Nahounou, a performing artist and songwriter who has written for breakthrough artists on major record companies, along with being an overall entrepreneur, recommended to the youth that they not only get where they want to be, but enjoy the journey along the way. That also means avoiding 14 types of people, he continued. Among those to avoid include the martyr, the unambitious goat, the negative elephant, the narcissist, the moocher, the instant-gratification pleasure seeker, the depressed black cat, the revenge-seeker and the looters (bullies), among others. “Don’t allow others to drain your energy and dreams,” Nahounou stressed. “Rather, look within for validation and be selective about who you surround yourself with.” Students acknowledged encountering some of the 14 personality types, both within suburban schools and their own neighborhoods. They also discussed the challenges they encountered within their school districts, and the rewards. Throughout the Youth Empowerment Summit, students shared their hopes, concerns and perceived responsibilities, along with their discomfort with biases and stereotypes. In terms of personal responsibility, a female student noted to the group: “Some classes have been really challenging. When I’m struggling to understand something, I ask to meet with my teacher; we as students need to step up. We’re in high school now.” Clearly, students feel that the responsibility works both ways. Another student noted on a newsprint sheet with the heading ‘What I Want my Teachers to Know’: “I don’t want my teachers to underestimate my ability. You were once in my shoes.” All students repeatedly were challenged to give it their all, to do their best - for themselves, but also for the Hartford students who will follow them into suburban high schools next year. “When you feel uncomfortable, don’t shy away from it,” noted Hartford City Councilwoman Wildalez Bermudez, minority leader with the Working Families Party in Hartford and an original plaintiff in Sheff vs. O’Neill. She added, “When you stay with it … with the discomfort … you grow.”The Open Choice program was established in 1966. It is managed by CREC, and it offers Hartford students the opportunity to attend public schools in suburban towns and suburban students the opportunity to attend public schools in Hartford. These opportunities are at no cost to families, and the goals of the program are to improve academic achievement; reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation; and provide all children with a choice of high-quality educational programs. For more information about Open Choice, visit www.crec.org/choice.###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....

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Baby Dolls Provide Integrated Lessons for CREC Discovery Academy First Graders

(Wethersfield, CT) First-grade students at CREC Discovery Academy are learning everything from math to writing through the school’s Baby Doll Project, a multidisciplinary program that is incorporated throughout the school day. The students start by making dolls that are the same length and weight as they were when they were born. This step introduces math by teaching them to measure the length of the muslin fabric used to make the dolls and weigh the gravel to the pounds and ounces that they were at birth. The students get to use a sewing machine, hand sew the seams after stuffing and learn about attaching buttons for the eyes. In Social Studies, they use the baby’s wants and needs to study economics. Students are given $100 of pretend money to buy items for their babies. They have to decide if an item is a need or want and must be prepared to pay for a doctor visit if the baby gets sick. All the information they learn from making and taking care of the dolls will be compiled in baby books, which coincides with a nonfiction writing unit. Additionally, the Baby Doll Project will be incorporated into an engineering and science unit by having the students design, create and build a cradle or stroller for their dolls. “This is truly an integrated project that crosses many disciplines. Students learn about the start of life, math, reading, writing, science and social studies,” said first-grade teacher Melissa Hickey.“I learned that babies like to be swaddled and how to swaddle them. I learned how to sew on a machine and by hand and I think that will help me when I grow up,” said student K.R.“I liked writing my All About book about when I was a baby and hearing my mom tell me stories about when I was a baby,” said student K.P. “I like dressing my baby. It makes me feel like a dad,” said student M.T.###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....

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