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Capitol Region Education Council

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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 and Partners Receive Award to Manage Federal Head Start Program

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), along with Catholic Charities, The Village for Families and Children, and Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES), received a $9.1 million award to develop a partnership that will manage the regions’ federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs.CREC will manage and lead the program, and also led the efforts to secure the award through their Grants and Development Office. The program will serve 426 children, birth through age five, in the Hartford/Middlesex Area. “CREC is excited to have been selected to manage and operate Early Head Start and Head Start programs in the Hartford and Middlesex counties,” said CREC Executive Director Greg Florio. “With the help of our wonderful partners, Catholic Charities, the Village for Families & Children, and our sister regional education service center, ACES, we look forward to providing early childhood education and support services to children—birth to five—and pregnant women. We have planned significant wraparound services to help families give their little ones a great start in life.  And we have just the partners with whom to do this important work.”  “This federal funding will help grow Head Start early education programs, helping hundreds of our youngest learners thrive during these critical early years. We know that kids who participate in Head Start are served by that experience for decades to come – helping them to succeed in school and into adulthood. We’re proud to advocate for increased funding for these programs so they can continue to support Connecticut families for years to come,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Jahana Hayes, and Rep. John Larson wrote in a jointly-issued statement from the Connecticut Congressional Delegation.“We are thrilled to be able to continue to deliver the work to our Head Start and Early Head Start community members in Middlesex County and the ACES region,” said Executive Director Tom Danehy, of ACES, the regional education service center serving the New Haven region. “Providing equity for those in poverty and in need of educational supports helps to level the playing field regardless of one’s racial, ethnic or economic status so that all have access to education, a key to life-long upward mobility. Thanks to Becky Cuevas, our team at Middlesex County Early Head Start, and CREC, ACES is able to continue this work.”“We are very excited about this partnership, which will help us to build on our continuum of services for families with young children, from prenatal care through age five and entrance into kindergarten,” said Marek Kukulka, CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford. “We express appreciation to our friends at CREC and to all who support our work to provide help and create hope to people of all faiths and backgrounds.”“This is a time of great stress and uncertainty for many families, and so this grant could not come at a better time,” said Galo Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Village for Families and Children. “The Village has a team of dedicated staff with the training and experience to make an immediate impact, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help. We will continue to build partnerships and innovative strategies to ensure all families and children get the support they need.”  The funding for the award comes from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Head Start. ###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 Teacher Wins CEA Human and Civil Rights Award

(Wethersfield, Conn.) The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) announced in June that STEM Coach Clare Neseralla of CREC Discovery Academy is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Harvey Milk – Sylvia Rivera Award for Challenging Discrimination Related to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. The award is one of several Human and Civil Rights Awards that CEA hands out each year. Neseralla’s success in starting Discovery Academy’s student Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club and her work serving on the CREC School Advisory Council on LGBTQI+ Affairs are the reasons CEA chose her for the prestigious award. “I love that my district is taking steps toward inclusion and embracing diversity,” said Neseralla. “Our students love having a space to talk and want to do outreach in our school and the community. I am grateful for all the staff members that volunteer their time to run our five clubs.” The GSA clubs at Discovery Academy meet regularly for over 90 minutes and use literature and classroom lessons to create a safe share-and-talk space for the participating students. All students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through fifth-grade, ages 3 to 11, are welcome to join the GSA clubs. Discovery Academy separates the clubs into three different groups by grade level. The Pre-K through first-grade group, the Community Club, focuses their conversations on compassion, acceptance, and understanding. The second and third-grade group, the Friendship Club, focuses on being good friends, different family structures, and ally support for LGBTQI friends. The fourth and fifth-grade group named their club PEPPA – which stands for pride, encouragement, people, peace, acceptance – and they focus on action by raising money to bring awareness to their cause. In the past, PEPPA has sold t-shirts and held bake sales to fund performances for the school that teach tolerance and bring in community members who work on similar causes to speak to the whole school. “All the Discovery teachers teach compassion in their classrooms,” said Neseralla about the more than twelve staff members who assist in moderating the clubs. “Sometimes, a smaller group offers a sense of belonging where students feel acceptance. Neseralla wanted to be sure that students feel accepted and have a ‘safe space’ to know they can be themselves.”“CREC is a social justice organization that allows all children to be comfortable and accepted for who they are,” said Superintendent Tim Sullivan. “We are a place where diversity is not only allowed, but a place where we actively work to assure that all of us believe on a deep spiritual level that we are stronger because of our diversity. We really are better because we are not all the same.”Neseralla was nominated for the award by Meg Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Academy. To be eligible for the award, according to CEA, nominees must have developed or implemented a community-wide, school-wide, or individual program within the school that meets one or more of the following criteria:Furthers an understanding and an appreciation of the achievements of LGBTQQI people. Combats discrimination related to sexual orientation or gender identity in the public school community.Promotes training for educators, based on equity, related to gender identity and sexual orientation.Enhances the lives of LGBTQQI students and/or the children of LGBTQQI parents.The award is named after Harvey Milk, nationally recognized leader of the movement for gay and lesbian rights, who was fatally shot in 1978 and Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist and important leader in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. “I am thankful that [my child] is at a school that educates the whole child and is not afraid to proudly address issues that most school systems shy away from,” said a parent of a student who participates in the Discovery Academy GSA clubs. “A child is NEVER too young to talk about love, kindness, and acceptance.”The CEA Human and Civil Rights Awards are usually presented in person during CEA's Representative Assembly (RA) annual convention in May. However, due to the situation involving COVID-19, CEA will hold an online RA. CEA also plans to highlight each award winner on their website, www.cea.org. Clare Neseralla###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 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.

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