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Capitol Region Education Council

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CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies to Host Fair to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

(Bloomfield, Conn.) Sydni Naylor, a student at CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (MLC), Bloomfield, joined the school’s Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery (SASS) club because she wanted to help raise community awareness about modern-day human trafficking. “It was such a strange experience to disassociate from myself and think what it’s like for someone so unfortunate to have such a fate bestowed on them,” said the 14-year-old. It is estimated that nearly 40 million people are enslaved today, with many being trafficked right in Connecticut. Naylor hopes the public will want to learn more about this issue by attending MLC’s 13th annual Abolitionist Fair: The Struggle for Freedom on March 15 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The goal is to raise awareness about human trafficking and other human rights issues that contribute to it, such as poverty, conflict, and discrimination. “This will be the largest fair ever,” said Matthew Carrier, 15, SASS co-president and an Enfield sophomore. He noted that more than 15 organizations and schools have already signed on and include the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the International Institute of Connecticut Inc. (Project Rescue), and Heifer International®. An assembly will also feature Gordon Ramsay of the Connecticut Underground, an organization that brings attention to sex trafficking and exploitation. Ramsay recently worked with the Department of Children and Families to create a school-wide curriculum to reduce trafficking in the state, which has become a growing problem among young people. A panel of experts, who will take audience questions about trafficking, will follow his presentation. The students will also take a creative approach to raising awareness through music, art, displays, movies, interactive educational games, and skits. Among the highlights will be the Walk to Freedom, a museum exhibit with more than 50 displays that students created to explain the historical struggle for freedom from the 1600s to the present. A popular game every year is the Human Board Game. Students walk a life-size board and encounter setbacks as they advance to the final winning space called “freedom.” The fair will also feature a new game focused on the millions of girls worldwide who are enslaved as child brides. “This fair matters because it raises awareness, especially for young kids these days,” said Alexander Santiago, 17, of East Hartford and SASS co-president. It’s left as something for older people to address and attack, but younger people are the ones to create change for the future.”Schools, community groups, and the public are welcome to attend the fair at 1551 Blue Hills Ave. For more information, contact Nancy Geffken at ngeffken@crec.org or 860-242-7834.###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. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Partners to Enhance Next Generation Science Standards

For 50 years, Connecticut’s Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) has helped the state’s school districts, including its own 16 interdistrict magnet schools, meet the changing educational needs of children in grades Pre-K through 12 through a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services.To advance its mission of providing innovation in education and impactful learning opportunities, CREC is partnering with Trifecta Ecosystems, Inc., an aquaponics technology leader in controlled environment agriculture. CREC and the Meriden-based company are introducing aquaponics systems to schools, along with a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum that CREC specially developed to complement them. The aim is to enhance educational technology in both private and public schools throughout Connecticut through fun, hands-on classroom activities that may lead students to careers in science and technology.Since 2016, CREC has been the state’s leader in developing NGSS curriculum for its school districts and, now, for Trifecta Ecosystems. Seven schools throughout the capital region are currently utilizing Trifecta’s educational aquaponics systems, with more to adopt the technology in the coming year. Trifecta’s “aSystems” come in three sizes. Schools may choose the aGrow (small-scale), aGarden (mid-scale), or aFarm (large-scale). Each system can be used to teach a wide array of subjects geared towards students of all ages, such as science, math, engineering, design, and more. Students learn the foundations of aquaponics and take responsibility for feeding the system’s fish and harvesting plants, which has been shown to positively impact engagement, while providing experiential learning for the entire classroom.Providing the NGSS curriculum to go with the systems was a natural fit, according to Dr. Ellen Retelle, CREC’s director of teaching and learning. “Our curriculum is specifically designed to be used with these systems. More than 150 students in CREC schools have already interacted with, and gained valuable experience from, Trifecta’s aquaponics systems,” she said. “By incorporating our curriculum with Trifecta’s systems, we’re changing the way our students interact with the world around them. We’ve also made teaching according to NGSS standards fun for teachers as well as their students.”Dr. Jaime Rechenberg, CREC’s science education specialist, has led the development the curriculum, assessments, and has provided professional learning – launches – for educators. The teaching units are comprehensive and come with detailed lesson plans. They give teachers specific strategies for shifting instructional practice to an NGSS style and contain assessments to help them gauge student learning.Each aquaponics system purchased comes with full setup and implementation by Trifecta’s experts and can be operated and managed by educators and students. In addition, CREC and Trifecta will provide training and professional development workshops to help educators get the most out of their aquaponics systems, further enhancing experiential learning across their schools.As of late last year, 19 states, along with the District of Columbia, have adopted NGSS standards. This represents more than thirty-five percent of U.S. students. The standards aim to combat ignorance of science, create common standards for teaching, and foster a greater interest in science among students so that more of them choose to major in science and technology in college. Overall, the intent is to help students grasp core scientific concepts, to understand the scientific process of developing and testing ideas, and to have a greater ability to evaluate scientific evidence.“Our partnership with CREC will allow us to cultivate new, impactful learning opportunities, while also making it clear that Connecticut is a leader in the education technology movement,” said Eric Francis, chief development officer of Trifecta Ecosystems, Inc.To learn more about training and professional development workshops for educators and Trifecta’s upcoming “Tour & Tasting,” visit http://trifectaecosystems.com/events/educators-tour-tasting/.To learn more about CREC’s NGSS curriculum, visit http://www.crec.org/scienceservices/index.php.###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. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.###Trifecta Ecosystems is Connecticut’s leader in aquaponics technology and the controlled environment agriculture industry. Based out of Meriden, CT, Trifecta’s mission is to cultivate the City that Feeds Itself™ by creating incentives for communities to grow their own food while raising awareness about sustainable farming through education, workshops, and city projects. Trifecta’s line of aSystem™ aquaponics systems gives schools, organizations, and community groups the tools they need to contribute to their local food system, while benefiting the education, therapy, and skill-training sectors in a meaningful way. For more information on Trifecta Ecosystems, visit www.trifectaecosystems.com.For more information, contact:Anne St. HilaireDirector of Brand & Marketing, Trifecta Ecosystemsanne@trifectaecosystems.com

Students Rock Socks for Puerto Rico

(Hartford, Conn.) Fifteen students at Bloomfield’s CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (MLC) are taking action as global citizens. They’re going to Puerto Rico to help homeowners repair roofs that were damaged by Hurricane Maria in September. And they raised the money for their trip and supplies in a most unusual way. They launched a fundraising website that sells socks! The students, in grades 8 through 12, along with school staff, will arrive in Puerto Rico on February 25 to start their task. They’re also taking medical supplies, school supplies, food, clothing, flashlights, and batteries purchased through their sock sales or donated. The initiative was all student-generated - from the original idea, to making their sock-selling website, to booking the flight. Their trip comes at a crucial moment in Puerto Rico's recovery because large numbers of people are still without reliable sources of food and water and in need of permanent shelter. "We want to show the people of Puerto Rico that they are not forgotten," said Alison Jamin, MLC school counselor. "This is the kind of learning we're involved in at MLC. It is part of our school mission to help others in times of need by to taking action and being part of the solution,” he said. “By serving in the best interest of others, this is what makes us global citizens." You can “Rock some Socks for Puerto Rico” by purchasing a three-pack at https://my.wehelptwo.com/campaign?reset=1&id=757 or by visiting one of MLC’s School Open Houses on Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. or Thursday, February 22 at 6 p.m. You may also donate supplies. MLC is located at 1551 Blue Hills Ave.###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. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

Student Artwork and Writing Awarded

(Hartford, Conn.) Four students from CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School, Hartford, were recently awarded for their artwork and writing by the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards program. This juried event recognized only the state’s best student work in many art media categories. Two students received the highest honor of Gold keys. Two were awarded to junior Zackary Sladek of Stafford Springs for his photography. A Gold key, two Silver keys, and two honorable mentions went to senior Madison Culpepper of Torrington in the Writing category. Both Culpepper’s and Sladek’s Gold key work will go on to national judging in New York City in March. If they receive gold medals there, their work will be exhibited in New York and they’ll be honored at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June. Two other students also received awards. A Silver key went to senior Haley Royal of Farmington for Drawing. Gabrielle Clifone of Torrington received an honorable mention in Ceramics. The students’ work competed with more than 1,500 entries from students in 150 public, parochial, and private schools. Just 683 works were accepted for an exhibit entitled “Celebrating the Creative Spirit of Connecticut Youth” at the University of Hartford. From that accepted number, there were 259 Gold key awards (including 67 Gold portfolios), 197 Silver keys, and 225 Honorable Mention awards. Awards were announced on January 28 at the university’s Lincoln Theater.The 27th annual Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards was the largest juried student art exhibition in the state. An affiliate of the National Scholastic Art Awards and The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, this national program was originated to honor the creative efforts of grade 7 to 12 students in public, private, and parochial schools. It is the largest and most senior program of its type in the country. The goal is to recognize and encourage talented visual artists from across the state. ###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. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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