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May 23

CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School Nominated for High School Theater Halo Awards

(Hartford, Conn.) Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre will present its 15th Annual Halo Awards at the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30. This year’s event recognizes theater students from more than 60 high schools across the state for all aspects of theater. Tickets are on sale at the Seven Angels Box Office or by calling 203-757-4676.CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School is nominated for a variety of awards for its recent production of “A Chorus Line.” They are Best Stage Management (Callum McCabe (SM), Tessa Trotta-Smith (ASM)); Best Dancing; Best Featured Dancer (Madeline Duval); Best Specialty Ensemble in a Musical; Best Standout Performance in an Ensemble Musical (Geo Mantilla as Paul); and Best Classical Musical.The awards are a gala, red carpet event for the students and their families and friends. Awards are given in numerous categories, including Best Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; Best Performance by the Cast in an Ensemble Production; Best Comic Actor and Actress in a Musical/Play; and Best Student Choreographer. There are additional categories for lighting, design, stage management, special effects - and more. One of the evening’s highlights is the presentation of the Gypsy Robe, which is given to a chorus member nominated by the director from the school awarded Best Chorus. The Gypsy winner receives a cash scholarship. Outstanding seniors also receive cash scholarships. In addition, Dance Molinari in New York City awards dance scholarships.For more information, contact Melissa Stemmer at 203-591-8223, Ext. 813 or halos@sevenangelstheatre.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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May 22

CREC Students to Compete at National Youth Inventor Event

(Hartford, Conn.) Budding young inventors from three CREC schools are traveling to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Exposition (NICEE) in Dearborn, Michigan to display their inventions at the Henry Ford Museum from May 31 to June 2. The CREC students represent Discovery Academy in Wethersfield, Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, and Montessori Magnet School in Hartford. Two second grade students from the University of Hartford Magnet School in West Hartford will submit their inventions online. These aspiring entrepreneurs each won their local, regional, and state competitions to compete against the nation’s top student inventors at this invitation-only event. NICEE is an annual celebration for young inventors and entrepreneurs to display their critical thinking skills through inventing, innovating, and entrepreneurial activities. The organization’s goal is to inspire tomorrow’s youth by creating a national showcase for those whose efforts embody America’s inventive and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s the youth equivalent of the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. NICEE is the marquee event of The STEMIE (STEM + Invention + Entrepreneurship) Coalition. The STEMIE Coalition is a new initiative that emerged from the principles of Connecticut’s 33-year-old Invention Convention that has expanded to 20 states. It was founded to elevate K-12 invention and entrepreneurship education to a national level, share best practices, evaluate programs, and provide national data demonstrating that invention and entrepreneurship are important parts of student learning and development, and lead to future innovators.This year, more than 17,000 Connecticut students competed in the Invention Convention. There were 979 inventors from CREC schools. Of these, 94 went on to the regional competition, 46 made it to the state finals, and 12 are going to the national event. Five student entrepreneurs from CREC Discovery Academy will compete at Nationals. They are Catherine Webster, grade 4, Wethersfield; Namyanzi Edwards, grade 5, New Britain; Sydney Hartley, grade 3, South Windsor; Vaibhav Satishraj, grade 5, South Windsor; and Grace Foster, grade 3, Ellington. Among their inventions are Webster’s “Adaptable Sleeves, Satishraj’s "Baby Saver," a high-tech system that warns parents that their baby is still in its car seat, and Foster’s "The Handy Helper," a hands-free umbrella/backpack.“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that will impact the students in a powerful way,” said Clare Neseralla, theme coach at CREC Discovery Academy. “I am thrilled to have our students represent Connecticut and bring national attention to CREC schools and the amazing work we do with students.” Seventh grade inventors from Two Rivers Magnet Middle School are Kaitlyn Capacea, Vernon; Amber Braga, East Hartford; and Michael Shoemaker, Colchester. Capacea’s invention is a "Motorized Solar Water Filter," Braga’s is an "All-in-one Dog Walker," and Shoemaker’s is a "Snowboard Trainer."I love the fact that the students can be creative problem-solvers, regardless of their ability,” said Christie Hazen, Two Rivers’ invention coordinator and judge. The inventions are their ideas." Dr. Antonio Napoleone, principal of CREC Montessori Magnet School, agreed. “A great aspect of the Invention Convention is that it enables our students to turn their classroom learning into practical application,” he said. “Students had to use their ability to think critically, develop creative solutions, problem solve, and communicate effectively.” Representing Montessori Magnet School are Sophia Pafundi, a lower elementary student from South Windsor, and McKenna Semeraro, an upper elementary student from Cromwell.The University of Hartford Magnet School students who will submit their inventions online are Kathryn Ciccarelli from Windsor and Jarielys Orozco from Hartford. “This opportunity for online competition provides the students the voice to communicate their passion for the solution to the defined problem and demonstrate how and why their invention is necessary for their intended audience, “said Terry Wilson, elementary science curriculum specialist for Magnet Schools. “In addition, the students are able to reflect on their work in an authentic way, both through their inventing process and the video pitch creation, just like real inventors and marketers do.” Students and their chaperones are paying out-of-pocket for the majority of their trip. If you would like to make a donation to help offset their expenses, please contact the schools, drop off your donation at a school’s front desk, or contact Clare Neseralla at cneseralla@crec.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Apr 30

Theater Department Chairperson Chosen to Create High School Theater Curriculum

(Hartford, Conn.) Brian Jennings, theater department chairperson at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School, was chosen from among 100 high school theater educators and teaching artists nationwide by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) to help create a standards-based curriculum framework and instructional units in targeted areas of theater. The goal is to provide high-quality professional development for EdTA members and the field of theater education. Jennings is part of 12, two-member teams from across the country who will work on this project in Cincinnati July 12 through 15. According to James Palmarini, EdTA director of educational policy, the teams will receive web-based training in standards-based teaching and assessment strategies reflected in the 2014 National Core Theatre Standards. This will help prepare them to create the curriculum framework and instructional units. “The goal is to expand instructional practice for both classroom educators and teaching artists. They both bring a lot to the table for this project — artistry, pedagogy, and a mutual desire to create the best possible learning opportunities for students engaged in theatre education,” Palmarini said. “Nearly 30 states have adopted new theatre standards in the past two years,” he continued. “To meet those standards, our teachers need a framework that articulates what is important to teach and learn in theatre. Along with creating and sharing quality examples of standards-based learning and teaching, the secondary goal of this project is to demonstrate how theatre educators — classroom teachers and teaching artists alike — can measure the effectiveness of their teaching and the learning of students.” Participating teachers are expected to use the instructional units and assessments during the first few months of the 2018-19 school year. They will also gather videos and written reflections generated during student engagement with the instructional unit. A select number of adjudicated portfolios, judged to be at or above the standards aligned to the individual instructional unit, will be posted on the EdTA website in early 2020. The EdTA Model Curriculum Framework is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). EdTA’s NEA Art Works matching grant is part of the more than $25 million in grants approved in 2018. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category. It supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meet the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.###About the Educational Theatre Association, home of the International Thespian Society The Educational Theatre Association is an international association with approximately 125,000 active members. EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education: honoring student achievement in theatre; supporting teachers by providing professional development, resources, and recognition; and influencing public opinion that theatre education is essential and builds life skills. EdTA is the home of the International Thespian Society, an honorary organization established at more than 4,700 schools, that has inducted more than 2.3 million theatre students since its founding in 1929. EdTA also produces the International Thespian Festival and publishes Dramatics magazine for high school theatre students and Teaching Theatre, a journal for theatre education professionals. The Educational Theatre Foundation is the philanthropic arm of EdTA. 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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Apr 25

CREC Students Enjoyed Hands-on Activities at STEM Night

(Hartford, Conn.)The CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School, Rocky Hill, recently hosted an evening of theme-focused, special activities at its annual STEM Night. Students, families, and members of the school community saw how airplanes, rockets, – and more – work. Student ambassadors from UConn’s engineering department also shared their own demonstrations and were on hand to encourage the students.The school’s theme is the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Even the school’s youngest learners are exposed to STEM vocabulary and equipment. “STEM is integrated across the curriculum, thanks to the hard work of all the teachers,” explained the school’s STEM Coach, Dr. Jan Mooney-Frank. “We are lucky to have the tools and technology to allow for STEM learning throughout the school.” Each classroom has its own cart of iPads, a Smart Board, and other laptop and STEM technology. “The goal is to get kids thinking about a career in engineering or science at an early age,” she said.“The quality of the work that the teachers and students display each year is impressive,” said Principal Gayle Hills. “Families and students participate in the design process together and get to see the results of the older students’ work within a common theme.”CREC’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School focuses on developing strong foundational knowledge for students in four interrelated domains of STEM literacy: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The curricula provides students in Pre-K3 to grade 5, with significant and meaningful opportunities to conduct investigations, gather and use information, and solve problems using scientific methods of thinking and technology as tools. Engaging children in these practices helps them develop a deep understanding of the world around them.For more information, visit http://aae.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 16 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Apr 18

CREC Arts Director Kim Stroud Receives 2018 Arts Hero Award from State's Office of the Arts

(Hartford, Conn.) Kim Stroud, director of the arts at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School (GHAA), was chosen from 165 nominees to receive the 2018 Arts Hero Award for the Greater Hartford region by the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts. The award recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things through the arts. This year’s emphasis was on harnessing the power of the arts to build resiliency. Stroud was selected for her “impactful and responsive contribution to (her) community and the profound impact it has had on the state and beyond.” She will receive her award on April 25 at the Hartford Stage as part of CT Arts Day. She will also be featured in a CT Arts Day publication. Stroud’s is one of nine annual Arts Hero Awards recipients recognized for their artistic excellence and community contribution. The awards review panel was comprised of CT Arts Day Task Force members, who are arts leaders and artists from throughout the state.“I am awestruck. I just can’t think of any better title than to be called a hero,” said Stroud. “I know what comes to my mind when I think of the heroes in my life who were the mentors, guides, and stewards who made me strive to be more than I could imagine at that time. If I can be that for my students, there is nothing greater I can achieve. “I am well aware that I work with some of the best and most caring artists, educators, and humans in the world,” she continued. “We do this together and we all share in the joy for any of the students who leave us and make a place for themselves in this world that they could not imagine before we met them. I thank all my heroes, mentors, colleagues, and fellow artists who make magic happen for students every day.”Stroud lives in Madison and has worked at GHAA since 1993, where she has been the school’s dance department chairperson, assistant director of the arts, and director of the arts. She is also the general director of the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. Stroud's former positions include being the administrator for dance programs for city youth through the school of the Hartford City Ballet, the general director and dance chairperson for the Center for Creative Youth, and the head of the diversity committee for the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools. Stroud’s other honors include being named a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO and receiving a citation from former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and the City of Hartford for teaching. In 2012, Dance Teacher Magazine honored her as Outstanding Dance Educator. In 2009, she received the Teacher of the Year award from the International Arts Schools Network. Stroud was bestowed Teacher Recognition from the Connecticut Dance Alliance in 2007 and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2000. The National Dance Education Organization named her Outstanding Dance Educator of the Year in 2005. Stroud served on faculty at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, SUNY Purchase, the University of Hartford, and The Hartford Conservatory. She was a Principal Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for eleven years, touring the world. She has also danced and toured with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, performed in the Universal Studio film production of The Wiz, and as a guest artist with Katherine Dunham and the Gemini Dance Company. Stroud was also a master teacher for the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Randolf-Macon Women's College in Virginia, the University of Hartford, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. Stroud attended SUNY at Purchase and holds a degree in Dance Performance and Pedagogy.###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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Apr 4

CREC Athletics Receives $100,000 donation from Dynegy Energy Company

(New Britain, Conn.) On Tuesday, April 3, Pete Ziegler, vice president of plant operations for Dynegy, Inc., a national energy company, presented the Capitol Region Educational Council’s (CREC) athletics program with a check for $100,000 at a ceremony at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, New Britain. This is the third consecutive year that the company has made the generous donation to support the continuation of middle school sports at five participating CREC middle schools for the 2018-2019 academic year. Some of the funds from Dynegy’s donation last year were also used to support the first Dynegy Citizen-Athlete Scholarship Award for graduating seniors. This year’s recipient was chosen from among five finalists. Natalia Mularzuk of New Britain, and a student at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, received a $4,000 college scholarship. It will be renewable at $1,000 a year for four years as long as she is enrolled at a four-year institution. Natalia hasn’t chosen a college yet, but she plans to study biomedical engineering and enter a pre-med track.The senior scholarship finalists were Chriseny Perryman of CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, Celia Chacko of CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies, Emily Godeck of CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies, and Sajae Willis of PSA Civic Leadership High School. They were selected for their ability to meet challenges both on and off the playing field.After meeting the scholarship finalists and their parents, and touring the school with Dynegy’s head of communications, Ziegler addressed the audience at the check presentation. He talked about the impact that sports has had on his life and career. “Academics and athletics teach you nothing but time management, he said. “I really enjoy coming back and seeing this because it invigorates me to go back and lead my teams in our endeavors in business.” CREC’s Athletic Director Jonathan Winer said that being able to continue the sports program is as much about character building as it is about winning championships. “We impress upon our student-athletes and coaches that winning championships is not our objective here,” he said. “It’s about teaching kids about character and becoming lifelong, productive members of society. CREC is grateful to Dynegy for investing in our students’ school experience and their futures.During the 2016-2017 school year, 1,129 participation spots were filled and students took part in eight different middle school sports at CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies, CREC Public Safety Academy, and CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School. Dynegy generates reliable, environmentally responsible energy primarily in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Texas. Dynegy operates power-generating facilities capable of producing more than 31,000 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power the homes of 25 million U.S. families. The company has plants in Dayville and Milford, Connecticut, and several more plants in Massachusetts. ###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.###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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Mar 26

CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Student Awarded Wallace Stevens Student Poetry Scholarship

(Hartford, Conn.) Daniel Diaz-Villafane of Hartford, and a junior at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from The Hartford Friends of Wallace Stevens at the 55th Wallace Stevens Poetry Program on Thursday, March 29, at 1:30 p.m. at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School, 160-172 Huyshope Ave. The check presentation is part of a two-day celebration of the late Hartford poet’s work. Diaz-Villafane will read his winning poem at the event. His poem was selected from entries from high school juniors and seniors throughout Hartford. This is also the eighth consecutive year that a student from CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts has won the Wallace Stevens Student Poetry Prize since its inception in 2001. Wallace Stevens is ranked with William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot, and Marianne Moore as one of America’s foremost poets of the twentieth century. He enjoyed a long and successful career as an executive of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, and was a Hartford resident for many years before his death in 1955.The nonprofit Hartford Friends of Wallace Stevens preserves Wallace’s cultural legacy through this annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program event. It also promotes the literary arts and hosts public programs that celebrate poetry and encourage its enjoyment by Hartford-area residents. The Wallace Stevens Poetry Program will kick off on March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Doris & Simon Konover Auditorium on UConn’s campus at 405 Babbidge Road, Storrs. Poet Joy Harjo is the special guest both days. The Hartford is this year’s sponsor. The University of Connecticut’s American Studies department, English department, Creative Writing Program, English Speaker’s Fund, Humanities Institute, and Rightors Fund have provided additional support.Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy BeingsHow We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the fall of 2016, she assumed the Chair of Excellence in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.About Wallace StevensWallace Stevens, (1879–1955), was American poet. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he was educated at Harvard University and New York Law School. After 1916, he was associated with the Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, and from 1934 until his death, he served as vice president. Stevens was concerned with creating order in the “slovenly wilderness” of chaos through exquisite verse. His ideas are expressed in his earliest volume, Harmonium (1923), which collected many of his best-known poems: “Sunday Morning,” "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," "The Emperor of Ice Cream," and "The Snow Man." His ideas are developed in the subsequent volumes: Ideas of Order (1936); The Man with the Blue Guitar (1937); Parts of the World (1942); Transport to Summer (1947), which includes the long poem “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction,” in which Stevens elaborates on the poet's role in creating the fictions necessary to transform and harmonize the world; The Auroras of Autumn (1950); The Necessary Angel, essays (1951); Collected Poems (1954, awarded the Pulitzer Prize); and Opus Posthumous (1957). ###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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