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Dec 13

CREC Computer Science Teacher Awarded

Heather Sutkowski, a computer science teacher at CREC Montessori Magnet School, Hartford, was selected from a pool of 1,000 nominees to receive the "Making an Impact in Computer Science" award in the “Teacher” category from the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and code.org. She received her award during 2017 Computer Science Education Week, which was held in Palo Alto, California in December. This was the first time awards recognized “Champions for Computer Science” in the computer science education community. Sutkowski was one of four winners in her category.From developing a wristband and app to help parents monitor their young children, to serving as a hub to expand computer science to rural communities statewide, the winners represented the students, teachers, schools, districts, and organizations on the forefront of the national computer science education movement. Interim Executive Director of the CSTA Deborah Seehorn said, “The selection committee had a difficult time choosing the winners from so many exemplary entries. These are people who are truly broadening participation in computer science, advocating for computer science, innovating, and making an impact in their community.” ###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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Dec 11

CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Students Win 2017 Congressional App Challenge

(WASHINGTON, DC) On Dec. 7, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that a team of students who reside in Suffield have won the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for the Second Congressional District of Connecticut. The students are seniors Marissa Guzzo and Alexandra Smith, and sophomore Gianna Guzzo from the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor. Their app, titled Feel Good, is designed to help people struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress find some relief through music, games, and other means. The National Congressional App Challenge is designed to inspire high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The competition is also intended to demonstrate the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and encourage students to enter these career fields. This week (December 4-8) has been designated as Computer Science Education Week. “I am pleased to announce that the winners of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge for Connecticut’s Second Congressional District are Gianna Guzzo, Marissa Guzzo, and Alexandra Smith from Suffield,” said Courtney. “We had a number of exceptional submissions to the Second Congressional District App Challenge this year, but our team hailing from Suffield stood out. Our panel of judges from the University of Connecticut were convinced that the winning app showed both an advanced understanding of computer programming and a determination to improve the lives of people suffering with various mental health conditions. I applaud all three of the winning students, and all of the students who participated in the competition this year for their time and dedication in creating these incredible programs. “The National Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage high school students in computer science and teach them how to code by creating their own applications. We need to demonstrate the value of computer science and STEM education generally in order to encourage more young people to enter these fields.” The 2017 Congressional App Challenge was open to all U.S. high school students in participating congressional districts and one winner was selected per district. Challenge participants were invited, either as individuals or as teams of up to four students, to create and submit their own software application, or ‘app’ for mobile, tablet, or other computing devices on a platform of their choice. In the Second Congressional District, the submissions were judged by faculty members from the University of Connecticut.For more information, contact Tim Brown, communications director, Office of Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), at (202) 225-2076 or Tim.Brown2@mail.house.gov. ###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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Dec 8

PSA Civic Leadership High School Launches New Theme

(Enfield, CT) The CREC Public Safety Academy (PSA) has been renamed PSA Civic Leadership High School. It remains an interdistrict magnet school operated by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). CREC made this change to ensure the school’s name accurately reflects its theme. Beginning this year, the school is strengthening its focus on civic engagement, public service, and leadership. The school offers coursework and hands-on, community-based experiences for students in these areas, along with new opportunities for students to earn college credit while in high school. The revisions to the school’s theme are funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet School Assistance Program. CREC and Enfield Public Schools were awarded nearly fifteen million dollars over five years to support enhancements in four Hartford region magnet programs. “This grant provides an exciting opportunity for our school,” said Jeff Larson, principal of PSA Civic Leadership High School. “With the additional resources provided by the grant, we will be able to provide our students an education like no other, with opportunities that no other school can offer. Upon graduation from the PSA Civic Leadership High School, students will have built a résumé that will include certifications, college credit, and over fifty hours of service learning, which will make them stand out to colleges, employers, and in their communities.” Superintendent of CREC Schools Tim Sullivan said, “Under Mr. Larson’s leadership, PSA Civic Leadership High School plays an important role in the greater Hartford region. They are empowering young people to see themselves as agents of change, making a difference in the local community and beyond.”  PSA Civic Leadership High School is one of 16 CREC magnet schools and educates students in grades 9 through 12 in a state-of-the-art facility on King Street in Enfield. It remains committed to graduating students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college and the workplace.  Students who wish to attend PSA Civic Leadership High School must apply to the school through the Greater Hartford Regional School Choice Office lottery, which is accepting applications through February 28, 2018. For more information about the school and a link to the lottery application, visit www.choosepsa.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 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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Dec 7

CREC Discovery Academy Read-a-Thon Benefits Hurricane Relief Center

(Hartford, Conn.) A Read-A-Thon at CREC Discovery Academy raised $819.45 to benefit hurricane relief efforts at Hartford’s Centro de Ayuda Para Nuestros Amigos Caribeños (Relief Center for our Caribbean Friends). The center assists people from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands who have come to the area because they were displaced by this fall’s hurricanes. On-site community organizations and volunteers provide social services and everyday necessities free of charge. The Capitol Region Education Council manages the center, which is located at 15 Van Dyke Ave.Literacy Coach Diane Leja spearheaded the Read-a-Thon, which was the first event of its kind at the school. It took place in October and was open to students from Pre-K through fifth grade. Participants pledged to read a certain number of books in three weeks and they secured sponsorships from family and friends. They could also take part by setting and reaching a goal for the most books read without sponsorships.The project was a team effort throughout the Wethersfield school. Students in the aftercare program even made and hung posters to remind their peers to participate.The students read 495 books in all. Fifth grader Andrew James Farrlley collected the most pledges, which resulted in $250 for the cause.  Most importantly, the event raised awareness that children can find age-appropriate ways to do their part to help others. “This event gave our students an opportunity to help others by doing something they love to do, which is read,” said Leja. “I am a huge supporter of teaching children to be global citizens and help others when needed. Most times, adults are the ones to donate to a cause,” she continued. Through this event, I wanted students to be aware that they could make a difference and help others through their love of reading. I am totally astonished at the amount of money the students collected.###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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Oct 3

Teachers from China Learn about STEM Education at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation

(New Britain, CT) CREC Academy of Science of Innovation hosted a group of 30 administrators and teachers from Qingdao #2 High School in the Shandong Province of China who were interested in learning about STEM education in United States schools. Principal Robert McCain welcomed them and gave a brief overview of the school’s philosophy, stating students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet.“Our students are the generation who has never been without technology and they are preparing for a workforce that hasn’t been invented,” he said. McCain was also very clear about the goal of the visit, “We need to learn from each other to stay competitive in the global market. I have lots of questions for you and would like to know more about how education works in China.The group of visitors included several administrators, as well as elementary and secondary music, art, math, science, history and physical education teachers. Their goal for the day was to learn about STEM education in a U.S. school: how STEM is integrated across the different disciplines and how teachers design their lessons and assess student understanding in these courses. After introductions, the group learned about CREC’s “theme specific” magnet schools and about how the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation is organized into three distinct pathways: biotechnology, environmental engineering, and computer science and robotics. In their sophomore year students select one of the pathways to focus on for their coursework. Seniors complete a capstone project based on their chosen pathway. Teachers spent time observing classrooms to see how STEM concepts are integrated into the general education classroom. Teachers observed a 10th grade genetics course, an 11th grade robotics course, a middle school robotics course, a 6th integrated science course, and a computer coding course, as well as several English and math courses. The teachers from Qingdao asked questions through an interpreter and CREC teachers explained the work that students were doing. After classroom visits, the group participated in a presentation put on by STEM theme coaches Lauren Amaturo and Crystal Caouette, who explained inquiry based instruction and three-dimensional learning aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. CREC was invited to host the group and Innovation was one of several stops during the week for the group. The group had visits scheduled at several other schools around the state, including CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering and CREC Discovery Academy, as well as several universities. They were led by Daniel Gregg, who is the Director of International Programs at the Connecticut State Department of Education.Gregg has been organizing these learning exchanges between the U.S. and China for more than 20 years. He said the group got a great deal of information from their experience. He commented that it was rare to see a group “this engaged” as they participated in several small group activities planned to help them better understand what a typical science lesson aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards would look like in an American classroom.3566160171450000-43942032956500###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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Sep 12

CREC Aerospace Academy Student Experiment Sent Aboard Record-Setting Glider Flight in Argentina

What’s better than having your science experiment flown aboard one of the most sophisticated gliders in the world? Having that same aircraft break the world’s altitude record for glider flight with your experiment on board! On Sunday, September 3, 2017, Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world’s first initiative to send an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history in the Patagonia region of Argentina by soaring to over 52,000 feet and setting a new world altitude record for gliding. Students from the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering and their advisor Rachael Manzer, science and engineering teacher at the Academy, joined students, scientists and international press for a Skype news conference arranged by Perlan Project CEO Ed Warnock to officially announce the record-breaking flight.CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering students and their advisors, Manzer and Josh Madore, have been working for two years designing, building and testing their own NASA Cubesat experiments to be taken aboard high altitude flights of the Perlan II, as well as a NASA test rocket. Their project explores the effect of vibration and weightlessness on a byproduct of soldering electrical components called Tin Whiskers.” These tiny floating pieces of metal can be a major problem that can plague sophisticated electronics when launched into orbit. The student’s experiments were designed to collect data about when and how this hazard is created and ways it could be minimized in future missions. Little did the students realize that their project would be part of a milestone of aerospace history! We are celebrating an amazing victory for aerospace innovation and scientific discovery today, and we’re so thankful to all the volunteers and sponsors whose years of tireless dedication have made this achievement possible,” said Warnock. We will continue to strive for even higher altitudes, and to continue our scientific experiments to explore the mysteries of the stratosphere. We’ve made history, but the learning has just begun.” Part of the purpose for testing such high altitude gliders is that the conditions mimic those that aircraft would have to confront on the planet Mars. The thinner atmosphere and intensive winds of the red planet present numerous challenges to both the design and the piloting of such craft.For 10th grader Johnathan B., being part of such a project brings him one step closer to his dream, I have wanted to be an astronaut since I was a little kid and this just inspires me even more.” Ninth grade student Ava K. was intrigued by the pivotal role the science of meteorology played in the project, I really think I want to be a meteorologist and study the weather when I get older.”The significance of such Real World” projects for student were summed up best by Manzer, Fantastic opportunities such as these inspire students to picture themselves in STEM careers regardless of their background, race or gender. Working on these projects with actual scientists, captivates their imagination and allows them to envision themselves as the scientists, engineers, explorers and creators, of the future society in which they will live whether it be on earth or out among the planets.”The Skype press conference featured: Perlan CEO Ed Warnick with the Perlan II team in Argentina, Elizabeth Austin, Perlan chief meteorologist in Nevada, Caroline Gelb at the World Science Festival, as well as international press and students from schools in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and from the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor CT. You can find out more about the project by going to links for the Airbus Perlan Mission II: http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2017/09/perlan-sets-new-world-record.html the Cubesat Project http://www.cubesat.org/ or CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering: http://aaen.crecschools.org/1983740-98552000###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 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 19 interdistrict magnet schools.  More information about CREC or CREC’s award-winning Magnet Schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Aug 25

Capitol Region Education Council Celebrates FallStaff 51, Emphasizes Importance of New Core Values

More than 2,000 CREC employees representing 120 programs and services within the organization – from magnet schools to adult education and construction services to professional development – gathered at the Hartford Yard Goats Dunkin’ Donuts Park early Friday morning for FallStaff 51, an annual pep rally meant to energize everyone in attendance for the upcoming year. FallStaff, a tradition that started when CREC was founded 51 years ago, is the one time during the year when all CREC employees come together in one place. This year, the newly adopted core values – expect excellence, demand equity, act with courage and embrace collaboration – took center stage at the event with speakers and videos emphasizing their value to the organization. CREC Executive Director Greg J. Florio said, “It is important to understand why we are all driven to live and work by those values and how important they are to assuring CREC fulfills its mission.”As the keynote speaker, CREC Deputy Executive Director Sandra Cruz-Serrano offered a single piece of advice.“Never underestimate the child, the parent, the person in front of you. Her looks, limited English, her zip code, her SAT scores are absolutely no indicator of her future success,” she said. “Be careful, for she may even be your boss one day!”CREC Superintendent of Schools Tim Sullivan said, “Moving forward Hartford Public Schools and CREC are going to work together on behalf of all children. It should not natter what color uniform you wear, we are here to help all children. The days of competition are over, we are ready to collaborate.” The new minor league baseball stadium in downtown Hartford was a perfect setting for a fun-filled, baseball-themed program. Staff snapped selfies with Yard Goats mascots Chompers and Chew Chew. CREC River Street School employee Carlos Perez, the longest tenured employee at CREC, kicked off the event with a ceremonial first pitch. There was a build-a-burger race and a T-shirt toss. Videos of employees describing how they apply the core values to their work played on the stadium screens, as well as videos of students and staff explaining why CREC 2017 award winners deserve recognition. The 2017 CREC Paraeducator of the Year, Victoria Gonzales from CREC International Magnet School for Global Citizenship, and the 2017 CREC Teacher of the Year, Krista Beyer from CREC University of Hartford Magnet School, were announced over the stadium speakers and they walked to home plate to accept their awards. Alan Daley of CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Middle School received the 2017 CREC Distinguished Service Award. Long-serving staff members were also recognized. FallStaff also celebrated the upcoming 50th anniversary of CREC River Street School and the school’s director, Tom Parvenski, was presented with a special recognition.A heartfelt thank you goes to students from the former CREC Two Rivers High School, Alexander Ello (Two Rivers class of 2017), and Austin Raymond-Tricka (CREC Academy of Science and Innovation class of 2018) and to Bob Polselli, engineering and technology teacher, for providing drone footage of CREC facilities used in the event’s introductory video. FallStaff is coordinated and directed internally. It is largely funded by the generosity of sponsors, including top sponsor Owens Realty Services. Other sponsors are: Sullivan Investment Group, Transamerica Retirement Solutions, Aflac, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dattco, Delta-T Group, eesmarts, Friar Associates, Massage Envy, and Valley Communications.8382062357000083820191135002767330419417500###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 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 19 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC or CREC’s award-winning magnet schools is available at www.crec.orgAthletics captains from CREC high schools came together with CRILA students to discuss the role and traits of leaders. ...

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