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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 Beings, How 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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Mar 20

Inspirational Speaker Tells Story of the Power of Good, Bad Decisions

(Bloomfield, Conn.) As a two-time member of the National Junior College Athletic Association women’s volleyball All-America team, Sarah Panzau Evans knew what it was like to be on top of her game – and on top of the world. But not long after, she nearly lost it all. Somewhere between life as a competitively driven high school athlete and the early years of college, she started to go down a destructive path. She found herself hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting more out of drugs and dangerous levels of alcohol than she did by hitting the books and spiking a ball.In the early morning hours of Aug. 23, 2003, Panzau Evans’ car – and her life – spun out of control. With a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, the 21-year-old decided to drive drunk, missed a highway exit, and rolled her car four times. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the rear window of her car. Her left arm was torn from her body and she was thrown onto the roadway. The next thing Panzau Evans remembers was waking up in the hospital and being told that she had lost her arm. She remained hospitalized for several months and endured more than 30 surgeries. Panzau Evans recognizes it was her poor choices that led up to that tragic night. Now she hopes others will learn from her mistakes. She started speaking to students because, until the crash, she was in their shoes. She felt she was invincible and the world was ahead of her.On Wednesday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m., Panzau Evans will share her inspirational story, called Living Proof, with students at CREC Metropolitan Learning Center, 1551 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield. Members of the media are also welcome to attend and to interview her after her presentation. Through Living Proof, Panzau Evans encourages students to look out for each other and reminds them to seek help, if needed. She also touches on the difficulties she has encountered as a result of her disabling injury, including a lack of social acceptance. She relates that before the crash, she was the pretty, popular girl with whom everyone wanted to be friends. Now that she is technically considered disabled, people treat her differently. Panzau Evans encourages students not to let physical disabilities bias their thinking and to show tolerance and acceptance of others.“Not only did my poor decisions to hang with the wrong crowd, get involved with drugs, and drive drunk forever change my life, they also changed the lives of everyone around me,” Panzau Evans said. “Every time I speak to students, I want them to understand the importance of making good decisions and how choices have consequences – sometimes for a lifetime.”Living Proof is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch wholesaler Hartford Distributors, Inc. as part of the company’s commitment to help prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. Panzau Evans is a member of the Anheuser-Busch Community Speakers program. “Sarah provides a powerful message that truly resonates with students,” said Linda Davidson, consumer awareness and education coordinator at Hartford Distributors, Inc. “Not only does she tell them about the importance of making good decisions, not to drink when underage, and never drive drunk, she also teaches about the value of family and the important role these relationships play in the lives of young adults.” For more information about the presentation or to schedule an interview, contact Alison Jamin, CREC Metropolitan Learning Center, at 860-404-4740 or ajamin@crec.org, or Linda Davidson, Consumer Awareness & Education, Hartford Distributors, Inc., at 860-647-5718 or Linda.d@hdibeer.com.###Anheuser-Busch and its employees build on a legacy of corporate social responsibility by focusing on three key areas:promoting alcohol responsibility, preserving and protecting the environment and supporting local communities. In the past three decades, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have committed more than $980 million in national advertising campaigns and community-based programs to encourage responsible drinking and prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. Anheuser-Busch reduced total water use at its breweries by 40 percent in the last six years and the company has been a leading aluminum recycler for more than 30 years. Since 1997, Anheuser-Busch and its Foundation have invested in local communities through donations of more than $530 million to charitable organizations. The company also has provided more than 72 million cans of drinking water to people impacted by natural and other disasters since 1988. Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch, the leading American brewer, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.###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 6

Day to Care to Bring Awareness to Need for Student Civic Activism

(Hartford, Conn.) On Wednesday, March 14, students at the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, 600 Slater Road, New Britain, will participate in “Dare to Care,” a new initiative to promote middle and high school civic activism. The school’s Social Studies department has organized the event to foster student civil engagement. The objective is for young people to understand what meaningful change is and to examine how they, as teenagers, can become change makers. Activities will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at noon. At 10 a.m., students and staff will participate in a memorial service on the soccer field for the 17 people killed on February 14 in Parkland, Florida. Members of the National Honor Society and the senior class will speak. Students will also learn about the history of democratic activism in the United States and develop action plans for how to improve our country. In addition, they will discuss civic and social issues they care about, which include mental illness, teen activism in government, gun control, and spreading kindness. The public is invited to attend and join in their discussions.According to Principal Robert McCain, “In the wake of the recent events surrounding gun violence, mental health debates, and various social justice movements, we thought it was important to give our students a platform to have safe, if difficult, conversations regarding these matters. This is not a political stance, protest, or rally. It’s an opportunity to teach our youth about civic engagement.”For more information, contact Social Studies teacher Kristen Juda at kjuda@crec.org or (860) 223-0726.###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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