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May 26

CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School Selected as Amazon Future Engineer School for 2021-22

(East Hartford, Conn.) CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, a grades 6-8, STEM-themed school, is pleased to announce that it has been selected as an Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) school - a partnership between Amazon and Project STEM to improve access to computer science education in communities currently underrepresented in the technology field.“This opportunity, to be an AFE school, is an absolute game-changer for our students,” said Jill Wnuk, Two Rivers’ principal. “Building more engineering and computer science focus into our already science and technology-rich curriculum will create limitless experiences for Two Rivers students.”According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are a projected 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Many students eager to fill that gap and obtain a high paying job in technology do not have access to computer science in their middle and high schools. Often schools want to offer these courses to their students but do not have access to curriculum and/or teacher support materials.Amazon and Project STEM are partnering to address this gap by sponsoring teachers and administrators who demonstrate this need and are committed to bringing computer science to their school with access to content such as: CS Explorations 1: Fundamentals in Scratch, Computer Science Fundamentals, AP Computer Science Principles, or AP Computer Science A courses. This content also includes fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and professional development for educators new to learning or teaching computer science. Interested schools can learn more at www.amazonfutureengineer.com, including how students can access college scholarships and internships at Amazon. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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May 12

CT Teacher Residency Program Joins Initiative to Recruit and Develop Black Teachers for Schools

(Hartford, Conn.) The Connecticut Teacher Residency Program (CT TRP), in partnership with the RESC Alliance, has received a $340,000 grant from the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) to expand and improve its efforts to recruit and develop Black teachers to support participating districts. The award comes through NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative, a five-year, $20-million effort to recruit and train 750 new Black teachers through NCTR’s nationwide network of teacher residency programs. 468376015557500This grant will allow CT TRP to provide funding relief to partner districts and support up to 40 Black educators as it expands to four cohort locations with up to 60 Residents across Connecticut. Grants will be used for tuition, materials, and assessment support to ensure candidates meet the state certification requirements, including Praxis, Foundations of Reading, and the edTPA Portfolio assessment. Additionally, part of the costs for mentor teachers will be covered as Residents work for a full year with their mentor teacher to gain hands-on experience in the classroom. CT TRP was one of eight residencies chosen to help launch NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative. This year, the program is expanding to the Regional Education Service Centers in Hartford (CREC), New Haven (ACES), lower Fairfield (CES), and New London (LEARN) counties. On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, forty-five new Residents were accepted into the program. “Thank you so much for such exciting news. I am thrilled and honored to be a member of the CREC cohort this year,” said applicant Alexa McCrae in response to her acceptance. This program is still accepting applications in three of the four cohorts and is offered at little to no cost for Residents while providing a salary and benefits during the residency year from a partnering district.  “As a superintendent in a diverse and dynamic community, I am indebted to the Connecticut Teacher Residency Program for providing an authentic opportunity to assist us in diversifying our staff. I see this program as a real game changer in assisting my district in taking the necessary steps forward in this critical initiative” said Jody Ian Goeler, Superintendent for Hamden Public Schools, a partner district looking to support four residents. “Now more than ever, we need to focus on recruiting and retaining Black teachers,” said Anissa Listak, NCTR’s founder and CEO. “We are so proud to be able to work with CT TRP through NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative.” The majority of school children in the United States are students of color, yet less than 20 percent of teachers are people of color, and only 7 percent of them are Black. Research shows that students of color do better in school and consider going to college at higher rates when they are taught by teachers with similar racial and demographic backgrounds. NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative aims to improve student achievement by increasing access to Black teachers.“I am pleased to see NCTR’s support of CT TRP. As a former teacher and a life-long educator, I have seen first-hand the impact a Black teacher can have on students in the classroom. Even more, the research shows that a diverse teaching population leads to students learning better,” said State Senator Doug McCrory. “It is incumbent upon us to not only encourage people of color to enter the teaching profession but ensure they have the mentorship and quality training opportunities available so they can take the skills developed into the classroom for the benefit of their students.” McCrory, a Democrat who represents the Senate’s 2nd District (Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor), is the State’s Education Committee Senate chair.This grant demonstrates CT TRP has earned confidence in its success. To reduce the cost of these programs to districts and to expand the program, CT TRP renews its requests to Governor Lamont and the CT General Assembly to solve this state problem with much-needed state dollars by annually dedicating $4.5 million to CT TRP. This state funding will ensure the program continues to be successful in recruiting and retaining a workforce of teachers that better represents the diverse population of students. Teacher residency programs have proven effective at recruiting and developing teachers of color. In 2019-2020, NCTR’s network of partner residencies reported that 62 percent of their teachers-in-training identified as persons of color – more than twice the diversity rate of teachers nationally. CT TRP is focused on diversifying Connecticut’s teachers and assisting Governor Lamont in achieving his goals. In the first two years of the program, 100% of teachers training in CT TRP are people of color. CT TRP’s website is www.ct-trp.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 over five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.In the 1990s, Connecticut’s six RESCs formed the RESC Alliance to create greater access to resources and savings for all Connecticut public schools. Today, the RESCs collaborate to deliver an ever-growing variety of education resources and services that schools and communities couldn’t otherwise afford. The RESC Alliance also advocates at the state legislature for laws that address and respond to the education needs of all Connecticut residents.About NCTRNCTR disrupts historical educational inequities by advancing the teacher residency movement to prepare effective, diverse, and culturally responsive educators. About the Black Educators InitiativeThe Black Educators Initiative is a five-year, $20-million effort to train 750 Black teachers through NCTR’s nationwide network of teacher residency programs. NCTR launched the Black Educators Initiative in 2019 to help NCTR Network partner programs improve the recruitment, development, and retention of Black educators in their programs and partner schools. This year, NCTR awarded nearly $2.2 million in grants to seven programs. Funding for the initiative comes from The Ballmer Group. ...

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Oct 8

CREC Selected as Inaugural Member of The Bridges Collaborative, A Nationwide Initiative to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education

(Hartford, Conn.) Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) announced today that it was selected to join the inaugural cohort of The Bridges Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind grassroots initiative to advance racial and socioeconomic integration and equity in America’s schools. The Bridges Collaborative, which officially launches this week, is coordinated by The Century Foundation (TCF), a national think tank that has helped steer the conversation on school integration for decades.The collaborative is unique in the world of K-12 education for its size, diversity, and mission. CREC is joining 55 other organizations—including 27 school districts, 17 charter schools, and 12 housing organizations—which together represent more than 3.5 million children nationwide. Together, the collaborative spans more than 20 states and includes representatives from three of the five largest school districts in the country, along with other organizations of varying size, geographies, and student demographics.CREC’s core values — Demand Equity, Expect Excellence, Embrace Collaboration, and Act with Courage — are embodied in its everyday work for children and families. In the spring of 2020, CREC adopted a statement of diversity, equity, and inclusion:“CREC is an intentionally diverse social justice organization whose members work to acknowledge, respect, and empathize with people of all different identifiers, such as race, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, education, age, ability, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, language, nationality, and religion. We commit to affirm and honor the lived experiences of others, to willingly challenge inherited beliefs and ideologies, and consequently learn, grow, and serve.”Driven by this statement and the core values, CREC’s commitment to increasing access to integrated schools is continually demonstrated in work with students in the 16 CREC Magnet Schools and the partnership with 27 districts in the Hartford Region Open Choice Program. CREC Magnet Schools and Open Choice serve over 10,000 urban and suburban students from various ethnic, socioeconomic, and racial backgrounds.“CREC is thrilled to be joining this impressive group of organizations working around the country to ensure that all of our students benefit from the promise of public education,” said CREC Executive Director Greg Florio. “This year has not been easy for our students. We know that any effort to achieve successful school integration will not occur in a vacuum, which is why we are especially excited about the opportunity to connect with, engage and learn from other national school leaders. We are doing this for Connecticut’s children and our community’s future.”This unprecedented effort comes at a pivotal moment for the cause of school integration. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the myriad positive benefits for students who attend diverse and integrated schools, including higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and a host of positive social and civic outcomes. Despite the clear benefits, however, progress on integration has been minimal in recent decades—although those trends are beginning to change, especially with growing awareness on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students and schools.Over the next two years, the collaborative will serve as a hub for practitioners from across the country, providing school and housing leaders the opportunity to learn from one another, build grassroots momentum, and develop successful Capitol Region Education Council www.crec.org integration approaches. The initiative is led by Stefan Louis Lallinger, who most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and is a former school principal in New Orleans. Lallinger’s grandfather, Louis Redding, was a lawyer who argued the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, before the Supreme Court in 1954.“Never before has there been an organization like the Bridges Collaborative. The sheer breadth and depth of knowledge and experience represented by the 56 groups in this cohort sends a clear message: we will deliver the high-quality, integrated school experience that the next generation deserves,” said Lallinger. “COVID-19 and the racial reckoning we’re experiencing underscore that the fight for racial and economic justice is far from over. To have any shot at winning that fight, we must first tackle the rampant inequities and segregation in our nation’s education system. That’s exactly what the Bridges Collaborative was built for.” ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Sep 2

Five CREC Locations to Serve Free Breakfast and Lunch to All Students for 2020-2021 School Year

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) is participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as part of the National School Lunch Program for school year 2020-21. Under this provision, participating districts and schools provide free breakfast and lunch to all students at all times. All students enrolled at the following schools will receive meals through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program at no charge. Household income applications are no longer required to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals at schools participating in the CEP. All students will be served breakfast and lunch at no charge at the following sites:CREC John J. Allison Jr. Polaris CenterCREC Civic Leadership High School CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary SchoolCREC Reggio Magnet School of the ArtsCREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Middle School (grades 6-8) For additional information please contact:Jeff Sidewater, Food Services Program CoordinatorCREC (Capitol Region Education Council)147 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 O: 860-509-3774 F: 860-524-4001Email: jsidewater@crec.org###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966 and is celebrating 50 years of academic excellence. 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 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 18 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org. ...

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Aug 4

CREC Magnet Schools Announce Second Cohort of Teacher Residency Program

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) has hired 15 new qualified applicants to take part in the second cohort of the groundbreaking recruitment and retention model for teachers of color, the CREC Teacher Residency Program (TRP). CREC began the program in summer 2019 with approval from the CT State Department of Education. Eleven residents who completed year one of the first cohort, are set to begin the 2020 school year teaching in an elementary school classroom. Once accepted into the program, residents begin their 14-month road to elementary certification, starting with a six-weeks of intensive summer courses to prepare them for the year. Residents are each paid a salary, with benefits, as they work side-by-side with a mentor teacher for one year. Residents who successfully complete the certification requirements are then guaranteed a full-time classroom teaching positions in the second school year. CREC’s idea through this program is to prioritize minority candidates’ potential to work with diverse students and minimizes barriers to traditional certification program admission.This year, to expand participation in this program, CREC partnered with the Bristol, Ellington, and Southington school districts to place residents in their school as well. The three districts make the same commitment to the residents, but CREC still provides all the instruction and supervision towards earning their certification.The CREC TRP also received a grant to partially fund and sustain the program, from the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Diverse Leaders investment area. According to the NewSchool’s website, “Our goal is for the PreK-12 education workforce to mirror the racial demographics of U.S. students…NewSchools’ Diverse Leaders strategy aims to close the diversity gap by recruiting, retaining, and supporting Black and Latino leaders in education.”In addition to the grant from NewSchools, CREC TRP has also received some private sponsorship funds from Vistra Energy, a frequent donor to CREC’s Athletics program.This residents in the 2020-2022 cohort of the CREC TRP and their school placements are:Karen Adenken, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary SchoolJohanna Carrasquillo, CREC Discovery AcademyTobias Ceasar, CREC Museum AcademySashana Forbes, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary SchoolJoshua Fritho, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary SchoolYasmin Goodley, Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet SchoolMiltonette Hayles, Southington Public SchoolsAurora Hill, Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet SchoolRichard Jernigan, Southington Public SchoolsJovanni Lawrence, Ellington Public SchoolsRe’Shantia Mundle, CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary SchoolOvidio Munis, Bristol Public SchoolsMichelle Straker, CREC Discovery AcademyKevin Taylor, Bristol Public SchoolsTammy Walton, CREC Discovery AcademyPhotos and biographies of the new residents can be made available upon request. Placements for residents going into their second year are not yet complete as the CREC schools fill out their staff for the upcoming school year, but some residents have already been placed in classrooms at CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School, CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School, CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Middle School, CREC Museum Academy, and CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School.CREC is thrilled to have these passionate and well-trained educators join the staff as certified teachers this fall. A social-distanced celebration of their achievement is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 3 p.m. at CREC Museum Academy, 11 Turkey Hill Road in Bloomfield. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Jun 30

CREC and Partners Receive Award to Manage Federal Head Start Program

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), along with Catholic Charities, The Village for Families and Children, and Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES), received a $9.1 million award to develop a partnership that will manage the regions’ federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs.CREC will manage and lead the program, and also led the efforts to secure the award through their Grants and Development Office. The program will serve 426 children, birth through age five, in the Hartford/Middlesex Area. “CREC is excited to have been selected to manage and operate Early Head Start and Head Start programs in the Hartford and Middlesex counties,” said CREC Executive Director Greg Florio. “With the help of our wonderful partners, Catholic Charities, the Village for Families & Children, and our sister regional education service center, ACES, we look forward to providing early childhood education and support services to children—birth to five—and pregnant women. We have planned significant wraparound services to help families give their little ones a great start in life.  And we have just the partners with whom to do this important work.”  “This federal funding will help grow Head Start early education programs, helping hundreds of our youngest learners thrive during these critical early years. We know that kids who participate in Head Start are served by that experience for decades to come – helping them to succeed in school and into adulthood. We’re proud to advocate for increased funding for these programs so they can continue to support Connecticut families for years to come,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Jahana Hayes, and Rep. John Larson wrote in a jointly-issued statement from the Connecticut Congressional Delegation.“We are thrilled to be able to continue to deliver the work to our Head Start and Early Head Start community members in Middlesex County and the ACES region,” said Executive Director Tom Danehy, of ACES, the regional education service center serving the New Haven region. “Providing equity for those in poverty and in need of educational supports helps to level the playing field regardless of one’s racial, ethnic or economic status so that all have access to education, a key to life-long upward mobility. Thanks to Becky Cuevas, our team at Middlesex County Early Head Start, and CREC, ACES is able to continue this work.”“We are very excited about this partnership, which will help us to build on our continuum of services for families with young children, from prenatal care through age five and entrance into kindergarten,” said Marek Kukulka, CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford. “We express appreciation to our friends at CREC and to all who support our work to provide help and create hope to people of all faiths and backgrounds.”“This is a time of great stress and uncertainty for many families, and so this grant could not come at a better time,” said Galo Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Village for Families and Children. “The Village has a team of dedicated staff with the training and experience to make an immediate impact, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help. We will continue to build partnerships and innovative strategies to ensure all families and children get the support they need.”  The funding for the award comes from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Head Start. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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Jun 20

CREC Teacher Wins CEA Human and Civil Rights Award

(Wethersfield, Conn.) The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) announced in June that STEM Coach Clare Neseralla of CREC Discovery Academy is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Harvey Milk – Sylvia Rivera Award for Challenging Discrimination Related to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. The award is one of several Human and Civil Rights Awards that CEA hands out each year. Neseralla’s success in starting Discovery Academy’s student Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club and her work serving on the CREC School Advisory Council on LGBTQI+ Affairs are the reasons CEA chose her for the prestigious award. “I love that my district is taking steps toward inclusion and embracing diversity,” said Neseralla. “Our students love having a space to talk and want to do outreach in our school and the community. I am grateful for all the staff members that volunteer their time to run our five clubs.” The GSA clubs at Discovery Academy meet regularly for over 90 minutes and use literature and classroom lessons to create a safe share-and-talk space for the participating students. All students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through fifth-grade, ages 3 to 11, are welcome to join the GSA clubs. Discovery Academy separates the clubs into three different groups by grade level. The Pre-K through first-grade group, the Community Club, focuses their conversations on compassion, acceptance, and understanding. The second and third-grade group, the Friendship Club, focuses on being good friends, different family structures, and ally support for LGBTQI friends. The fourth and fifth-grade group named their club PEPPA – which stands for pride, encouragement, people, peace, acceptance – and they focus on action by raising money to bring awareness to their cause. In the past, PEPPA has sold t-shirts and held bake sales to fund performances for the school that teach tolerance and bring in community members who work on similar causes to speak to the whole school. “All the Discovery teachers teach compassion in their classrooms,” said Neseralla about the more than twelve staff members who assist in moderating the clubs. “Sometimes, a smaller group offers a sense of belonging where students feel acceptance. Neseralla wanted to be sure that students feel accepted and have a ‘safe space’ to know they can be themselves.”“CREC is a social justice organization that allows all children to be comfortable and accepted for who they are,” said Superintendent Tim Sullivan. “We are a place where diversity is not only allowed, but a place where we actively work to assure that all of us believe on a deep spiritual level that we are stronger because of our diversity. We really are better because we are not all the same.”Neseralla was nominated for the award by Meg Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Academy. To be eligible for the award, according to CEA, nominees must have developed or implemented a community-wide, school-wide, or individual program within the school that meets one or more of the following criteria:Furthers an understanding and an appreciation of the achievements of LGBTQQI people. Combats discrimination related to sexual orientation or gender identity in the public school community.Promotes training for educators, based on equity, related to gender identity and sexual orientation.Enhances the lives of LGBTQQI students and/or the children of LGBTQQI parents.The award is named after Harvey Milk, nationally recognized leader of the movement for gay and lesbian rights, who was fatally shot in 1978 and Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist and important leader in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. “I am thankful that [my child] is at a school that educates the whole child and is not afraid to proudly address issues that most school systems shy away from,” said a parent of a student who participates in the Discovery Academy GSA clubs. “A child is NEVER too young to talk about love, kindness, and acceptance.”The CEA Human and Civil Rights Awards are usually presented in person during CEA's Representative Assembly (RA) annual convention in May. However, due to the situation involving COVID-19, CEA will hold an online RA. CEA also plans to highlight each award winner on their website, www.cea.org. Clare Neseralla###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings nearly five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org....

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