Free Science for All

Hartford residents will receive free general admission to the Connecticut Science Center during August by picking up coupons at any branch of the Hartford Public Library.

Proof of Hartford residency will be required; children 16 and under must have adult supervision at the Connecticut Science Center.

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Milner Applies to Commissioner’s Network; Questions Remain

As much of Milner’s future remains unclear, the Hartford Public Schools’ has begun to acknowledge some of the ways in which the school will change as it becomes part of the Commissioner’s Network and is managed by Jumoke Academy. Continue reading “Milner Applies to Commissioner’s Network; Questions Remain”

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August Events

Here’s the monthly selection of more interesting-sounding events in Hartford. If there are any items that did not make the list, consider letting us know about them in the comment area. Most, but not all, events listed are free.

Monday Evenings

Free jazz in Bushnell Park will continue on August 6th and August 13th. If it rains, the event is moved to Asylum Hill Congregational Church.

Wednesday Evenings

  • The chamber music series in the chapel at Trinity College continues on August 1, August 8, and August15.  These will run from 6-7pm. The carillon music series follows from 7-8pm on the same dates.
  • August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29th: free concerts on the Rose Garden Lawn at Hartford’s Elizabeth Park. These run from 6:30-8pm and will be moved inside the Pond House if it rains.

Friday Evenings

Free films will be shown in Hartford’s parks at sunset.

August 1

  • From noon until 1, historian Jason Scappaticci will give a free lecture at the Old State House: “Did Constitution Plaza rip the heart out of Hartford or save it?”
  • An evening of stories, walking, and cocktails begins at Salute (Trumbull Street, across from Bushnell Park). The walking tour will include tales of Hartford’s history — appealing to visitors, newcomers, or residents who have managed to not learn anything about the city’s past. This runs from 6-8:15pm. Payment: cash or check at the door.

August 2

Community Garden Tour and Twilight Dinner: There is a range of ticket prices, from $25-50, depending on if you participate in the community garden program, if you are a HYPE member, if you want the “open air trolley ride” and dinner, or just the dinner, or bike ride and dinner. Regardless, the tour begins and ends at the Church of the Good Shepherd at 155 Wyllys Street. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra Quartet will be performing during dinner. The event goes from 5:30-9pm. Continue reading “August Events”

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ConnectiCon: A Peaceful, High-Energy Weekend by the River

Worlds Collide
Photo by Helder Mira/Rabbit Ears Media

As some movie theaters around the nation have opted to respond to the shootings in Aurora, Colorado by banning costumes, it is worth reflecting once more on ConnectiCon, the multi-genre convention that was held in Hartford earlier this month.

This is one of the few gatherings that offers discounted admission for MENSA members, but not for senior citizens. Most attendees are young, year after year. The giddy, teen energy just about grabs Columbus Boulevard by the shoulders and shakes it for three days.

With 10,500 individuals — a majority of them belonging to the age group most likely to be involved in violent crime — attending this year’s convention, there were no serious incidents. Continue reading “ConnectiCon: A Peaceful, High-Energy Weekend by the River”

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Jazz in the Park: Social disintegration in reverse

“I hate jazz,” she says cheerfully, taking a sip of her dirty martini in a jar.

Gathering in Bushnell Park on summer afternoons and evenings for live jazz is, for some, a chance to socialize more than it is an opportunity to sit silently while musicians perform. It is an occasion for the community, the village, to be for each other– not in mourning and not with any specific call for celebration.

The open-to-all, mainly self-regulated nature of these events — Monday Night Jazz and the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz — may seem like a recipe for disaster to some. There is open public drinking, but it is rare to see anyone intoxicated. Food is shared among friends and strangers. People keep watch over others’ belongings when they get up to stroll Continue reading “Jazz in the Park: Social disintegration in reverse”

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Public Hearing to Discuss Change in Billboard Regulations

Right now those blinding electronic billboards can be no closer than 650 feet from the next one, but that may change. The Planning and Zoning Commission will be considering a change to this regulation by allowing signs to be closer if they are converted from already existing static billboards:

Text Amendment to Section 1007(7)h. in the City of Hartford Zoning Regulations to allow the

conversion of existing static outdoor advertising signs to changeable electronic outdoor advertising signs at a distance of no less than 500 feet from other static or changeable electronic outdoor advertising signs when the current permitted minimum distance is 650 feet. Applicant-Independent Outdoor III, LLC.

The Planning and Zoning Commission meeting begins at 5pm on July 24th in the conference room at plaza level at 260 Constitution Plaza. There are two other items on the public hearing agenda including a liquor license application for 1093 Albany Avenue and proposed zoning change for 1400 Main Street and 16 Ely Street.

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Great Gains! 50% of Third Graders in Hartford Still Not Proficient in Reading

After politicians and lobbyists spent the spring building the case that teachers were failing to do more than seek protection from unions, there was much self-congratulatory sentiment following yesterday’s announcement from the State Department of Education that CMT/CAPT scores had improved. Though Governor Malloy’s “education reform legislation” was not passed until months after students had filled out bubble sheets to prove they were learning, that fact has not prevented some from attributing the gains to the so-called reform movement.

In Hartford, gains did not occur across the board; in fact, the total percentage of third graders proficient in reading actually decreased slightly: in 2011, 51.5% were proficient, but in 2012, the number dropped to 50%:

According to Education Week, “A student who can’t read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time.” Third graders’ proficiency in math also dropped slightly over the last year, from 60.8% to 60.1%. Continue reading “Great Gains! 50% of Third Graders in Hartford Still Not Proficient in Reading”

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Fussing Over Test Scores

By reading messages sent to the press by the Hartford Public Schools, you would think that standardized testing had some kind of positive, meaningful impact on children’s education. No fewer than four messages have been sent, hyping the release of the district’s 2012 CMT and CAPT scores:

Send on July 17, 2012
Sent on July 17, 2012

Continue reading “Fussing Over Test Scores”

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