Category: education/schools

Superintendent’s Transition Report Released

By , October 21, 2014 8:53 am

Much of the school superintendent’s transition report is predictable, as its framework had been provided to the public in June. Since coming to Hartford, the new superintendent gathered input from meetings, focus groups involving 700 participants, and surveys completed by 1000 community stakeholders.

What is surprising about the report is not the content in itself but that what has been common knowledge — problems that have persisted for years — is acknowledged in writing by the new superintendent:

  • “Portfolio Strategy” used for most of the last decade has serious flaws, including that “schools were created with agreed-upon design specifications, but in several instances, core specifications have not been realized. Sometimes this appears to be due to limited resources, and on other occasions, this seems to be the result of ambiguity around what a redesigned school can expect from the district” (11).
  • Schools deemed to be high-performing are said to contribute to inconsistencies in curriculum: “Curriculum across schools lacks consistency and significantly more curriculum work is needed at all levels. Decision-making autonomy for high-performing schools has also led to more curriculum inconsistencies across schools” (8). Continue reading 'Superintendent’s Transition Report Released'»

G.E.R.M. in Connecticut Education

By , October 8, 2014 9:44 am

Robert Cotto, Jr.

What does it mean when changes to educational policy that begin in urban districts go on to shape the policy for schools statewide?

That was a question asked by Robert Cotto, Jr. in his talk: “Connecticut Catches a Case of the G.E.R.M.” at Trinity College as part of the Center for Urban and Global Studies’ Global Vantage Point Lecture Series.

The G.E.R.M. referred to is the global education reform movement, which he said “pushes a prescribed curriculum” and includes “test-based accountability and control.”

“We think the suburbs is where where the action” is in terms of changes to education policy, Cotto said, but cities are where the theories get tested.

In 2012, Gov. Malloy declared that it was the “Year of Education Reform” and unveiled six principles. Of those, three were already being practiced in Hartford and New Haven; New Haven was already using test-based teacher evaluations, and both cities had limited expansion of preschool programs and limited use of conditional funding.

The Hartford and New Haven models “appeared” to be successful, but Cotto chalked that up to what he calls “addition through subtraction,” or test scores getting an artificial boost when students with disabilities no longer had to take the same standardized test. Continue reading 'G.E.R.M. in Connecticut Education'»

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Street Smarts

By , October 3, 2014 3:52 pm

Photo by Kerri Provost, RealHartford.org / May not be republished without permission

A skate park might not be the first place you would look for commentary on the state of public education. This graffiti popped up on a structure that faces Capital Prep Magnet School and happens to be painted in that school’s colors.

Diane Ravitch, who we are guessing did not write this at a height requiring a ladder to reach, will be giving a lecture about the privatization of public schools. That free, public event will take place on October 8th at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.

October 2014 Events

By , September 26, 2014 8:24 am

October 1

  • Free gallery talk with Carole P. Kunstadt whose Between the Lines exhibit is currently at Charter Oak Cultural Center. Noon.
  • AK Smith Visiting Scholars Series: “Society, Gender and Politics in Iranian Documentary Films”: The long history of the Kurdish people reveals a tangled web of geography, covering large portions
    of the modern-day Middle East. Road to Kurdistan examines the relationship between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent opening of the Iraqi border. The film follows a group of Kurdish travelers crossing the border in search of their dreams. A young musician wants to promote his music in Kurdistan, the filmmaker’s father wants to find the grave of a famous Kurdish poet, and they all want to witness a land that has been off-limits to Iranian Kurds for many years. Of Kurdish descent, Persheng Vaziri ‘81 was born and raised in Iran and lives in New York City. She directed several personal documentaries about Iran such as Women Like Us and A Place Called Home. She is a producer for Bridge to Iran series on Link TV, and has worked on documentaries in the U.S. and Iran. A graduate of Trinity College and New York University, she is completing her PhD at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more information, contact Christina Bolio at Christina.Bolio@trincoll.edu.This will take place in the Smith House Reese Room of Cinestudio. Lecture at 4:30, reception at 6p.m.
  • Get HYPEd, the monthly networking event for younger (generally in the 25-35 range) adults, will be at Nixs on Front Street from 5:30-8:30pm. There’s no need to register. Admission is free. There are typically some complimentary snacks, but if you want other food or to drink you will have to pay for yourself or sweet-talk someone you meet into picking up the tab. This is described as “casual,” but we have learned that this really means “business casual.” (Those of us who work from home or in non-corporate careers need to have that type of warning). Bring your business cards.
  • Want another type of networking event? Come to Faculty Lounge, a free after-hours social event for educators. 5:30-7:30p.m. at the Connecticut Science Center. Pre-registration required.
  • Take a Jamming 101 class with Kelly and Caroline at the Hartford Public Library. Billings Forge describes it: “This hands on class will cover the basics of making simple jams. Kelly and Caroline will share techniques for making lower sugar jams; cover the use of pectin; introduce savory jams; and briefly review basic canning practices.” This is $45. Participants will leave with jars of jam, recipes, and an instructional booklet. 6-8p.m.
  • MakeHartford Show & Tell takes place from 6-9p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7. Bring something that you are working on, or just stop by to check out others’ projects. Free.
  • Edward Quinlan will discuss the new book The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream. This free talk begins at 6p.m. in the Center for Contemporary Culture in the Hartford Public Library. Refreshments available at 5:30.
  • Trinity College Spanish Film Club will be screening La Yuma at 7p.m. in the McCook Auditorium at Trinity College. This is free and open to the general public. Post-film discussion will be in English and Spanish. Continue reading 'October 2014 Events'»

Students Create Apps for City of Hartford and Cultural Institutions

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By , August 18, 2014 2:25 pm

Audience watches as Alicia Chiang, Owusu Darko, Raykwon Kerr, and Sean McCarthy unveil the app they created for TheaterWorks

The Mobile Apps for Hartford Program, Professor Ralph Morelli said, was about “getting students to see their power when they learn to code.”

Those twenty students from across Connecticut also earned stipends this summer.

Five teams created six apps (a fancy term for program) during a six-week session at Trinity College. At the end of the program, students learned that they would be able to keep the tablets that were on loan to them during July and August.

One team created a mobile version of the TheaterWorks website, consulting with the client to figure out which information needed to be included. This app provides details on the current schedule, information on how to reserve seats, driving directions, and even recommended restaurants within six blocks of the Pearl Street venue. Freddie McInerney, the Communications Director for TheaterWorks, said she was “awesomely impressed” by the students and the process.

A team working with the Old State House developed a Hartford Area Tour app designed to help visitors learn about and find forty sites they have designated as “iconic.” The students explained that they learned a little about copyright law in the process, finding that they actually are not able to just take photographs that they find on Google. This forced them to go out to each site and take photographs so that they would have images to use. Continue reading 'Students Create Apps for City of Hartford and Cultural Institutions'»

August 2014 Events

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By , July 28, 2014 8:23 am

Instructions: Skim list. Jot down items of interest on own personal calendar. Enjoy.

August 1

  • Dave Costa will perform at noon on the terrace of the Downtown Hartford Public Library. Free.
  • The Wadsworth Atheneum continues its Movies & Music Under the Stars series with Bombshell, starring Jean Harlow. Music by Criollo Clasico begins at 5:30pm in Gengras Court. Dinner available for purchase. The film begins at 8:15 (dark). Members receive free admission and one free drink. Regular admission prices apply for non-members.
  • BECK & CALL: The Servants Tour of the Mark Twain House, directed by Steven Raider-Ginsburg, starts at 7 tonight. Tickets are $22 for adults, $15 for youth. Reservations are required.
  • HartBeat Ensemble’s Youth Play Institute presents Change In Your Pocket, a play about food justice. The Youth Play Institute is a project that helps young people to brainstorm topics, develop a play, create the set, act it out, and more. Each play is on a different topic, with past ones exploring issues like violence and harsh punishments in schools. You can catch this three times– today at 7:30pm, on August 2nd at 7:30pm, and August 3rd at 2pm. Tickets are $5. Performances will be in the Carriage House Theater at 360 Farmington Avenue. Park for free in the Mark Twain Museum visitor lot (right across the street from the theater) or on street in legal spots.
  • There will be a free screening of Karate Kid in Goodwin Park at sundown. Bring a blanket or chairs and snacks.

    Goodwin Park

August 2

  • Stop into MakeHartford, MakerSpace to make a blinking light bracelet out of LEDs and duct tape. This is an all-ages workshop. $12. This space is located at 30 Arbor Street. 10-11am. Bring your own safety glasses.
  • The Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival returns to the Riverfront from 1-10pm. Live music, children’s activities, food, and more. Raindate: August 3.
  • The backlash against the monster SUVs, McMansions, and other forms of conspicuous consumption is firmly here. Tiny: A Story About Living Small screens at Real Art Ways at 2pm. This documentary examines the movement to live in houses smaller than the average parking space. $10 general, $5 members. They say they are only showing this film once, so today is the day.
  • Watch the film Powered by Dreams, a documentary about the founder of the Dream Support Network and his steps to recovery after a near-death experience with kidney disease. This is hosted by The 224 (224 Farmington Avenue) at 3pm. Suggested donation $5.
  • Reception for artist Victor Pacheco at Real Art Ways, 6-8pm.
  • The Dirt Salon (50 Bartholomew) presents Deep Blue Rendezvous, a summer party and art show. Expect rooms decorated to match the theme, along with underwater trash art, video projects, and DJs. It’s suggested that attendees dress for the theme: pirates, mermaids, jellyfish, etc. This is an 18+ event. Advance tickets are $10; at door, $15. 9pm-1am. Continue reading 'August 2014 Events'»

Alienated Public Demands a Voice in City Hall

By , July 23, 2014 8:06 am

from 21 July 2014 march

From the moment Mayor Segarra stood in front of City Hall to announce his plan to relocate the New Britain Rock Cats to Hartford on the public dime, there have been unanswered questions:

How exactly would this (fully or partially) publicly-funded private business provide true economic development for the city?  How many full time, living wage jobs would this create for residents of Hartford? Why were Hartford voters and residents excluded from the conversation until this was declared a “done deal” by the mayor? Why build in this location instead of at the existing Dillon Stadium near Colt Park? Why were key stakeholders in this area omitted from the secret dealings, finding out only after word of the deal reached the media? Why was a stadium not included in the Downtown North Plan and why is this able to displace the types of developments, like mixed-use residential, that had been discussed with residents for months? What kind of environmental studies have been done and how would the expected increase in traffic of this area impact Hartford’s already high asthma rates? Why did the mayor in his press release announcing that he wanted the stadium relocation agreement item withdrawn from the City Council agenda, fail to indicate that he would be making no effort to withdraw the related resolution for City purchase of 271 and 273 Windsor Street, a 2.08 acre vacant parcel considered necessary for the stadium development, a parcel that would cost the City of Hartford $1.7M? 

Mary Sanders of Hartford

The meetings of people in opposition to the so-called “done deal” began back in June, with various groups gathering across Hartford. These smaller discussions merged after the first round of meetings happening over one weekend. Residents went from private living rooms to a centrally-located cultural space. Meetings went on during World Cup games, during the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, during a time of year when many are away on vacation. Those who are baseball fans have said they do not appreciate games being played when it comes to politics and tax dollars. Continue reading 'Alienated Public Demands a Voice in City Hall'»

Money Raised for Students in Ghana

By , July 20, 2014 2:40 pm

The United Ewe Association of Connecticut performing their traditional Agbadza dance

Marla Ludwig has been going to Ghana since 2005. She established Bright Star Vision and has partnered with Youth Creating Change of Ghana to establish a library in the village of Dalive. The organization has also constructed bio-sand water filters and a kindergarten schoolhouse. It has sent school supplies, bicycles, and wheelchairs.

This year, Bright Star Vision focused its fundraising efforts on sponsorships for students so that more young people in this village have the opportunity to receive an education. Sully’s hosted the annual fundraiser on Saturday.

United Ewe Association of CT brings its dancing off the stage at Sully’s

 

Puerto Rican Tiple Construction Workshop at Trinity a Hit

By , July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

Nine students, most with no prior woodworking experience, created their own Puerto Rican tiples with instruction from William Cumpiano, a master luthier from Northamption, Massachusetts.

Myriam, a student, called this an “exercise in patience.”

The course offered by Trinity College began one week ago and wrapped up on Sunday, with students averaging over six hours of work on their instruments per day. Continue reading 'Puerto Rican Tiple Construction Workshop at Trinity a Hit'»

Speed of Capital Improvement Projects

By , July 7, 2014 8:51 am

With so much talk of how the City has been spending money and plans to use bonding in relation to the proposed stadium, it’s time to take a look at how Hartford is using Capital Improvement Project funds elsewhere.

Recreation

The recently re-opened George Day Park is one of those items. With new playground equipment, basketball court, garden area, and water features, this Parkville spot cost $870,000 to renovate.

In neighboring Frog Hollow, the Pope Park North/Baby Pope playground has been under construction for months. The underutilized tennis courts, broken chain link fencing, and dated playground equipment were ripped out, along with a concrete spray pool. Neighborhood kids have been, in the meantime, playing basketball and football on the first block of Putnam Street, in the roadway. Here, the City has said that the spray pool and playground construction would be completed by May, but a sign at the site says July. There is some playground equipment and picnic tables in place, but work remains to be done for the $570,000 price tag.

The Goodwin Park spray pool construction is scheduled to be completed in August: $190,000.

The carousel in Bushnell Park opened for the season at the end of June, approximately two months later than it normally does. That it has been open for more than only two days this season is an improvement over what was expected — one day in June, one day in September. The necessity of some of these renovations has been debated, but ultimately, the funds were approved. A document produced by the City lists the CIP funds for this at $900,000, yet the City Council approved $1M for it. Construction should complete in late November. Continue reading 'Speed of Capital Improvement Projects'»

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