University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium was filled for Tuesday’s third annual Corine E. Norgaard Women in Leadership Lecture Series, and the audience was not just students required to attend for their business classes.
Amy Quigley, a marketing executive from the Boston area, spoke about building a personal brand and making connections, explaining that one’s expectations, memories, stories, and relationships with a brand drives the decision to support it.
Brands are not static, she said. One memorable example she gave was of Angelina Jolie, who used to be known as “kooky,” but who has essentially relaunched herself as a “humanitarian” in recent years. Continue reading 'Interest in Branding Alive and Well'»
In recent months, the entire Weaver High School community has been mobilized by the Hartford Board of Education’s poor communication about the school’s temporary move to the Lincoln Institute and the plan to eventually rehabilitate and rebuild the north end school. Tuesday night’s Board meeting once again found students, teachers, and Weaver families demanding action and answers from the Board. There were few to be found, but much talk of “due diligence.” The uncertainty and anxiety among the Weaver community was palpable, as too was the growing mistrust of the Board and its hollow words. Speakers, including Principal Tim Goodwin, admonished Mayor Segarra, who was not in attendance, for suggesting that Weaver’s low enrollment could affect the school’s reconstruction. Goodwin demanded that enrollment issues be taken off the table and not be a part of the discussion. He cited the school’s continued improvement according to multiple metrics, including decreased disciplinary referrals. Through the years, Weaver High has been especially hampered by the breaking up of Hartford’s traditional high schools and the “school choice” reform scheme. Lastly, it was clear Tuesday night that Michele Rhee’s privatization front group StudentsFirst had attempted to glom onto Weaver’s struggle, going so far as to blindly hand out as many of their unrelated t-shirts as possible to students.
Since the Board’s failed attempt to hand the Clark School to the Achievement 1st charter school corporation two months ago, Clark was entered in to the Commissioner’s Network of schools in need of “turnaround.” A “turnaround committee” of parents, teachers, and the State Department of Education has been meeting to develop a plan for Clark. Parallel to this, HART was contracted by the Board to garner support among the community for another charter takeover of the school. This time a charter school corporation called Friendship Charter School of Maryland has been identified as the favorite by the Commissioner of Education. As has been reported in Real Hartford, the Clark community is unwilling to be bullied, bought off, or threatened into this deal. During Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto blamed outside interests for the problems with the committee. In her report on Clark, she warned of parents being “lobbied heavily by organizations placing pressures on parents on matters beyond the immediate and urgent needs of Clark School students.” She chided these mysterious groups and mentioned that parents were complaining to her personally about the “pressure.” Continue reading 'Hartford Promises'»
Tired of schlepping downtown for every last event? Bessy Reyna has curated the Hartford Loves Poetry reading series in April for National Poetry Month. This means that over two weeks, each of the ten Hartford Public Library branches will be hosting a poetry reading and workshop.
The event will kick off on April 7th with Jose B. Gonzalez at the Park Branch (744 Park Street). The Goodwin Branch (460 New Britain Avenue) will host Marianela Medrano on April 8th; Leslie McGrath will appear at the Dwight Branch (7 New Park Avenue). Pit Pinegar will be reading at the Camp Field Branch (30 Campfield Avenue) on April 9th and John Stanizzi will be at the Albany Branch (1250 Albany Ave) on April 12th. Also on April 12th, the Barbour Branch (281 Barbour Street) will host Ernie Blue. Joyce Ashuntantang will read at the Mark Twain Branch (55 Forest Street) on April 14th. The Blue Hills Branch (649 Blue Hills Avenue) will host Antoinette Brim on April 15. Poet Kate Rushin will be reading at the Ropkins Branch (1750 Main Street) on April 16th. Weekday readings are scheduled for 5:30-7:15pm; Saturday readings will go from 3-5pm.
The series closes on April 19th with a Grand Finale at the Downtown Branch, 1-4pm. Reyna said that community presenters will be reading poems in their own languages Continue reading 'Multi-Cultural Poetry Celebration in the Neighborhoods'»
Although Tuesday night’s Hartford Board of Education special meeting had only two agenda items for public comment, you would have never known it from the hundreds of people, especially Weaver students, who packed into the Fred D. Wish Elementary School gymnasium. It was a sea of forest green hoodies. Proudly emblazed on the hoodies was the rallying cry of the night: “Weaver Strong.” In addition, Weaver students greeted every attendee with a handout celebrating the school’s achievements. Thundering drum beats in the school’s lobby foretold of a battle. Handheld placards proclaiming “Weaver Forever” were placed on every seat. Ironically, the presumed fight over the future of Weaver High School was the least contentious event of the night.
The massive turnout of Weaver students, parents, alumni, and staff was the dissatisfaction with the Board’s communication with the school’s community. The show of force was to ensure the survival of Weaver, including its traditions, history, and legacy. The issue at hand was the future move of Weaver Culinary Academy to a temporary location at the Lincoln Culinary Institute on Sigourney St. Weaver High School is slated for a $100 million rehabilitation and the entire school must be relocated to Lincoln while construction occurs.
Rumors had been swirling over the future of Weaver, but the real issue, as the school’s principal Tim Goodwin explained, was the glacial pace of the project and the numerous unanswered questions over the school’s future. The leadership of the Blue Hills Civic Association also peppered the board with questions over the developer of the Weaver site and lack of communication with the neighborhood. Continue reading 'Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns: Hartford BOE Edition'»
Now that we have completed our three trips to each neighborhood, we wanted to share our absolute favorite pictures from this series.
(Blue Hills) This one was taken at the Watkinson Community Garden on Bloomfield Avenue, behind the Unitarian meetinghouse. This is more like a farm than a community garden. We have no idea why this wheelbarrow was perched in a tree; on other trips here, all equipment was stored in places one would expect it to be. The weather was changing from “vaguely Autumn” to “there’s frost”.
(Clay Arsenal) A friend tipped us off to some artwork in an area we were about to visit, but did not give an exact location. We do not even know if this was where he found the painting of a peacock. What we found — portraits — were more interesting than the simple scribbles that are common.
Continue reading 'Best of Your Neighborhoods'»
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Education
UPDATE 1/21: Due to the expectation of inclement weather, this event is being rescheduled.
Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education who has on more than one occasion given praise to South Korea’s education system, will be visiting the University High School of Science and Engineering on Mark Twain Drive.
He will be one of the participants in what is being called a student-centered town hall meeting on access to higher education. Also expected at Tuesday’s event: State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Mayor Segarra, and Hartford Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Kishimoto.
Some of this discussion will focus on recent release of the 2014 FAFSA. The federal student aid form has been redesigned to more accurately record a student’s family’s income. For those adults who are shacking up, there will be the option of filing as “unmarried and both parents living together.” The FAFSA is due February 15th and this event will have juniors and seniors from the high school in attendance.
The town hall event will be held in the school’s atrium at 1:30pm.
The Blue Hills neighborhood is north of the West End and west of the North East neighborhood; the Upper Albany and Asylum Hill neighborhoods also form borders. It shares a boundary with the towns of Bloomfield and West Hartford.
Continue reading 'In Your Neighborhood: Blue Hills (last round)'»