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  • CREC Helps More Than 2,000 Get Ready for School

    (Hartford, CT) At its second annual Back to School Block Party, CREC sent a strong message to the Greater Hartford community—both through its words and its actions.

    “It’s not about what school you go to right now,” said Aura Alvarado, CREC’s director of communications and community relations. “It’s about getting our kids ready to be successful in every school and every program. We’re going to be great together.”

    The August 18 block party, organized by CREC and held at the agency’s headquarters on Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford, was a collaborative effort—an opportunity for the Greater Hartford community to come together to help area children and families as they prepare to start the new school year.

    At the event, CREC, along with the city of Hartford and more than 30 community groups, provided important information about schools and local services and free food to the more than 2,000 people who attended, and HOT 93.7, the block party’s media sponsor, did a live broadcast. The local Ice Cream for a Dream truck gave treats to children who shared their hopes and dreams, nearly 200 children received free haircuts from local hairdressers and barbers, and members of the Hartford Youth Public Safety Program and the Hartford police and fire departments led field games.

    Building on last year’s success, CREC doubled the amount of backpacks given away at its Back to School Block Party. This year, CREC gave 1,200 free backpacks filled with school supplies to children between the ages of 3 and 17 on a first-come; first-served basis. Donations allowed CREC to distribute these items, which will help alleviate some of the financial burden on families as they get ready for the first day of school.

    “Our mission here is to serve the region, and we are doing just that,” said CREC Executive Director Greg Florio. “We are trying to help families get ready for school, and that’s very, very important.”
    As a regional educational service center, CREC’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of all children and families, and it has been doing so for 50 years. It always puts children and families first, and the Back to School Block Party is an example of this.

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    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.

  • CREC to Help Area Students Prepare for the Start of School

    CREC will give away 1,200 backpacks filled with school supplies to Hartford area children who are getting ready for the new school year.

    CREC’s much-anticipated second annual Back to School Block Party will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on August 18 at CREC Central, 111 Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford.

    Building on last year’s success, the event has the same good intentions, but is growing in size. Double the amount of backpacks will be distributed this year and more than 30 community organizations will participate, sharing information about local programs and services. There will also be free food and field games run by members of the Hartford Youth Public Safety Program and the Hartford police and fire departments. Free haircuts will be provided to the first 50 children by local hairdressers and barbers, and the Ice Cream for a Dream truck will give refreshing treats to children who share their hopes and dreams.
     
    The Back to School Block Party is made possible by generosity and good will. With the help of HOT 93.7 as a media sponsor, CREC was able to purchase 1,200 new backpacks for children. The agency also collected school supplies and monetary donations at Walmart on Flatbush Avenue.

    CREC is still accepting monetary donations to fund its event. For more information about the CREC Foundation and to donate, visit www.crec.org/foundation/donate.

    Every day, CREC looks to make a difference in the lives of all children and families. The 50-year-old agency has always put children and families first, and the Back to School Block Party is an example of this.   

    On August 18, backpacks will be distributed on a first-come; first-served basis to children between the ages of 3 and 17. Both children and their parent or guardian must be present to receive backpacks.
     

     

  • Metropolitan Learning Center Students Visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

    (Bloomfield, CT) Twenty-one students from the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands this summer to study the area’s culture and ecosystem and to visit with children who live in area orphanages.

    “The CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies is a school of opportunity,” said Tania Thibault, a counselor at the school and the trip’s organizer. “I am originally from Ecuador. I wanted to share a little bit of me with the students.” 

    Students left Bloomfield June 22 for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. From there, they flew to Quito, Ecuador. They later traveled to the Galapagos Islands, spending a total of 11 days abroad.

    In Ecuador, the students visited Colegio Mejia. Like the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies, Colegio Mejia is an International Baccalaureate school. In addition to learning about the lives of the students in Ecuador, the visit gave CREC students a chance to practice their Spanish.

    During their trip, the group also delivered 25 suitcases worth of donations to two orphanages and visited with the children there, taking photos and playing games with them. The suitcases were filled with school supplies, backpacks, clothes, shoes, and other items.

    Visiting the orphanages was a life-changing experience for Abigail Bray, a 2016 graduate of the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies who will attend UConn this fall. The children were amazing, happy, and smiling, and Bray said CREC students were treated like celebrities while in Ecuador, especially because they were able to take pictures using their smartphones—a luxury Americans take for granted.  

    The trip was an opportunity to get to know the people you help, added Alee Brown, who will enter her senior year at the school. It was nice to meet face-to-face rather than just sign a check, she said.

    The group’s final stop was the Galapagos Islands, where they explored a diverse ecological system, learning about issues of environmental management and preservation and seeing marine iguanas, sharks, and sea lions.  

    CREC’s Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies is one of 18 interdistrict magnet schools operated by CREC. The school serves students in grades six through 12 and offers a curriculum that emphasizes cross-cultural awareness and knowledge of the global dynamic, raises awareness of the state of the planet, and fosters an understanding of the consequences of human choice. International travel is one of many opportunities students receive at the school. 

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    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 atwww.crec.org.

     

  • CREC in the News

    Here are some recent media stories featuring CREC students and staff, and their accomplishments:

    Food Consultants Magazine recently published a story about the new kitchen and servery at CREC Aerospace and Engineering Academy in Windsor..

    CT Viewpoints, The Connecticut Mirror’s opinion section, published an op-ed written by MaryAnne Pascone about CREC’s anniversary.

    The Hartford Courant published a story about a new flag at Hartford City Hall. A CREC Two Rivers Magnet High School student is mentioned.

    Rocky Hill Life published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School’s participation in Connecticut Walk4Hearing.

    WFSB recently aired a story about CREC Open Choice "Seeds for Success" students who helped beautify a New Britain park.

    The Windsor Journal(see page 7) recently published an article on MLC students' trip to Ecuador.

    We-ha.com recently published a story about enrichment camps in West Hartford, and CREC Discovery Academy’s Clare Neseralla was mentioned.

    The Hartford Courant recently published a picture of CREC’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School at the Connecticut Walk4Hearing event, and it published a picture of the CREC Discovery Academy class that won the CREC Essential Skills Video Contest.

    The Windsor Journal recently published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Envirothon team and a story about the school’s new butterfly gardens.

    The Hartford Courant published stories about graduation ceremonies at the CREC Public Safety Academy and CREC’s Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy. It also published photos from CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering’s graduation ceremony.

    The Hartford Courant published a story about the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts’ graduation ceremony.

    The Hartford Courant recently published a story about CREC Two Rivers Magnet High School’s first-ever graduation ceremony and a story about BioBlitz, which was recently held at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School.

    NBC Connecticut aired a segment about the Walk to the Moon event at CREC Montessori Magnet School.

    WNPR published a story about BioBlitz, which was held at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School.

    The Hartford Courant recently published a great story about the life of Sonia Plumb, a CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School teacher. It also published a photo of orientation at Camp Jewell, a photo of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School’s butterfly picnic, a story about a CREC Montessori Magnet School student who won a national essay contest, and a story about the National Invention Convention.

    The Hartford Courant published a story that previewed BioBlitz, which is happening this weekend at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School.

    The Windsor Journal published two stories written by CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering students. It also published a story about two CREC students who will be interning at Yale University this summer.

    WFSB published a Gametime segment about CREC Public Safety Academy’s Khahari Mangual.  

    The Hartford Courant published a story about two CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering students who secured internships this summer at Yale University and a story about the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School creativity in the community course.

    WNPR published a story about a Youth Hangout for the Muslim community, and it mentions Sahar Amjad, a senior at the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering.

    WFSB Channel 3 aired a special Mother’s Day segment about Lyna Dieppa, a CREC Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy student-athlete.

    The Hartford Courantpublished a picture of CREC softball players attending a clinic at the University of Saint Joseph.

    WNPR published a story about the Hartford Jazz Society’s upcoming concert. The CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School jazz band ensemble is opening.

    The Hartford Courant published a great photo gallery of the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School’s production of “West Side Story.” It also published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering’s middle school Ultimate Frisbee team.

    Enfield Patch published a story about CREC Public Safety Academy students who were honored as CIAC Scholar Athletes at the 33rd annual CAS-CIAC Scholar Athlete Banquet.

    The Hartford Courant published a story about the Capitol Region Interdistrict Leadership Academy’s community service project, a story about CREC Montessori Magnet School’s wildlife designation, and a picture of the CREC John J. Allison, Jr. Polaris Center’s transition fair.

    The Greater Hartford Arts Council published a calendar item about “West Side Story.”

    The Hartford Courant recently published a picture of math and science night at CREC’s Reggio Magnet School of the Arts, a story about the upcoming Earth Day event at the Energize Connecticut Center, and a story about CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School’s spring musical.

    The Metro Hartford Alliance published a story about CREC’s upcoming minority teacher recruitment fair.

    We-ha.com published a story about CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School students who will perform in “West Side Story.”

    The New Haven Register published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering’s U.S. News and World Report rankings.

    The Windsor Journal published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering’s basketball team. It was a written by a CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering student.

    The Hartford Courant recently published a story about the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies’ softball field and a photo gallery about the topic. The newspaper also published a story about the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering Elementary School’s community service efforts for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and a story about a CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School graduate who recently took over The Courant’s Instagram page.

    The Canton Compass recently published a story about a CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School student who is part of the cast of “West Side Story.”

  • CSDE Child Nutrition Programs: CREC Announces Free & Reduced-Price Lunch Guidelines

    CREC today announced its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

    Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) following family size and income criteria for determining eligibility.

    The following income guidelines will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 for determining eligibility of participants for free and reduced-price meals in the Child Nutrition Programs.

    The above income calculations are made based on the following formulas: Monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12; twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24; income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52.  All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.

    Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out the application and return it to the school, or complete an on-line application at crec.heartlandapps.com. Copies are also available for downloading from crecschools.org at each school’s website and at the main office at each school.Only one application is required per household and an application for free or reduced- price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions.  The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and breakfast programs.  Note that the district MAY share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.  This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.  Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

    For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA).  When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that their children are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the children must pay full price for school meals and the school will not send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.

    No application is required if the district directly certifies a child based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program.  All children in these households are eligible for free meal benefits.  Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits.  If any children were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those children.  Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by September 30th, 2016.

    If a child is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form.  The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number.  The signature of an adult household member is also required.

    Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information.

    When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the child is categorized as either:  Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law.  Households with children who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box.  Questions should be directed to the determining official.  For any child not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any child also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other children.

    Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits.  If households/children are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under Assistance Programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school.

    Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals.  A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the child is a foster child. Additionally, a foster childmay be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits.  If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free meal benefits.  Note however, that a foster child’s free eligibility does not automatically extend to all students in the household.

    Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members.  The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one.  The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct. 

    Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, the by School Secretary/Administrative Assistant will review applications and determine eligibility.  If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, he/she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Call the school office or 860-240-6611 to discuss your application. If he/she wishes to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to Mason Thrall, Director of Operations, 860-524-4056; 111 Charter Oak Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 for a hearing to appeal the decision.

    The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.  Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.

    If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the family should contact the school to file a new application.  Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for reduced-price meals or free meals if the family income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines.

    Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at child’s school office or 860-240-6611.

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

    To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
    (1)   mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
    (2)   fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    (3)   email: program.intake@usda.gov.

    This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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    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 18 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available atwww.crec.org.