FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2017
Contact: Matt Engelhardt, 860-434-4800 ext. 170
LEARN Awarded $15 Million Magnet School Federal Grant; Benefits schools in Groton, Norwich, New London, and East Hartford
OLD LYME – The U.S. Department of Education announced that LEARN – the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) for southeastern Connecticut – will receive almost $15 million in a grant to expand school choice programs throughout the region.
The Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant supports the establishment of four intra-district magnet schools in Groton and Norwich. It also allows for significant curriculum revision at existing LEARN interdistrict magnet schools in New London and East Hartford. Funding will be distributed over a five-year period.
Unique among MSAP applications, the EXPECT (Equity, eXcellence, & Pride across Eastern ConnecticuT) project brings together a number of partners, including LEARN, the Norwich Public Schools, the Groton Public Schools, and Goodwin College.
LEARN will host a press conference at its headquarters in Old Lyme on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:30 p.m. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2 nd District) will speak, as well as educational leaders from LEARN and the school districts that will benefit from the grant.
"Today's award of a five-year, $15 million grant to southeastern Connecticut's magnet schools from the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program is a great win for the LEARN coalition," said Courtney. "Over the last several months, I worked closely with LEARN and Connecticut magnet schools across the state to protect these critical resources for an inclusive, regional K-12 model that has produced great results. Magnet schools break down social barriers and provide Connecticut families with the ability to choose programs that most appeal to their children's academic talents and interests, in a system that is publicly accountable to the taxpayer. As our state's towns and schools face uncertainty in funding their educational needs this year, the U.S. Department of Education's award provides some measure of stability for the future of these great public schools."
LEARN Executive Director Dr. Eileen Howley said the RESC was delighted to work with the federal government to reduce racial isolation and foster high quality magnet programming in local schools. "We know that the true beneficiaries of this effort are our region's children and families. The federal grant recognizes the significant need of communities like Groton, Norwich, and East Hartford, where major contradictions between wealth and poverty are most prevalent and the achievement gap is so pronounced," Howley said.
EXPECT seeks to reduce socio-economic isolation in the communities and region and increase student achievement by creating new magnet schools or significantly re-envisioning current schools. The schools set to benefit are:
- LEARN's Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS) in New London, a K-5 interdistrict magnet school, which will become an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school for the Primary Years Programme.
- Groton's Carl C. Cutler Middle School will be renamed Cutler Arts & Humanities Magnet Middle School and will be an intra-district magnet middle school, serving Groton students and their families.
- Groton's West Side Middle School will be renamed the West Side STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Middle Magnet School and will become an intra-district magnet school serving Groton students.
- Norwich's 6th Grade Academy will be renamed the Teachers Memorial Global Studies Magnet Middle School and will be an intradistrict school, serving Norwich students.
- Norwich's Kelly Middle School will also become an intra-district magnet school, serving Norwich families. Kelly's curriculum will be STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).
- Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) in East Hartford, an interdistrict magnet high school, will add a manufacturing pathway for its students. LEARN and Goodwin College jointly operate the school, located on Goodwin's River Campus.
Norwich Schools Superintendent Abby Dolliver said the grant will provide wonderful and different learning opportunities for middle school students.
"With their ability to focus on Global Studies or STEAM, they will engage with us in opening many new doors, exposing our students to transdiciplinary and community based learning opportunities," Dolliver said. "We are also pleased to partner with LEARN, who continues to work closely with us on many endeavors."
Groton Superintendent Dr. Michael Graner said the grant enables the district to realize its dream of creating intra-district magnet schools. In addition to enabling partnerships with local businesses and organizations, the grant sets the schools on the path to candidacy as International Baccalaureate (IB) schools.
"These significant changes to our school structures and curricula will benefit the entire school community and offer greatly improved educational opportunities to our children," Graner said. LEARN is a Regional Educational Service Center working with and for its member districts to improve the quality of public education for all learners. LEARN provides leadership for teaching and learning; high quality, innovative schools and programs; identifies and delivers customized and cost effective programs and services; and, promotes collaborative partnerships and regional cooperation.