District to Open Two New Magnets And Expand a Third

Spotlight on Excellence     Issue 25     April 2013

District to Open Two New Magnets And Expand a Third

In an effort to increase the city’s portfolio of quality educational opportunities, the Hartford Board of Education today approved proposals to open two new Sheff Magnet schools and expand the Betances STEM Magnet School at a larger space downtown.

Under the first measure, the board accepted a grant of $600,000 from the state Department of Education to find a new location for the Betances STEM Magnet School to accommodate an expanded student body of 4th-through-8th graders by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

The second item approved by the board would convert the current Montessori program at Moylan Elementary into a magnet school housing 84 Hartford students and 63 suburban students. Moreover, it creates a new Hartford Pre-K Magnet School for 180 children of ages 3 and 4 also by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

Both proposals were made possible under the terms of the new one-year negotiated agreement between the State Department of Education and the plaintiffs to the Sheff vs. O’Neil lawsuit.

“The new agreement takes us one-step closer to ensuring that Hartford remains a viable and strong school district,” Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto said. “It also enables more Hartford families to access quality educational options within the city.”

With the addition of the Montessori program at Moylan and the Hartford Pre-K Magnet School, Hartford Public Schools will now be home to 17 magnet schools, seven of which specialize in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.  The district’s portfolio also includes a number of themed schools such as, the Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy, the Hartford Insurance and Finance Academy (High School, Inc.), the Hartford Nursing Academy, the Hartford Law & Government Academy, the Hartford Journalism & Media Academy and the Hartford Academy of Culinary Arts.

Today’s votes immediately activate the process for developing an operations plan for all three schools, a plan that will identify new locations for both the Betances STEM Magnet School and the Hartford Pre-K Magnet School. The plans are to be presented to the board for approval on or before its June 18, 2013 meeting.

“The Board’s decision to approve the proposals improves and strengthens our portfolio of schools,” said Board Chair Matthew K. Poland. “As the portfolio grows strategically, our students in Hartford will have access to world class educational opportunities.”

Superintendent Kishimoto emphasized that the proposed changes will not affect students at the Betances STEM Magnet and the Montessori School at Moylan, who expect to return there next year.

The $600,000 “incubation” award is expected to cover the full cost of a lease, build out and reconfiguration of space and technology upgrades at the new Betances Magnet, which will be located within walking distance of the Connecticut Science Center on Columbus Boulevard.

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