OUR DISTRICT: Students Participate in Roundtable Discussion on School Diversity & Equity with U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr.
Hartford Public Schools received a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr. at Hartford Trinity College Magnet School. The secretary was able to share ideas with Hartford Public Schools students who participated in the powerful roundtable discussion on equity and diversity with students, parents, local leaders, and educators, as well as with some of Connecticut’s highest ranking elected officials: Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal (a co-sponsor of the Stronger Together bill), Connecticut Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, and Mayor Luke Bronin.
The forum was organized by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and moderated by Enid Rey, Executive Director of School Choice at Hartford Public Schools. Ms. Rey states, “Part of the reason national visitors and other school districts call upon Hartford Public Schools is because we have the expertise in doing work focused on racial and socioeconomic integration through our award-winning Magnet Schools. We are recognized as a national leader and are doing the work well, and we understand both the challenges and the tremendous positive impact of our integration work on students and families.”
The Sheff Movement Coalition newsletter reflects:
The secretary visited Hartford Wednesday to promote President Obama’s proposed “Stronger Together” initiative, a $120 million grant program that would support community-led diversity efforts. A related legislative proposal, the Stronger Together School Diversity Act of 2016, was introduced by U.S. Senator Murphy (D-Conn.) and Congresswoman Fudge (Ohio-11). Praising Hartford for its state-funded voluntary integration practices, King said the city was a “model for the country.” He briefly cited the many benefits of integrated education. Several students and teachers shared their experiences. In her brief remarks, Elizabeth Horton Sheff recognized the region’s remarkable progress but validated the frustration of parents who’ve not yet gotten access to quality integrated education. She urged attendees to forge ahead with integration efforts, noting that every child deserves access to quality integrated education.
Sally Biggs, Principal of HMTCA & Honored Guests
The panelists and special guests included:
- U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King
- U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
- U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
- Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy
- Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell
- Enid Rey (Moderator)
- Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin
- Don Williams, CEA Director of Policy, Research and Reform
- AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel
- Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year
- Elizabeth Horton Sheff – lead plaintiff in Sheff v. O’Neill case
- Sally Biggs, Principal HMTCA
- Deb Avery, Social Studies HMTCA
- Ventine “Tyrone” Richardson, Principal Betances STEM Magnet School
- John Klimczak, Parent HMTCA
- Mariliana Alduen, Parent HMTCA
- Timothy Burton, 12th Grader at HMTCA
- Jacob St. Cyr, 8th Grader at HMTCA
- T.J. Sullivan, Graduate Classical Magnet
Other HPS Audience Participants included Gary Lotreck, HPS Teacher of the Year 2016, Dario Gaci, Jordan & Jenna Gershman, and Alex Tomcho, all HMTCA graduates attending Trinity College.
Hartford Public Schools student panelists, (left to right) T.J. Sullivan, Graduate Classical Magnet, Jacob St. Cyr, 8th Grader at HMTCA, and Timothy Burton, 12th Grader at HMTCA (who also sang our national anthem to open the Teachers Convocation.)
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