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Courant: Capitol Region Education Council Opening Four Magnet Schools

Thursday July 31, 2008

Capitol Region Education Council Opening Four Magnet Schools
by Daniela Altimari, Courant Staff Writer
July 31, 2008
©The Hartford Courant


The Capitol Region Education Council is opening four magnet schools across the region, including an academy in Avon that will use a child’s natural curiosity to promote creativity and critical thinking skills.

The Reggio Emilia Magnet School of the Arts will serve 160 preschoolers and kindergartners when it opens on Sept. 3 in temporary quarters on Fisher Drive. Within about three years, it will find a permanent home.

The Avon planning and zoning commission on Tuesday approved the education council’s request to move into a building at 150 Fisher Drive. Initially, the school will serve only children ages 3 and 4 and kindergartners. However, additional grades will be added each year. Ultimately the program will grow to accommodate children from preschool to the upper-elementary grades, said Denise Gallucci, general director of magnet schools for the council.

The initial enrollment of preschoolers and kindergartners will include 90 children from Hartford and 70 from the suburbs.

The school will embrace the “Reggio Emilia philosophy.” First developed in Italy after World War II, the approach contends that a child’s curiosity can be used to teach principles of literacy, math and science.

“It’s an internationally recognized approach where students learn through their innate curiosity,” Gallucci said. “It truly builds critical thinking.”

There is only one other Reggio Emilia school in Connecticut, Gallucci said. It is located in Naugatuck, and Gallucci and other council officials visited it before launching their own school.

Gallucci praised Avon school Superintendent Richard Kisiel for his support of the concept.

“This is something the Hartford region is craving and we are so excited to be able to offer this to families,” she said.

It is one of four magnet schools that the education council is opening in the next month or so as part of an effort to decrease the racial isolation of urban students. The three others are:

  • International Baccalaureate Magnet School for Global Citizenship in East Hartford.
  • Charter School for Young Children at the Hartford College for Women in Hartford.
  • CREC – Public Safety Academy Interdistrict Magnet School in Enfield.

For more information on the education council, visit www.crec.org

Contact Daniela Altimari at altimari@courant.com.

Link: http://courant.com/news/education/hc-ctavomagnet0731.artjul31,0,6133134.story