Looking Back in East Hartford: Third quarter 2012

By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Thu., Dec. 27, 2012
A team of Connecticut educators and lawmakers who went to Washington, D.C., to meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the new program to add 300 hours to O'Connell's curriculum. File photo by Evan Pajer.
A team of Connecticut educators and lawmakers who went to Washington, D.C., to meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the new program to add 300 hours to O'Connell's curriculum. File photo by Evan Pajer.

In East Hartford, the third quarter of 2012 was a milestone for many major construction projects. A project to expand Raymond Library finished gathering funds with an additional $1.9 million approved by the Town Council in September and an additional $300,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving in the process of being approved. The library plans to put the project out to bid and begin construction in 2013.

Also prominent were the construction of a new building for the Connecticut River Academy and the ground-breaking for a new early childhood magnet school at Goodwin College. The River Academy building first broke ground in January. The final girder for the building, signed by students from the school, was lowered into place in September. The magnet school had a ground-breaking ceremony in July. Both buildings are expected to be complete for the 2013-2014 school year.

Throughout the third quarter of 2012, a highly successful local farmers’ market ran for its 22nd year, opening each Friday from the end of June to October. The market offered residents an opportunity to purchase locally-grown fresh vegetables from three area farms: Futtner's Family Farm in East Hartford, Wright Farm of Tolland and Unity Farm of Manchester. Along with fresh produce, the market also offered a book sale and community education events about insurance, fire safety and more. Also offered during July was a summer concert series on the town green between July and August.

In August, O'Connell Elementary School gained statewide attention as it changed its curriculum to become the state's seventh International Baccalaureate school. O'Connell joined the Connecticut IB Academy as the town's second school to use the IB curriculum. The school expanded its enrollment as part of adopting the new program, and may expand from a K-6 to a K-8 school. The move to the IB curriculum attracted further attention to the school, as it was selected for a new program to add 300 hours to its 2013-2014 school year. Details on how the school will add the hours are expected in a report to be filed in early 2013, with expenses paid for by grants from the Ford Foundation and National Center on Time and Learning. O'Connell Principal Greg Fox said in a December news conference that the school will reach out to the community for ideas.


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