Eight new officers officially joined the New Haven Police Department this afternoon after graduating from the Milford Police Academy. The new officers will now undergo three to four months of field training before being assigned to walking beats in neighborhoods throughout the city. These new officers will join the four who began field training last month after graduating from the State POST Academy in Meriden. In December, I will swear in 28 additional graduates from the New Haven Police Academy. Crime overall, including shootings, is down in New Haven. But the level of crime we continue to experience cannot be tolerated. I am committed to providing the Police Department the support it needs, but our police officers cannot work alone. They need your support. When you see an officer walking in your neighborhood, introduce yourself. Make sure you know your district manager. Attend a block watch meeting or a Management Team meeting. We all have a role to play in eliminating crime and strengthening our neighborhoods.
Hundreds Celebrate Hill Central School Dedication
I joined hundreds of families this past weekend for a dedication ceremony at Hill Central School, celebrating the completion of the 36th school to be rebuilt or rehabilitated since 1995 as part of the School Construction Program.
Located in the heart of the city's Hill neighborhood, Hill Central School serves approximately 500 students. The $43.2 million new 85,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility has 21 technology-equipped classrooms including a modern science lab, library and media center. Schools cost money and our taxes are higher because of it. Still, there are no roads or bridges more important than seeing that our kids have the best facilities in which to learn. This is a critical investment in New Haven School Change and in our future. It is a powerful investment that will continue to pay dividends for our youth and our community for years to come.
Hill Central is in the third year of a turnaround effort, supported by a $1.59 million federal School Improvement Grant. Since the start of that effort, the number of students scoring proficient in reading at the school has increased from 24 percent in 2008 to more than half in 2012. The school will also benefit from recently awarded state funds to open a Family Resource Center that will enable the school to dramatically expand and improve efforts to empower and engage students, parents and the surrounding community.
The newly construction school continues the district's pattern of smart energy and sustainability investments. Two years ago, New Haven became the first district in the state in install an energy fuel cell at an elementary/middle school when it did so at Clemente. Hill Central will share that fuel cell with Clemente, also benefiting from cost-saving clean-energy generating Central Utility Plant (CUP) located between the two schools. The 400-kilowatt fuel cell was developed in Connecticut by UTC Power and will meet most of both building's electric needs. New Haven received a $500,000 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund at the time to support the fuel cell installation.
Early Childhood Advocate Appointed to Board of Education
I am pleased to announce I have appointed early childhood advocate Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor to the New Haven Board of Education. Dr. Jones-Taylor will be sworn in tonight at the Board of Education meeting.
Dr. Jones-Taylor brings to the Board of Education an expertise in early childhood development and education that will benefit all young children in New Haven. As we seek to close the achievement gap, cut the drop out rate in half and assure that all children have the resources and preparation to graduate from college, early childhood education is critical. I look forward to working with Dr. Jones-Taylor and am confident she will be a positive addition to the Board of Education.
Members of the New Haven Board of Education serve four-year terms and are appointed by the Mayor. Information on the existing board members can be found at www.nhps.net/boe.
Myra Jones-Taylor is the Director of the Office of Early Childhood Planning for Connecticut, appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy in May of 2012 to create a state-wide plan for a coordinated birth-to-eight early care and education system. Dr. Jones-Taylor also serves on the Governor's P-20 Council, which supports collaboration among early childhood, K-12, higher education and workforce training sectors.
Dr. Jones-Taylor had this to say about her appointment: "Joining the New Haven Board of Education is an incredible opportunity to bring focus and attention to the needs of New Haven's youngest children and their families. I am eager to work with my fellow Board members to shape a more comprehensive, place-based approach to the care and education of all children, especially the infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, who call New Haven home."
The New Haven Public Schools hosts the largest pre-k program in the state, offering free high quality early childhood education and services to students as young as six weeks old. New Haven first began offering early childhood programs in 1997. Since then, the percentage of New Haven students entering kindergarten with pre-K experience has increased from approximately 63 percent to 74 percent, the highest percentage of any urban district in Connecticut. All new elementary schools now offer pre-kindergarten programs.
The New Haven Public Schools is in the third year of its nationally-recognized School Change Initiative. New Haven School Change seeks to close the achievement gap between New Haven students and the statewide average, cut the dropout rate in half and ensure that every student has the academic ability and the financial resources to succeed in college.
Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo had this to say about Dr. Jones-Taylor's appointment: "Dr. Jones-Taylor brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in early education to the board. One of our most important tasks as educators is to prepare our youngest children for success in school. As we continue our mission of School Change, Dr. Jones-Taylor will be a valuable asset, especially as we seek to strengthen preschool opportunities for our children."
October is Disability Awareness Month
October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"
The New Haven Commission on Disabilities will be hosting a panel discussion with students with disabilities on employment for individuals with disabilities at Wilbur Cross High School on October 24. Panelists will include three veterans with disabilities who will speak about their employment experiences.
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