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Hartford Public Schools and University of Hartford Officials Sign Historic Affiliation Agreement

Posted 06/15/2011
Posted by David Isgur

Hartford Public Schools Superintendent-Elect Christina Kishimoto and University of Hartford President Walter Harrison have signed an affiliation agreement to establish a framework for research, education, and innovation between the two institutions. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, who is an alumnus of the University of Hartford, participated in the signing of this historic agreement that took place at a ceremony at the Betances Early Reading Lab School in Hartford on Wednesday, June 15, at 11 a.m.

The goal of this first-ever system-wide affiliation between the Hartford Public Schools (HPS) and a Connecticut university is to increase educational and research opportunities that benefit University and HPS students and faculty.

As part of the agreement, HPS students and faculty may benefit from enrollment in University courses while University education students may be afforded priority placement in Hartford schools for internships and teaching positions, clinical placements, and other training opportunities. One of the primary goals of the affiliation is to encourage research that informs education reform in Hartford, the region, and beyond. The agreement recognizes the University’s Institute for Translational Research as the key unit to initiate and facilitate collaborative research that is truly relevant to citizens of Hartford, exemplifying the University’s mission of being a “private university with a public purpose.”

“I believe that, working together, we can make Hartford a national leader in education reform.  We can be a leader in quality education within an urban environment,” said President Harrison. “This is a dream I believe we all share.  With today’s signing, I believe it is a dream within reach!”

“This partnership with the University of Hartford provides our teachers the opportunity to have their practice informed by the research of the university faculty; the university faculty would likewise use applied practice by our teachers to inform their research,” Dr. Kishimoto said. “This is the type of high level collaboration between our staff and university professors that will expand our capacity to close the achievement gap.”

The following new initiatives exemplify the goals of the affiliation agreement:

  • At the Betances Early Reading Lab School: A collaborative team of University and Betances faculty is investigating potential effects of intensive professional development and family involvement on student literacy learning.

  • At the Global Communication Academy: The University’s Educational Main Street initiative is beginning to study the effects of various after-school programming models on student achievement.

  • At the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School and the University High School of Science and Engineering (UHSSE): Building on existing collaboration successes with UHSSE, both schools now are working with the University’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) and the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) to approach STEM education from an early age through college.

  • At the Montessori Magnet School at Annie Fisher: ENHP is starting an elementary education masters program with a Montessori concentration. Annie Fisher will be a key partner, both programmatically and with regards to research, in addition to the Montessori Training Center of New England.

  • At the University of Hartford: During the fall term, the University and HPS are planning to co-sponsor a conference on bullying.

Ralph O. Mueller, dean of the University’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, remarked, “Today’s event is a milestone in our college’s history. Together, we are demonstrating our commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for Hartford’s children through coordinated, research-based, and relevant education reform.”

The partnership between the University of Hartford and Hartford Public Schools to serve Hartford’s youth goes back to the University’s founding in 1957. In 1990, the University established its Educational Main Street program that has brought thousands of University students into the Hartford Public Schools to tutor and mentor younger students. Also in 1990, the University established the Hartford Scholars program, through which eligible graduates of Hartford high schools can attend the University at half-tuition. To date, more than 300 Hartford Scholars have received nearly 400 associate’s or bachelor’s degrees from the University. Nearly 100 Hartford Scholars are currently enrolled at the University.

Another strong example of the University’s commitment to local education is that the University of Hartford is the only private university with two public magnet schools on its campus — the University of Hartford Magnet School, a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school whose curriculum is based on the theory of multiple intelligences, and the University High School of Science and Engineering in which qualified high school students can take college-level courses and earn college credits prior to graduation. Since the first graduating class in 2008, UHSSE has had all of its graduates attend a two- or four-year institution of higher education – including 39 students who have matriculated at the University of Hartford – or chosen a career in the military.