On September 29, the U.S. Department of Education announced that LEARN, the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) for southeastern Connecticut, will receive almost $15 million in a grant to expand school choice programs throughout the region. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant allows for significant curriculum revision at LEARN interdistrict magnet schools, including the Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) at Goodwin College in East Hartford. Funding will be distributed over a five-year period.
"This grant is a testament to our mission that has been established at CTRA during the past seven years, as well as to our commitment to true career and college readiness," CTRA principal Tara Amatrudo said. "I'm thrilled that our vision for sustainability education has been validated at the federal level. We are doing so many things to benefit our scholars' futures...and now we will get to do even more."
The grant was formally announced at a press conference in Old Lyme that included Congressman Joe Courtney and leadership from the LEARN schools. Support from the MSAP grant will enable CTRA to add a manufacturing pathway for its students. LEARN and Goodwin College jointly operate the school, located on Goodwin's River Campus.
"This grant will allow us to fully roll out our new manufacturing program and offer our students additional class selection options," Goodwin's Director of Magnet Schools Operations, Lynn Guerriero, said. "CTRA students come from 42 towns throughout the state, many of them local, but also from suburban towns such as Hebron, Columbia, Vernon, and West Hartford. The new manufacturing component of study will provide these students with hands-on opportunities to experience cutting-edge machinery and tools in advanced manufacturing, design and engineering, CNC machining, laser technologies, robotics, quality control, and logistics."
"Goodwin College, along with LEARN, has worked closely with Congressman Courtney and with Congressman Larson in our home district, and with the Governor's office, state education agencies, and local employers to identify solutions to a shortage of skilled workers in Connecticut's manufacturing industry," Goodwin's Vice President for Economic and Strategic Development, Todd Andrews, said. "The College is extremely excited about this grant award and the new learning opportunities it will bring to CTRA'S 500 students."
LEARN Executive Director Dr. Eileen Howley said the RESC was delighted to work with the federal government to reduce racial isolation and foster high quality magnet programming in local schools. "We know that the true beneficiaries of this effort are our region's children and families. The federal grant recognizes the significant need of communities like Groton, Norwich, and East Hartford, where major contradictions between wealth and poverty are most prevalent and the achievement gap is so pronounced," Howley said.
For more information on the Connecticut River Academy, visit www.goodwin.edu/CTRA. Interested families can apply online, sign up for an upcoming Parent Information Session, or plan to attend an Open House.