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Monday, March 16, 2015

Local Legislators Discuss Magnet School Tuition with Region Superintendents

Posted by Cindy Hersom in General  |  Post a comment

Every month the superintendents representing each of the area towns and school districts attend the Superintendents Monthly Meeting hosted at LEARN.  These monthly meetings demonstrate the collaborative partnerships and regional cooperation.  This month local legislators joined the morning session for a discussion with the superintendents. Part of the discussion was about the cost of magnet school tuition and the years of flat funding from the state for magnet schools. Dr. Eileen S. Howley, Executive Director at LEARN assured those in attendance that the goal is not to be a financial strain on districts, but to be a solution-finder. Howley stated, “The RESC Alliance is advocating for a sustainable funding formula for magnet schools that will reduce the burden on our local school districts.”

The legislators in attendance were: Senators Paul Formica and Catherine Osten, and State Representatives: Devin Carney, Mike France, Noreen Kokoruda, and Kathleen McCarty.

LEARN is a Regional Educational Service Center (RESC), serving 25 towns, 24 school districts, and 21 superintendents in southeastern/shoreline Connecticut. LEARN is one of the six RESCs in the state with a mission to work with and for its member districts to improve the quality of public education for all learners.  LEARN provides leadership for teaching and learning; high quality, innovative schools and programs; identifies and delivers customized and cost effective programs and services; and, promotes collaborative partnerships and regional cooperation.

For more information about LEARN magnet schools visit the magnet school tab on this website or email

Parent Planning Meeting with the Connecticut Coalition for Magnet Schools

Posted by Paul Carolan, Director of RMMS in General  |  Post a comment

Julia Winer, from the Connecticut Coalition for Magnet Schools, met with a dedicated group of 32 parents representing the LEARN Magnet Schools in southeastern Connecticut to present an advocacy workshop to help us fight for the future of magnet schools in the region.  Parents were provided the opportunity and support to write short personal stories about the magnet school experience that will be used for communications with legislators, testimony to the General Assembly or to share with local news organizations. 

The LEARN magnet schools are developing a team to go to Hartford on March 3, to provide testimony to the Connecticut State Legislature's Appropriations Committee. The focus of the coalition is for the legislature to increase magnet schools funding and a sustainable funding formula in order to continue to provide high-quality teachers and essential programs, ensure that all students have equal access to magnet schools; and ensure that magnet school programs continue to serve a diverse population of students.  
The Connecticut Coalition for Magnet Schools is made up of families and community members from throughout Connecticut. 

For more information about The CT Coalition for Magnet Schools please visit:


New Director for The Friendship School

Posted by Lisa Cooney in General  |  Post a comment

LEARN is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrea L. Simmons as the Director of The Friendship School. 

Ms. Simmons is a summa cum laude graduate of Suffolk University, where she received her degree in Developmental Psychology. She holds her M.Ed. in Elementary Education and 6th year degree in Educational Leadership, both from the University of Massachusetts; and is a graduate of the Boston Public Schools Leadership Program, a nationally recognized leadership development program.

Ms. Simmons has spent the past 8 years in the Boston Public Schools as an early grades elementary teacher leader. Her experience includes various leadership roles working as school climate and culture coordinator, as well as instructional leader. This past year, she served as a principal intern at the Mozart Elementary School in the Boston Public Schools where she functioned as the instructional leader and facilitator of school-wide professional development for team, school and district data analysis.  She was the program coordinator for the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, worked with her principal to develop the School Quality Plan, school wide professional development plans, and managed school wide schedules and after school programs for English Language Learners and Supplemental Education Services.  In her role at Mozart Elementary School, she served as the lead teacher in the 2nd grade Sheltered English Immersion Program, implementing TRC Investigations Math, a balanced literacy model including Reading Street and Lucy Caulkins writing, and the integration of Common Core State Standards in Social Studies and Science.   

Ms. Simmons envisions The Friendship School as a place where every parent would like their child's first schooling experience to be. During her introduction to the school community, she spoke of her commitment to high quality education by stating, “High quality early childhood education sets the stage for lifelong learning.  I am committed to providing teacher support and ensuring families are involved in order to provide the best experiences for our students.”

The Friendship School, a model urban, suburban, collaborative effort between New London and Waterford, exists to ensure that all enrolled preschool and kindergarten children will acquire the readiness skills to be active members of a diverse learning community, and that their families are informed advocates involved in the development and education of their children by: maintaining high expectations for language and literacy acquisition through a developmentally appropriate curriculum; and offering full-day, comprehensive support services.

Secondary Transition Expo

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Transitioning from high school to post-school options is a big step for all students, not to mention students with disabilities.  The Secondary Transition Expo was designed for students with disabilities, parents, caregivers and educators to gain a better understanding of transition planning including preparing for future employment, education, independent living, understanding and accessing useful resources in the community, all while strengthening self-advocacy skills.

In attendance were representatives from: State Department of Developmental Services, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Board of Education Services for the Blind and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DDS, BRS, BESB, DMHAS), as well as private adult service agencies, assistive technology companies, transportation specialists and estate planning representatives.  The knowledgeable volunteers were approachable and shared experiences and valuable resources to those seeking support and guidance for their teenagers approaching this new chapter in their lives.  The students were encouraged to be a part of the conversation and were able to talk one-on-one with resourceful and helpful community supporters about their future transition and post-school options.

In addition to the tables and booths of representatives, the expo also had three different break-out sessions which included the topics Transition 101, ABC’s of DDS and How to Prepare for an Interview.

Parent Karen O’Toole from Waterford had this to say about her child’s experience, “I just wanted to thank you for the recent Transition Expo held at the Marine Magnet School.  It was very well organized and provided an enormous amount of information.  I'm sure it took a lot of hard work to pull it off and I just wanted to acknowledge all the effort that went into it.”  Andrea Harney from East Lyme commented, “Great job on the Expo, it was very informative”.

For more information about transition or how the Student Support Services Department at LEARN can help with your child’s journey please call Lois Eldridge at 860-434-4800 ext. 182 or email her at

Three Rivers Middle College Debate Team Win

Posted by Cindy Hersom in General  |  Post a comment

On February 26, 2015 Three Rivers Middle College went against other high schools in the area for the Dr. Grace Sawyer Jones Debate presented by the Sankofa Education and Leadership Inc. The debate was hosted at Three Rivers Community College.

Topic: Merits of the new Common Core State Standards for Public School Education.  Teams: New London High School, Norwich Free Academy, Plainfield High School, and Three Rivers Middle College Magnet High School.

After all teams made very compelling arguments the TRMC Novice Team was declared the winner with first place! Congratulations to TRMC for their first trophy and all the debaters for an awesome presentation!


Friday, February 27, 2015

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