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April 11, 2017

Education advocacy continues for Nakitta Brown after son graduates high school

In June, my son Julian will graduate from Hillhouse High School and attend Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina to pursue a degree in Sports Management. As a proud mother who has been actively involved in Julian’s education since elementary school, this is a proud moment for me. I will continue to be a committed advocate for engaged parenting in education because I have seen the difference it makes in helping children succeed.

The 2017 Connecticut Education Parent Summit, hosted by ConnCAN and Southern Connecticut State University on March 25, was a tremendous opportunity for parents like me to come together with advocates, educators, state officials and community leaders to share knowledge and resources for being engaged stakeholders in the Connecticut education system.

During the Summit, I attended a financial aid workshop led by Gloria Lee, Director of Financial Aid for Southern Connecticut State University, who helped parents better understand the many resources available to help families pay for college. This workshop helped disprove the myth that college is unaffordable for low-income families — there are many programs and resources available. Ms. Lee provided valuable information for understanding how to navigate the financial aid system.

Another workshop focused on understanding the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) test. The SBAC test is held every year for students in grades 3 through 8; it is a critical measure of how well students are learning over time. SBAC results provide detailed assessments that allow parents to see if their child is meeting appropriate grade-level standards in math and English Language Arts (ELA). In fact, the detailed assessments have so much information that they can sometimes be confusing to the untrained eye. Teresa Alexandru, Senior Associate of Research and Policy for ConnCAN (and a former classroom teacher) presented parents with detailed strategies for using SBAC assessments as rich tools for helping their children succeed in the classroom.

Our children are the future of Connecticut’s economic and social vitality, and access to a bright future hinges on access to a quality education. The Parent Summit was a day full of open dialogue and parent education that will help all families give their children the education they need and deserve.


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