Barnard-Brown Could Become Magnet School's New Home
August 8, 2007
By ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer
Barnard-Brown School in downtown Hartford would close as an elementary school next year and undergo renovations as the new site for Capital Preparatory Magnet School under a recommendation announced Tuesday.
A Hartford school board committee selected Barnard-Brown in part because of its proximity to Capital Community College, where Capital Preparatory shares space in the former G. Fox department store, a downtown landmark at 950 Main St.
Barnard-Brown, at 1304 Main St., is within walking distance of the college and would allow Capital Preparatory to maintain its relationship with the community college, including an arrangement under which Capital Preparatory's students can take college-level courses.
"The [downtown] location ... was critical," said David MacDonald, a member of the Hartford Board of Education and chairman of the site selection committee.
The recommendation is expected to come to the school board in September.
Barnard-Brown would continue to operate as an elementary school this fall but would close at the end of the school year. Officials are studying ways to redistribute about 425 Barnard-Brown students to other schools. Superintendent of Schools Steven J. Adamowski said students would be reassigned to their nearest neighborhood schools, where possible.
"We're hopeful it may be possible without a tremendous amount of dislocation," he said.
If the board approves the relocation of Capital Preparatory, Barnard-Brown probably could be renovated in time for the magnet school to move there in fall of 2010, officials said.
"We're very excited about the opportunity," said Stephen D. Perry, principal at Capital Preparatory. "It's a beautiful building."
Capital Preparatory opened two years ago as a magnet school for students in grades 6 through 12 from Hartford and neighboring towns. It has been a popular magnet, but crowding has been a problem for both the magnet school and the college in the shared space at the G. Fox building.
Barnard-Brown was one of four low-performing schools targeted recently for an overhaul by Adamowski as part of the first phase of a plan to shake up the city's struggling school system. The other three schools - Burns, M.D. Fox and Milner - still are on track for a complete redesign next year.
Adamowski will ask the school board later this month to approve his long-range plan to create a citywide system allowing parents to make choices among a wide range of schools, including options such as year-round schools, Montessori schools or schools modeled after British primary schools in the West Indian tradition.
No specific design has been adopted for the conversion of Burns, M.D. Fox and Milner, but Adamowski plans to seek ideas from the community and have recommendations ready for the school board by October.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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