Innovative magnet and charter schools have changed the educational landscape in Hartford, but they aren't the city's only new schools. A small private middle school with great promise opened last year and has expanded this year.
Covenant Preparatory School is in the YWCA Building at the corner of Broad Street and Farmington Avenue ( www.covenantprep.org). The interfaith school is part of the nationwide NativityMiguel network of 65 private, tuition-free middle schools for youngsters from low-income families. It is supported entirely by private fundraising.
The all-boys Hartford school began with 22 students in grades 5 and 6 and four full-time Americorps teachers (mentored by veteran area teachers). This year it added seventh grade, has expanded to 36 students and increased the faculty by two teachers. Next year there will be an eighth grade. There is also a plan to start a girls school at the nearby Emanuel Lutheran Church.
The school is demanding of students and parents, who are asked to volunteer. The school day is up to 12 hours, with field trips and community service on Saturdays. A few students haven't been able to stay with it. Many had to unlearn bad classroom behaviors. But most of the youngsters, who wear shirts and ties, have responded to the school's structure and rigor.
The hope is that they will attend top prep schools and colleges, and then return to teach or otherwise give back to the Hartford community. Keep up the good work
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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