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6 Schools To Stay Open During April Break

by Melissa Bailey | Apr 10, 2014 5:43 pm

(6) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Schools

Melissa Bailey Photo Students will have a safe place during next week’s school vacation to eat a hot dinner, learn hip-hop dance moves, and practice public speaking, according to a plan announced Thursday in the wake of back-to-back teen homicides that have shaken the city.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon at Wexler-Grant School, Mayor Toni Harp announced plans to keep six schools open from Monday to Thursday of next week, when schools are typically closed for April break.

The following schools will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday:

• Clemente Leadership Academy, 360 Columbus Ave.
• John Martinez School, 100 James St.
• Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave.
• Ross-Woodward School, 185 Barnes Ave.
• Wexler-Grant School, 55 Foote St.
• Hillhouse High School, 480 Sherman Parkway.

Hot meals will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. During the rest of the time, students will have access to a range of free activities. Lia Davila, who runs a youth empowerment group called FAME and also owns the Hamden Academy of Dance and Music, has volunteered to teach hip-hop and multicultural dance classes. Robert Felder, a motivational speaker, will be teaching kids goal-setting and public speaking skills. At least six other not-for-profits are offering other workshops, and the parks department will be inviting kids to play board games, kickball, dodgeball, and touch football.

Harp said school and city officials threw together the vacation programming because of the recent killings of two teenagers. Just Thursday morning, she attended a teenage homicide victim’s funeral, the second such funeral in eight days.

“I have no desire to attend another funeral like these,” she said.

Harp said the schools aim to provide kids a “safe, structured and familiar place” next week where they can be productive and stay out of trouble.

The main cost of the effort will be the food, which comes to an estimated $20,000, according to Superintendent Garth Harries, who is still trying to close a $1.8 million gap in this year’s budget. Harp said the expenditure is essential in light of the recent killings.

Public library branches will be late during the week, Harp announced: The Wilson branch in the Hill will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Fair Haven branch on Grand Avenue will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. And the Stetson branch on Dixwell will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The schools and government buildings will be closed on Friday in honor of Good Friday.

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posted by: FacChec on April 10, 2014  7:02pm

“Harp said the schools aim to provide kids a “safe, structured and familiar place” next week where they can be productive and stay out of trouble.


I for one have a problem with this planned strategy, if your trying to find the source of the shooting problem, do you really think the shooters, or for that matter, the shooters potential victims, will take refuge in one of these six schools?

The following schools will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday:

• Clemente Leadership Academy, 360 Columbus Ave.
• John Martinez School, 100 James St.
• Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave.
• Ross-Woodward School, 185 Barnes Ave.
• Wexler-Grant School, 55 Foote St.
• Hillhouse High School, 480 Sherman Parkway.

I think the 20K can be better spent directly on the problem people project longivity has already identifyed.

Again, politics over pratical substance.

posted by: Elm City Lifer on April 10, 2014  10:32pm

Food is an essential expenditure in light of the recent killings.

What?

posted by: mstratton on April 11, 2014  7:37am

Mayor harp could do a world of good by giving up her defense of a bloated boe budget and 50% mayors office budget increase and fund summer jobs for the 1000 plus kids who were turned away last week. Another example of giving poor residents pity payments and gift cards not real opportunities for growth and discovery. Ghandi didn’t say give a man a fish, he said teach a man to fish. This is extraordinarily callous and out of synch with claims of liberalism. We have proposed immediately adding the monies to the budget to give these kids jobs and hope but all we get is silence, a meal and done tap dancing around a serious issue. Forget politics. Wwjd?

posted by: neimanMarcus203 on April 11, 2014  12:08pm

There are many comments on how this wont work, But atleast there is some kind of effort to see if it actually will work. I grew up in New Haven’s Dwight/Kensington neighborhood, I remember Mr.K would allow troup gym to stay open after hours, and you know what? the place stayed active with many of my peers. I think this is a wonderful idea. keep up the good work Mayor Harp and Ms. Davila as well.

posted by: alex on April 12, 2014  7:12pm

Mike Stratton, WWJD? Probably not online comments snarking about a Mayor doing her best with a difficult situation. Please.

posted by: connecticutcontrarian on April 13, 2014  3:21pm

I never cease to be amazed by people who claim to love this city but never stop to look beyond their own zip codes to see how many people are struggling to meet their most basic needs of survival.  Mr. Stratton your callous remarks about “a meal” demonstrates just how out of touch you are with the very communities you claim to be concerned about. 80% of children in New Haven Public Schools qualify for free and reduced lunch.  What happens to those children when they don’t have access to a hot meal during the break? Ask members of the New Haven Food Policy Council how hunger is tied to other markers of community stability. Ask the cafeteria workers why they offer heartier meals on Mondays because they know many children haven’t had a proper meal since they left school on Friday. Ask the United Way why their food truck has become essential for keeping get kids fed over the summer. How dare you suggest that these break programs are some sort of handout that enables rather than teaching kids to “fish for themselves.” Many of the CHILDREN who will be served by these programs arent even old enough to hold the youth jobs youre tauting. More summer jobs and a more equitable budget are lofty goals that should be addressed. But in the short term how about applauding an effort to keep kids safe, fed, and engaged.  It’s amazing what we can see when we stop to look beyond our own privilege to acknowledge others struggles. Save your snark and spend a little time actually speaking WITH the families who face the daily reality of living in a state where childcare is more expensive than college tuition and where the lives of their children only seems to matter when it fits into a politician’s electoral agenda.

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