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Stanton School receives state approval for family resource center

By Claire Bessette

Publication: theday.com

Published August 22. 2012 10:00AM   Updated August 22. 2012 11:55PM

Norwich — School reform efforts at the John B. Stanton School got another boost from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Wednesday with the announcement of $110,000 to start a family resource center at the struggling elementary school.

Stanton was named in June as one of four state-designated Network Schools, receiving $1.5 million for an extensive school reform plan. The entire Norwich school district was one of 30 state-designated Alliance Districts in the governor's school reform program. That made Norwich eligible to apply for the family resource center funding.

Stanton is the only southeastern Connecticut school to receive family resource funding announced Wednesday.

Superintendent Abby Dolliver, who was in Hartford Wednesday for a statewide superintendents' conference that featured an address by Malloy, said the district already was planning to add a family resource center to Stanton. Additionally, the district plans to add about 20 preschool slots and before- and after-school programs for Stanton students.

The state funding will boost the program, adding more early childhood intervention and family literacy classes in conjunction with Norwich Adult Education, and expanding the outreach to parents, Dolliver and school Curriculum Director Joe Stefon said.

Full-day kindergarten will start at Stanton next week as part of the Network School Turnaround Plan. An extended school day for all students will start in November.

"We appreciate their continued support," Dolliver said of Malloy's approval of Norwich's application for family resource center funding. "Norwich is right in there with all the reform efforts in improving student achievement and reaching out to families."

Family resource centers coordinate local services that lead to school and social readiness, the governor said. The centers also aim to create a welcoming environment at the schools in which they are located, especially for parents who have had negative or difficult experiences with schools in the past.

They also serve as a resource and referral link for the state HUSKY health program, D-SNAP nutrition program and mental health service programs.

"Expanding these family resource centers means more children and parents will be able to take advantage of the kinds of services that can make all the difference in a young person's life," Malloy said in a prepared statement. "Whether it's an afterschool program that opens up a new world to a young mind or a little extra help for an English language learner, the result is a young person that's poised for success in school and whatever else they choose to do later in life."

c.bessette@theday.com

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