Hartford magnet schools bring the best of local students

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On Feb. 1, 2016 the recently expanded Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy was unveiled to the public. The new 56,628 square foot building adds classrooms, gym space and faculty offices.

In addition to the new building, renovations were done on the existing school as well. Buildings were equipped with LED light fixtures and smart boards in classrooms.

A magnet school is a government funded school just like public schools, but they offer unique courses and programs not available elsewhere. According to Magnet Schools of America, magnet schools offer focused curricula, specializing in STEM, languages, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, International Studies and many other things. Magnet Schools of America also elucidates that, unlike private schools which require applications and acceptance, magnet schools “often use a random computer-based lottery system for admission.

There are also ‘Talented & Gifted’ magnet schools that utilize student assessment data and teacher or parent recommendations for selection”. Magnet schools are devoted to the cause of providing free, high-quality education to as many students as possible. In a world where primary and secondary education, let alone higher education, is increasingly exclusive and competitive, magnet schools fight a toil-some battle against harsh odds. They also provide alternative learning programs for students looking for something more.

At the corner of Broad and Vernon, across from Trinity College’s campus, the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy provides free education to many children in Hartford. HMTCA goes from grades six through twelve, and expanded in 2010 to include a high school. The school is attended by 1000 students from in and around Hartford.

As stated on their website, they “provide a rigorous early college academic program with a unique focus on science and the arts” and “offer students a plethora of extra-curricular activities including clubs, drama, music ensembles and athletics”. HMTCA places an emphasis on bringing together the city and the surrounding suburbs, and providing a high-quality education for all of their students, as drawn out in their mission statement: “We come together, city and suburbs, with eager minds, a sense of pride, and a passion for achievement, to create our Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy family. We each agree to transform obstacles into opportunities. Guided by a rich curriculum, we use our collective knowledge and gifts to energize our learning and create a safe haven for growth and exploration. Through the lens of arts and sciences, our students produce critical and creative works in a state-of-the art learning environment. Supported by our community partners, our students develop the social and academic skills to succeed in the region’s most competitive schools.”

HMTCA partners with Trinity College, as well as with UCONN and Capital Community College.Trinity College works closely with the building projects of the magnet school. They also have partnerships with the Hartford Stage Company, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the New England League of Middle Schools, Connecticut Science Center, The Hartford Symphony, and others.

The school was recently awarded the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Magnet School of Excellence Award in 2011, as well as being recognized in both 2012 and 2013 as a Magnet School of Excellence.

The Connecticut Association of Schools Exemplary Educator of the Year 2012-13 Award was given to Autumn Baltimore, a seventh grade English teacher at HMTCA, and in the same year, the school’s Principal Sally Biggs was recognized as the Connecticut Association of Schools Principal of the Year. Last year, the Connecticut Association of Schools also recognized two HMTCA seniors for excellence in the arts. The students, Cameron “CJ” Humphries and Caylin Pollard, took Trinity Professor John Platoff’s Music Theory course in the spring of last year, and since then, Cameron Humphries has been awarded the Jacob L. & Lewis Fox Foundation Scholarship.

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