Currey-ently Sending You Back-to-School Content Plus Other News and Notes (Jeff's Version)

September 29, 2023

Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors, 

The halls of our local schools are abuzz with activity! Whether it’s the finishing touches by fantastic facility teams, the setting up of classrooms by eager educators, or the excitement in the air brought on by newly seated students, school is officially in session!

Take a read below for a bevy of back-to-school content, in addition to other news, notes and resources I hope you find helpful, useful, etc. 

Have an easy week.

To stay up-to-date with everything happening in Hartford, click the "At the Capitol, In District, & Beyond" link below, but also please check out the other subject links in this intro to go right to the topic in the body of this email.

You can find additional resources and information on my website. If there's something you need help with that isn't included in this email, please check my website. If you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.



We worked hard to deliver during the 2023 Legislative Session to deliver a two-year bipartisan budget that provides hundreds of millions in more funding to all public schools.

The budget invests more than $240 million in public education, including:

  • $164 million in new funding to local boards of education
  • $9.3 million in new funding for charter schools
  • $53.3 million in new funding for magnet schools
  • $11.4 million new funding for Open Choice
  • $7.2 million in new funding for vocational agriculture programs
  • Capped tuition payments that local districts pay for kids attending choice programs
  • Require classroom safety protocols and school climate improvement plans to address and prevent challenging behaviors
  • Auditing districts’ time and costs association with state and local testing
  • Greater charter school accountability to align with traditional districts
  • Charged the special education task force to provide additional recommendations on areas impacting students and educators
  • Mandated play-based learning in pre-K and kindergarten
  • Increased supports for paraeducators

In my capacity as House Chair of the Education Committee, ensuring our schools, students, and educators have what they need to succeed is critical to build the foundation to learning success.

Please click on the graphic below for summaries of new laws (Public Acts and Special Acts) significantly affecting education enacted during the last session. 

The State Department of Education (SDE) provides a guide for parents, guardians and other family members about laws, regulations and policies affecting special education programs and services. These protections, rights, and opportunities will best help students with disabilities reach their full potential.

Setting high expectations for students and high standards for programs will provide the greatest opportunities for a successful adult life. Special education laws and regulations are meant to protect students with disabilities to ensure that they receive the services and assistance that may be necessary to make meaningful progress in their education programs. In Connecticut, the special education system is based on the federal special education law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and its implementing regulations, in combination with the State’s special education law.

Click here or on the graphic below to read the guide.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is reminding parents to make sure their children’s immunizations are up to date. Some children may even be lacking vaccines required for school entry this fall such as measles, whooping cough, and polio.

The good news is that Connecticut school immunization rates are rebounding. The percentage of Connecticut kindergarten students receiving required measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in the 2022–2023 school year is 97.3%. This is an increase of 1.6% from the previous year and the highest single year increase since 2012–2013. Among schools with more than 30 kindergarten students, compared with last year, there was a 16.4% increase in the number of schools with MMR vaccination rates at or above 95%. Parents and the public can access information on immunization completion rates for schools in Connecticut here.

High vaccination rates protect not only vaccinated children but also those who cannot or have not been vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. Schools that achieve herd immunity reduce the risk of outbreaks. High vaccination rates at schools are especially important for medically fragile children.

Some children have conditions that affect their immunity, such as illnesses that require chemotherapy. These children cannot be safely vaccinated, and, at the same time, they are less able to fight off illness when they are infected. They depend on herd immunity for their health and their lives.

To learn how to get you or your child’s vaccine record securely online, visit The CT WiZ Public Portal is a confidential and free service provided by the Connecticut Department of Public Health Immunization Program. 

Anyone with questions regarding the Connecticut Vaccine Program can call 860-509-7929 or email

For more information about vaccines, visit

Similar to last year, school districts will set their own protocols by evaluating COVID-19, according to DPH. 

There are steps schools and families alike can take to curb the spread of COVID-19. Amid new variants, handwashing and social distancing or masking around people with symptoms such as coughing are considerations along with a potential booster shot.

Remember, too, that a robust respiratory virus season, late October through at least February, is not just COVID-19 but influenza and RSV. In a letter sent to school administrators from DPH and the state Department of Education, they emphasized the need for the flu vaccine for both students and staff.

There is no substitute for in-person learning, so please take any precautions that you feel personally comfortable with to ensure a healthy 2023-24 school year.


In Connecticut, there are hundreds of openings for teachers and paraeducators ahead of the new school year.

Considering a career in teaching? Leading a classroom is a big way to make a difference and TEACH Connecticut can help you get there with its Certification 101: TEACH Connecticut Group Coaching Session. You can register here.

You'll hear briefly from a career coach, a current Connecticut teacher, who has been in your shoes before. Then, get your questions answered in a live Q&A session.

Can't make it? Sign up for a free, 1-on-1 career advising session whenever it works for you! 


U.S. News & World Report has released its ranking of the best high schools in the country, and Connecticut IB Academy in East Hartford is the second-ranked high school in the state and No. 239 in the nation!

The national list ranks nearly 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. See the full list of Connecticut rankings by clicking here.

I wanted to remind parents of a simple safety tip when posting that back-to-school photo.

While I know this photo trend is fun to take and look back on, keeping your child's personal information at a minimum is important. By sharing your child's school, grade, teacher, interests, etc. you are giving predators unique information about your child and where they can find them.

Here are some reminders of what not to post:

Teacher's Name
School Name

The National Safety Council also has a checklist below.

State and local officials gathered at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford recently to celebrate the grand opening of a new children’s urgent crisis center. It is one of four centers opening statewide created by legislation passed in 2022 addressing the mental health needs of children and teens.

Licensed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the centers function as walk-in clinics, providing youths and their families with immediate access to resources while they are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, such as thoughts of suicide or self-injury; feelings of depression, anxiety, or hopelessness; out-of-control behaviors; substance misuse; and other mental health concerns. They are aimed at diverting youths and their families from making visits to emergency rooms to address behavioral health crises.

Current capacity for the four centers is 72 daily slots. They are strategically located across Connecticut and are operated by:

I am happy to have expanded services for the children's behavioral health system in Connecticut.


Do you need help paying utility bills? Operation Fuel provides emergency energy and utility assistance to households in Connecticut that are facing financial crisis. Applications for energy assistance are now open through November 10.

You can learn more at

Energy supply rates have been lower this summer, but higher supply rates are anticipated again this coming winter. With tips and programs to use less energy, Eversource is offering steps now to better manage your electric and gas bills to get ready now. 

Electric Customers
Gas Customers

The Town of East Hartford in collaboration with East Hartford Parks and Recreation, invites all to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Latin Festival.

The celebration will take place September 23 from 12-6 p.m. at Alumni Park (1021 Main Street). Admission is FREE. This celebration is a rescheduled rain date from July.

Expect this event to be one of the biggest family events of the season for everyone as the town celebrates its Hispanic Community and embraces its uniqueness and enrichment with local vendors and crafters, cultural activities and live performances.

The Latin Festival is the perfect family-friendly, community event filled with fun activities for children and adults alike. Bring your family and friends to enjoys games, dominos, inflatables, food trucks, and live music performances! There will be a variety of cultural live performances by local artists.

If you are a vendor interested in participating in the event, please fill out the form below or call Parks and Recreation at (860) 291-7160 for assistance: 

 Vendors are asked to apply by September 18. 

For more information, please call Parks and Recreation at (860) 291-7160 or visit


Check out the awesome slate of performers and vendors for Manchester's upcoming Hispanic Heritage Day Celebration!

Join the celebration on September 16 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Leisure Labs at Mahoney Center, 110 Cedar Street, for an afternoon of live music and dancing, food, a vendor market, family activities and much more!

RSVP for further event updates at


If you’re pregnant, STD screening should be a part of your health plan to ensure you and your baby are healthy. Sexual health is health.

Visit to learn more.

For local and state resources, click the links below:


The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) is preparing for its annual STAND DOWN event, which will be held September 22 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at five regional locations:

Bridgeport: University of Bridgeport, Wheeler Recreational Center, 400 University Avenue
Bristol: St. Gregory CCD Center, 1043 Stafford Avenue
Danbury: Danbury War Memorial 1 Memorial Drive 
Norwich: Easter Seals Veterans Rally Point, 24 Stott Avenue
Rocky Hill: CTDVA main campus 287 West Street

The DVA continues its commitment to serving Connecticut’s Veterans, Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel, and their immediate families by providing this one-stop access to a range of programs and services offered by state and federal agencies, Veterans organizations, and community-based nonprofits at these regional sites across the state.

To view the list of confirmed service providers by location please click here.

For any additional information please call (860) 616-3772 or email


The Town of Manchester has two grant programs for small business owners that I wanted to share with you.

The Business Investment Fund Grant Program offers reimbursable matching grants to eligible Manchester small business owners for projects that address code, access, energy efficiency, or sustainability improvements and promote enhanced use of underutilized space to add jobs, value, and economic vitality.

The Business Façade and Signage Improvement Fund Grant Program offers reimbursement grants to eligible Manchester small business owners to improve the exterior appearance of commercial and mixed-use buildings and signage.

The application deadline for both grant programs is October 1, 2024 or until funds are exhausted. For more information, contact the Planning & Economic Development Department at or (860) 647-3044.

The 2023 East Hartford Farmers Market will be held Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m. through October 24 at Raymond Library on 840 Main Street. Celebrate Connecticut-grown fruits, vegetables and locally produced foods, as well as connect with others in our community.

Farmers and vendors that produce eligible foods sold at the East Hartford market are able to accept Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as well as Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) benefits. Residents interested in applying for the SFMNP program can contact East Hartford Social Services at (860) 291-7248. WIC clients will be receiving electronic benefits cards by mail with instructions for using the funds at participating markets.

East Hartford market organizers are in the process of applying to accept supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. Updates will be announced as we obtain SNAP market approval and establish how residents can utilize SNAP benefits to purchase eligible foods at our farmers’ market.

The East Hartford Farmers’ Market is asking for residents and organizations to help fight hunger and food insecurity experienced by residents of our community. Donations will help residents that rely on food pantry assistance to purchase fresh produce. Available funds will also be used to provide additional support for SNAP, WIC and senior market nutrition program recipients.

Sponsors will be recognized at the market and through the Town's communication channels. Show your shared commitment to health programs that support East Hartford quality of life. For more information, view the EH Market Partner Information.        

The market is interested in adding more vendors to serve the community. If you are a farmer or market vendor that produces honey, milk, eggs, or other foods, or locally produced crafts, please complete the vendor application using the links listed below. Market organizers will review completed applications and notify vendors whether your application is accepted. Vendors are advised to review the East Hartford market guidelines. Click the links below for further information:


The outdoor Northwest Park Farmers Market season will run Wednesdays starting September 6-October 25 from 4-7 p.m. at Northwest Park on 448 Tolland Turnpike.

Vendor selections are thoughtfully curated to include diverse Connecticut business owners and products, including: fresh fruits & vegetables, meats & eggs, baked goods, a featured food truck, vegan offerings, honey, maple syrup, and artisans. See the weekly vendor line up and market theme at

In addition to serving as a source for local foods, the market accepts SNAP/EBT and WIC payments, and will double the value of SNAP purchases up to $20 (spend $20 using your EBT card to receive an additional $20 to spend on SNAP eligible items). Bring the kids for the Power of Produce program (POP)! Every child who visits the Welcome Pavillion will receive a $2 voucher to spend on produce. This program is sponsored by MELC.

Questions? Email or call (860) 647-3089.

For local resources, click the links below:

Through the state's Department of Labor, the American Job Center offers resources, information, and support for individuals throughout the state searching for a job. You can receive help writing a resume and attend interview technique workshops for those currently on the job hunt. For more information, click here.
The State of Connecticut is hiring! You can find a variety of seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. There are jobs open to members of the public as well as those already employed at a state agency or organization. You can find a full list of openings here.

Click here for the Town Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the East Hartford Public Library. 

Click here for East Hartford Community Television. 


Click here for the Town Meetings and Community Events Calendar.

Click here for information on the Manchester Public Library. 

Click here for Manchester Public Television. 

Upcoming Meetings and Events

A full calendar of upcoming events and meetings happening at the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building is available on the General Assembly website.

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