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Schools, community work together to meet students’ needs

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
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Posted 10/7/22

In order for students to be able to hit their maximum potential in school, their own personal needs have to be addressed as well.

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Schools, community work together to meet students’ needs

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NEW HARTFORD — In order for students to be able to hit their maximum potential in school, their own personal needs have to be addressed as well, said New Hartford Central School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr.

“It’s not a secret — it’s something we’ve known since we’ve been in education,” he added.

Tangorra was addressing the audience Thursday morning as the district joined the Connected Community Schools family. An official ribbon cutting and ceremony were held in front of the Oxford Road school, including performances by the high school
symphonic band, string orchestra and choir plus a group of sixth graders leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

The mission of Connected Community Schools is to ensure that the basic needs of all students and their families are met, enabling them to engage in their studies without outside worries. Connected Community Schools is a collaborative effort of more than 200 businesses and community-based agencies working to find solutions to challenges facing students, their families and the school community as a whole. The initiative focuses on extracurricular needs like housing, food insecurity, medical and dental issues and mental health.

The CCS team has implemented a hub in all five of the school buildings within the New Hartford Central School District. The hub provides resources as well as food items, clothing, hygiene needs and school supplies.

Danielle Martin and Melissa Roys, co-executive directors of the Rome-based Connected Community Schools Initiative, also shared their own reflections with the audience at the ceremony.

Roys said New Hartford is the 14th district to join the Connected Community Schools group of 56 schools and 25,000 students throughout Central New York. She said the initiative started just five years ago with the vision to connect school districts with their neighbors who are more than willing to help out.

“There are hundreds, thousands, of people in our communities who want to help,” Roys said. “We have amazing teachers; we have amazing schools but you’ve been piled on for years to take care of everything.”

“Each one of us in this school district — in this community — brings our individual strengths to make the difference that we need, not only for our students and our families but for our larger community,” Martin added.

District Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Allen Hyde called the Connected Community Schools opening a “momentous time.” Hyde said the event was possible because they all worked together in collaboration with students, families and the entire school community to create the support system.

First grade teacher Julie Brych told the audience she is excited to see the Connected Community Schools hub room down at the end of the hallway. She said the more people they have meeting and greeting the children every day and working to address their emotional needs, the better.

“It can only have a positive impact, I think, on students and their day at school every day,” Brych said. “It makes them feel supported — makes them feel loved — makes them feel welcome.”

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