Litchfield News




Nature's Nursery Series
(ages 3-6)
Thursday, September 8 ~ 4:00-5:00 p.m.
White Memorial Conservation Center
Join us on the second Thursday of each month from September-December for an hour-long program designed just for children 3-6 years old.
Every session will include a story, an encounter with a live animal, and an activity or craft.
Sign up by session or for all four sessions. Bring your young nature lovers out to White Memorial for a jam-packed hour of hands-on learning. Parents, we ask that you stay for the duration of the program.
Meet in the A.B. Ceder Room. 4-5pm.
Advanced registration is required.
To register, please call 860-567-0857
Members: $7/child per session or $25/whole series,
Non-Members: $12/child per session or $45/whole series

Education Connection Announces
New Agency Name – EdAdvance
Education Connection, the Regional Educational Service Center for schools and communities in western Connecticut, is pleased to announce its new name, EdAdvance.
EdAdvance’s name and its tagline, Educate · Collaborate · Innovate, reflect the agency’s mission to work collaboratively with schools and communities to develop and implement innovative educational programs and services. Jeffrey Kitching, Ed.D., Executive Director, comments, “Our new name embodies our role as a regional service organization. EdAdvance provides a broad spectrum of educational programs and services to persons of all ages in both school and community settings. This includes programs and services in early childhood, early intervention, Early Head Start/Head Start, school readiness, K-12 school day and after school, digital learning, special education, health and wellness, adult and continuing education, transportation, food services, and residential and supported living and employment services for persons with disabilities. When gaps in programs and services are identified, we work with our school and community partners to develop creative solutions. So our new name describes both our mission and our desired results.”
EdAdvance celebrated the launch of its new name at the agency’s annual “All Agency Day” on August 19th, attended by over 200 employees. Dr. Kitching continues, “Our new brand is more than a name change - it is an affirmation of our agency’s renewed commitment as a strategic partner with schools and communities throughout western Connecticut.” In the coming months, EdAdvance will launch even more new programs and services, as well as a fresh look on its web and social media sites. Learn more at
Music Together
Tuesday, September 6 ~ 4:30-5:15 p.m.
Litchfield Community Center
Life Drawing for Teens & Adults
Tuesday, September 13 ~ 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Litchfield Community Center
Classes run from Sept. 13 - Oct. 18, 2016
For more info call 860-567-8302
Northwestern is Highest Ranked
Community College in Connecticut
In a just released report by the website WalletHub, Northwestern Connecticut Community College (62nd) is the highest ranked Connecticut Community College of the 821 institutions included in the results of the analysis, “2016 Best & Worst Community Colleges.”  Additionally, Connecticut State Community Colleges were ranked ninth best among state systems.
Dr. Michael Rooke, President of Northwestern Connecticut Community College, declared, “This is good news that speaks to the dedication of the NCCC faculty and staff.”  
In order to determine the best community colleges in the US, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 821 colleges across 3 key measurements, including educational outcomes, cost and financing and career outcomes.  The researchers stated that they were unable to include all member schools of the American Association of Community Colleges due to data limitations.  The data used to create the rankings were collected from the National Center for Education Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research and College Measures.
Besides NCCC, the other Connecticut State Community Colleges that were included in the survey were Gateway Community College, ranked 92nd, Manchester Community College, ranked 168th, Norwalk Community College, ranked 205th, and Housatonic Community College, which was ranked 642nd. For more information about NCCC click here.
 Skills21 @ EdAdvance Builds New Pathways for
Student Success in STEM, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies,
and Entrepreneurship
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently awarded two grants to the Skills21 team at EdAdvance, the Regional Educational Service Center in western CT (formerly known as Education Connection). The combined $2.1 million in funding over 3 years will help address critical secondary education and workforce development needs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. In the next decade, the local and national economies will rely heavily on building workforce capacity in these fields by preparing individuals with the requisite training and skills to accelerate the innovation cycle for products, services, and solutions to emerging challenges.
The two NSF awards are: CT Pathways to Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies & Entrepreneurship (AMTE) and Skills21 STEM-Starter: An Incubator and Launch Pad to STEM Entrepreneurship and Careers. AMTE features a partnership with the state’s Career and Technical High School System (CTHSS) to develop and implement new cutting edge coursework in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies with integrated challenge project development. The STEMStarter project focuses on the development of students’ entrepreneurial skills through STEM-focused senior Capstone projects. Upon project completion, educational resources developed under these two grants will be available high schools in CT and beyond.
Project collaborators include: the CT State Department of Education, the CT Community Colleges’ College of Technology, NSF-funded ATE Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, Southern CT State University, the CT Pre-Engineering Program, the CT Business and Industry Association (CBIA), the CT Office of Workforce Competitiveness (OWC), CT Innovations, and a dedicated consortium of school districts and industry partners, including IBM. Over 35 schools representing a range of urban, suburban and rural demographics will participate in the two projects over the next three years.
AMTE and STEMStarter will leverage Skills21’s Launchpad Platform ( This web-based tool is designed to help students, teachers and mentors engage in authentic hands-on challenges and demonstrate the best of student learning and innovation. Jonathan Costa, the Assistant Executive Director for EdAdvance and the Principal Investigator for both projects, indicated “to be awarded two simultaneous grants from the National Science Foundation is a validation of the inventive work of the Skills21 team and a well-deserved recognition of their and our collaborators’ efforts to prepare students for the real-world in 21st century high schools.” For more information on the projects, contact Jonathan Costa ( or the Skills21 team (
About Skills21 @ EdAdvance
For 15 years, Skills21 ( has worked with schools and organizations to promote inspired learning, creative designs and student solutions. Skills21 delivers flexible, affordable, and field-tested teaching and learning models for enhancing student success. Specializing in leveraging digital tools to scale innovative instructional models, current Skills21 programs include:
- School Fuel - building language-rich learning dialogs for young children and their families with mobile tools
- Skills21 STEM Quest - delivering powerful experiential learning that connects the real world with augmented and virtual reality
- Skills21 Trackpad - providing real-time software to support academic events and competitions
- Skills21 Launchpad - ensuring success for challenge-based learning in and out of the classrooms  
- Skills21 Expo Fest - presenting the ultimate showcase of inspired learning, creative design, & student solutions
About the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." With an annual budget of $7.5 billion (FY 2016), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.