Read stories in the New Haven Independent:
A New Day Dawns at East Rock School
Fair Haven Makes Room For Newest Students
Read the story in the New Haven Register: New Haven back to School
Watch coverage on WTNH/News8: Ribbon-Cutting Marks First Day of School
Watch coverage on FoxCT: New School Year, New Superintendent
Watch coverage on NBC Connecticut: Back to School for New Haven Students

Superintendent Garth Harries visits schools throughout day, walks to school with students, joins a high school soccer practice – all around theme of helping kids rise

NEW HAVEN – New Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries welcomed 22,000 students to a new school year today and kicked off the day with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new East Rock Community Magnet School. The superintendent visited schools across the city Wednesday, talking to parents, students, teachers and staff – all around the theme of helping kids rise to a bright future.
Superintendent Harries and Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., joined East Rock Principal Peggy Pelley, local and state leaders, students, parents, teachers, staff and community members for the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new school. The opening of the new school comes as New Haven prepares to launch a new phase of School Change that aims to deepen and extend efforts to dramatically improve schools and student learning.
“I look forward to the new school year and the fourth year of School Change. I am certain that with the dedicated efforts of students, parents, teachers, administrators and our new superintendent we will continue to expand up on our current success and build on our hard-earned reputation as a national model for education reform,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr.
“This beautiful school with its state-of-the-art design and shiny new classrooms is an incredible learning space for our children. But the real strength of the school is in its name – East Rock Community Magnet School. It takes a community to make School Change happen. I urge you to capture the energy and excitement in the air here today and use it to fuel your pursuit of big dreams, success in the classroom and personal growth,” said Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries.
“It is exciting to begin the school year back in the East Rock neighborhood in our beautiful new building,” said Principal Peggy Pelley. “Our new classrooms are filled with natural light and fully equipped with the latest technology available to educators.  We welcome our students, staff and parents and look forward to a successful school year!”
East Rock School is the 37th school built or rehabilitated since the city launched its landmark $1.6 billion school construction program in 1995. The $49 million school has 20 technology-equipped classrooms including a modern science laboratory, library and media center, art space, special education-dedicated classrooms and a resource room for hearing-impaired students. The school also features a combination cafeteria-music-stage room for large assemblies and a gymnasium with locker rooms.
The site improvements include two playgrounds and a “green space” play area. The main entrance on Nash Street has a separate bus drop-off within the school property that minimizes traffic constraints on Willow Street.
The beloved East Rock mural from the old school is in the process of being restored by the original artist, Joann Moran, and will be installed prior to the dedication of the building in October. There is also a Percent for Art project by New York City-based artist Paul Villinski that will be installed in the fall.
The school was designed by Newman Architects. The construction manager is R2D Construction and Gilbane Building Company is the manager of the School Construction Program. 
Throughout the day, Superintendent Harries visited schools throughout the city to talk to students about their ability to rise up and pursue big dreams. His stops included a walk to school with a Fair Haven School family, lunch with 1st and 2nd graders at John C. Daniels School, participation in a Future Project activity at High School in the Community around student dreams for the futures and a visit to Lincoln-Bassett School to greet new Principal Yolanda Jones-Generette and her teachers. The superintendent also stopped by boys’ and girls’ soccer practice at Rice Field and joined them on the field.
Throughout the day, Superintendent Harries talked about helping kids rise and how the community can together to around School Change. New Haven’s School Change Initiative is a nationally acclaimed school reform effort that seeks to raise academic achievement, increase the graduation rate and make sure every graduate has what it takes to succeed in college, career and life. Real progress is being made toward School Change goals, but more work must be done. Superintendent Harries has committed to engaging the community and the schools around the shared mission of making New Haven the best urban school district in the country.