Barack H. Obama University Magnet School Dedicated
Representatives of the New Haven Public Schools and Southern Connecticut State University, as well as city and state elected officials were on hand Sunday, May 1, to dedicate the Barack H. Obama University Magnet School.
The school, which stands on the Southern campus and educates students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, represents a collaboration between the New Haven school district and Southern’s College of Education.
“The Obama School represents an innovative partnership between a public school system and a public university,” said New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Iline Tracey. “Our students benefit from contact with future educators from Southern who assist them in the classroom and take an active interest in their well-being. Southern students benefit from learning in a lab school where innovative research-based practices are put into practice.”
“The joining of public higher education and public elementary education that we are witnessing here is particularly noteworthy, as partnerships like this more regularly occur in the private sphere,” said Southern President Joe Bertolino. “And for Southern, this is an excellent way to further our time-honored mission of access, and expand our campus wide commitment to social justice. As such, we are hoping that this will be a successful model for other public institutions and school districts nationwide.”
The dean of Southern’s College of Education, Stephen Hegedus, stressed the need to address achievement gaps among school children. “We are living in a society of deep structural divides with severe achievement gaps and debilitating attitudes towards education that our children begin to hear at young ages,” he said. “This impacts the passion and creativity of our children and ultimately threatens the social and economic fabric of our local society. Our partnership aims to be a groundbreaking effort to tackle these challenges head on, to reform education and to make a concerted effort that will impact the lives of many children and families in New Haven.”
Among the speakers were Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, Obama Principal Jamie Baker, and two Obama fourth-graders, Nagedlie David and Yamileth Barranco.