E.B. Kennelly School in Hartford, Connecticut, hosted the second annual “UConn Day” at the school on May 2, an event that included a schoolwide parade and a basketball game with students playing against the teachers and staff.
The idea for “UConn Day” came from the Neag School of Education’s 2018 graduating interns after a brainstorming session to identify an activity to drive student excitement about college, and to end the school year on a celebratory note.
“Our UConn students are a special part of the Kennelly staff,” says June Cahill ’93 (ED), ’94 MA, and school principal. “This high-energy event allows our students and staff to celebrate the partnership. With the college year ending in early May, our students often have a difficult time separating and saying ‘goodbye.’ This allows us to end the year in a positive way.”
The Kennelly School has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with UConn’s Neag School of Education, in which UConn education students in the Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program get hands-on experience through student teaching and internship opportunities during the school year. In 2016, this partnership was honored as a national model with the National Network for Educational Renewal’s Richard W. Clark Exemplary Partner School Award, which recognized the strengths of this collaboration.
In addition to the parade and basketball game, Kennelly students also participated in a service learning project to support HuskyTHON, UConn’s fundraising initiative for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Kennelly’s schoolwide motto is “Be the Change.” Students are given opportunities to be a part of effecting change, and this year, coins were collected in each classroom and donated to this cause. The winning class received UConn Dairy Bar ice cream and attended the basketball game.
Every year, Kennelly receives a critical mass of education students from the Neag School. All 650 Kennelly students are impacted by the juniors, senior student teachers, and master’s year interns, who work closely with them through intervention groups, tutoring, service learning projects, as well as student leadership opportunities. UConn Day was developed to recognize the partnership and give the children a chance to give back to the University for its impact.
Kennelly is a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school, where students are rewarded for good choices. “Bee” bucks are awarded for the three BEES (be safe, be respectful, be responsible). Students that showed outstanding effort in this area were rewarded with a “Golden Bee Buck,” which was their ticket to the basketball game, providing an incentive for all students. In addition, all Hartford Public Schools support college and career readiness opportunities. The partnership with UConn allows elementary and middle school students firsthand access to college students, encouraging them to view college as a realistic goal.