Today Magazine • ​January 2024

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TODAY Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley

STUDENTS SOAR VIA SCHOOL CHOICE

GOOD NEWS! Suburban Youth Enjoy School Choice Too JANUARY 2024 — WWW.TODAYPUBLISHING.NET


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HAWK-STYLE EYE OF THE TIGER • A red-shouldered hawk perches on a branch in a Canton backyard • Red-shouldered hawks are medium-sized raptors with broad rounded wings and medium-length tails that they fan out when soaring • In flight they often glide or soar with their wingtips pushed slightly forward — imparting a distinctive reaching posture Source — Cornell University AllAboutBirds.org website

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JANUARY 2024 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE Photo by Wendy Rosenberg


LEADING OFF

Choosing A School Story

CONTENTS

LET’S BEGIN the new year with a proverbial dumb question: Have you COVER STORY noticed that every edition of Today Magazine has included a cover story? 4 — Decisions, Decisions No one — neither this editor-in-chief nor any remote reader of this Do you realize that you have school choice? publication — needs to be a genius to understand the answer to the above That’s right — all Connecticut families, not just query. The further reality is that every Today cover story encompasses urban youth, have educational options via RSCO an equally fascinating backstory that isn’t widely known yet is also worth SCHOOL SCOOP telling — indeed, comprising another lead-worthy tale. Last spring a local PR director named Emily Pangakis emailed me a 7 — Gratitude, Adversity, Growth An award-winning writer reflects on her Open Choice story tip about school choice. Until then, I thought school choice meant that inner-city students could attend suburban schools. She unknowingly journey as an Avon student and Hartford resident corrected and enhanced my deficient knowledge: All Connecticut VALLEY INTEL students, whether urban or suburban or rural, can ride the school-choice 12 — Moms & Magnets bus. To me, this news was a welcome and surprising revelation — and has resulted in Today Magazine’s first cover story of 2024 … BWD A suburban magnet-school mom recounts her daughter’s beneficial school-choice adventure HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

14 — History Paradox A new-yet-old history museum is slated to open this year — in a 200-year-old schoolhouse QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“ The RSCO program does a great job of … encouraging people to learn more … so they can make the most informed choice ” — RSCO parent BY THE NUMBERS

20,000 — RSCO students

LETTERS

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Today Magazine • Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley Bruce William Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Bruce.Deckert@TodayPublishing.net www.TodayPublishing.net > Digital Editions • Award-Winning Today Online • 24/7 news — www.TodayPublishing.net/blog Follow Today Magazine CT on social media > Advertising — Contact the Publisher Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg Five Towns • One Aim — Exceptional Community Journalism Farmington • Avon • Canton • Simsbury • Granby – CT • USA

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COVER STORY KUDOS Our December cover story commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Canton Food Bank — CLICK HERE for our coverage

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THANK YOU for the positive article — the Canton community is rallying to help our neighbors. Thanks for an article that not only explained the need for the Canton Food Bank, but also its purpose. —Jennifer Herbek • Volunteer Director • Canton Food Bank —Tonoa Jackson • Director • Canton Senior & Social Services

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THANK YOU — not just for the wonderful feature on Canton Food Bank’s special anniversary, but also for all your reporting during 2023 on what makes Canton an extraordinary community: its volunteers. To quote the food bank’s skillful and amazing leader, Jennifer Herbek: “Say yes in your community.” May it be so. —Sylvia Cancela • Chair • Canton Community Health Fund Inc.

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COVER STORY

Will and Ashley Leschber of Simsbury, with daughters Scarlett and Ruby and Violet — the girls attend an arts-based magnet school in Bloomfield

Yes –All Connecticut Families Enjoy School Choice! Special to Today Magazine

WHEN ASHLEY and WILL Leschber moved from California to Connecticut in 2016 to be closer to family, they traded San Diego for Simsbury and settled in the Farmington Valley — yet they didn’t know they would become part of another loving and supportive family just one town over in Bloomfield. Ashley, an Avon native, knew about the area’s outstanding public school system, but she learned through word of mouth that both urban and suburban families across the state take advantage of school choice options so their children can pursue a top-notch and specialized education — through the Greater Hartford Regional School 4

PAGE 8 – Key Info to Know PAGE 11 – Key App Dates ————————–——————————————–—————————–——————

Choice Office aka RSCO. That meant an opportunity for their daughter to attend a free public school outside of the family’s home district that fit her budding interests and passions. With two thespian parents, Scarlett (then age 5) was already beginning to show an interest in visual and performing arts. The Ana Grace Academy of the Arts in Bloomfield, one of RSCO’s 43 themed magnet schools, looked like a great option. Academy students receive instruction in core academics plus vocal and instrumental music, visual arts, dance, theatre, creative writing, media and interdisciplinary arts.

JANUARY 2024 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE

VALLEY INTEL SCHOOL SCOOP

Ashley and Will applied on Scarlett’s behalf, and she received a placement offer for kindergarten. Fast-forward three years, and all the Leschber children — Scarlett (now age 8), Violet (age 6) and Ruby (age 3) — attend the school with hopes and dreams of becoming artists and business owners. “There is so much heart and genuine care that my girls receive every day, and when I drop them off each morning, they’re always excited to be there,” Ashley says. “I have yet to meet a teacher or staff member who isn’t kind or


STUDENTS SOAR VIA SCHOOL CHOICE Fans of ESPN will likely be familiar with a signature SportsCenter segment called Did You Know — and here’s a Did You Know moment courtesy of Today Magazine:

Did you know that you have school choice? It’s true — all Connecticut residents have school choice. One educational misconception is that inner-city families are the only state residents with viable school-choice options. However, suburban and rural families also can choose where their students receive a firstrate education, via the state’s Regional School Choice Office aka RSCO. In 1996, the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill state Supreme Court decision focused on the demonstrated inequity faced by the state’s inner-city students. Yet nearly three decades later, the outcome is that all Connecticut students — urban, suburban, rural and otherwise — possess and enjoy school choice. Does this news surprise you?

If so, you’re not alone — but to whatever degree the news is surprising, it is indeed the reality for families across the Constitution State. Further, it is the quintessential definition of good news. The Sheff-O’Neill decision has changed the landscape of education not only by leveling the playing field for urban students, but also by offering the same choices for students in the state’s suburbs and rural towns. Talk about a win-win outcome — sure to satisfy liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans and independents, and people of all nations across the human kaleidoscope of skin pigmentations. In other words, RSCO offers a solution that is a constructive and

beneficial win-win for all human beings across the amazing state of Connecticut, whatever one’s political persuasion. The Regional School Choice Office serves over 20,000 students statewide and brings together families from over 80 towns. Is Connecticut’s universal and all-inclusive school choice initiative the best-kept secret in the state? The answer might be debatable, but what’s indisputable is that all Connecticut families have coveted free will when it comes to where their children learn the ABCs — and so much more. +

supportive. Ana Grace Academy fosters a welcoming environment where my children feel safe and encouraged to explore their creativity through various means of exploration, and we feel so grateful to be a part of the community.” Through the RSCO school choice program, every family in Greater Hartford with a student entering prekindergarten through Grade 12 can apply to attend up to three different types of free public schools in the region, including:

• Open Choice public schools in highperforming school districts outside a student’s hometown — primarily for Hartford students attending schools in suburban communities.

at all schools, and transportation is provided for students in Grades K through 12.

• 43 magnet schools incorporating specialized themes into the core curriculum — such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), visual and performing arts, dual-language and Montessori.

• Three regional technical high schools (CTECS) — the acronym stands for the Connecticut Technical Education And Career System — specializing in career and technical education: A.I. Prince in Hartford, E.C. Goodwin in New Britain and Howell Cheney in Manchester. The program currently serves over 20,000 students and brings together families from over 80 towns in engaging and diverse learning environments shown to increase creativity, problem-solving and criticalthinking skills. Clubs, extracurricular activities and athletics are available

— Today editor-in-chief Bruce William Deckert

Where to Learn More RSCO serves as the one-stop shop for families interested in discovering and accessing their school choice options. “School choice empowers families to pursue educational opportunities that fit their child’s individual needs, interests and passions,” says RSCO director Robin Cecere. “This application season, we are offering families more support than ever before. Our new Parent Resource Center, as well as our enhanced website and application experience, will ensure that all families interested in school choice get the information and support they

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need to make the best decisions for their students’ futures.” RSCO’s newly established Parent Resource Center (PRC) was created to provide dedicated high-level expertise and comprehensive support to families regarding the school discovery, application and placement process. Available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for extended hours during the on-time application period, PRC staff will assist families with questions and discuss strategies to maximize their application via phone, email, in-person appointments and in-app messaging. Contact info as follows: • Phone — 860-713-6990 • Email — rsco.sde@ct.gov Extensive language interpretation and translation assistance is available. PRC staff members are also actively engaged in community and school events throughout Greater Hartford to expand access to RSCO’s high-quality application assistance. Additionally, RSCO’s enhanced website — ChooseYourSchool.org — and online application make it easy for families to explore school choice

options by grade level, location, academic theme, sports and extracurricular activities, and to learn about transportation options while tracking application and placement status. Families can access important resources, including the updated RSCO School Choice Family Reference Guide — which includes tips, strategies and detailed information about the application process and timeline, placement rules and priority protocols, waitlist procedures and much more. To further assist families with the application process, RSCO hosts a series of fun family-friendly events throughout the application season. Attendees have an opportunity to meet with RSCO staff and school representatives to learn more about school choice options, classes, sports, clubs and transportation — and to receive application assistance and participate in fun games and giveaways. “We would have been happy at our local public school,”Ashley Leschber says, “but as students thrive in various environments, I think it’s important

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to explore schools that may be an even stronger fit for your family. The RSCO program does a great job of allowing parents the chance to get to know the schools involved and encouraging people to learn more about them so they can make the most informed choice when they submit their application. “I would encourage parents who are curious to take advantage of that so they can make the best choice for their family.” For more information about school choice, to register for upcoming events and to apply for the 2024-2025 school year, visit the ChooseYourSchool website and follow RSCO on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RSCOGH + www.ChooseYourSchool.org Sources — RSCO: Regional School Choice Office • Adams & Knight Inc. CLICK HERE — Related News • Simple As ABC: College prep program helps students excel


Open Book – School Choice Cuts Both Ways By Noelle Simone Blake Special to Today Magazine

THE CONNECTICUT OPEN CHOICE Program has been pivotal to my development as a student and an individual. After the Connecticut Supreme Court Sheff v. O’Neill ruling in 1996, the state of Connecticut took measures to ensure equal opportunity for all of its citizens, one of which was an updated Open Choice Program. This program allows Hartford residents like myself to attend public schools with better funding and resources in suburban districts. Through Open Choice, I attended Avon Public Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Over the course of 13 years, Avon became somewhat of a second home to me. Though my double-life was not nearly as exciting as the phrase implies, living and having stake in two different environments greatly impacted me intellectually and emotionally. Undoubtedly, Avon provided me with educational opportunities that I wouldn’t have been afforded in Hartford. Because of Avon Public Schools, I had the resources I needed to succeed and the mentors to challenge me. Had it not been for Avon, I probably wouldn’t have ended up at Dartmouth College, my undergraduate institution. As thankful as I am for the life that the Avon school system has afforded me, it also exposed me to many adversities. Although a welcoming community, Avon’s environment dramatically shaped my identity as a person of color. As a Black student in Avon, I experienced racial profiling from authority figures, outright racist remarks from young peers and many microaggressions. I don’t say these things with resentment; the fact that these behaviors are products of Avon’s environment further proves the need for the diversification of the community in order to combat bias and ignorance. Nevertheless, those incidents — most of which occurred before I was 13 — have stuck with me, enough so that

equity and justice work became one of my primary intellectual pursuits and a major life focus. There’s also a dissonance that comes with being an Open Choice student, a disconnect that GRANBY TODAY no one was fully able to prepare me for or warn me about. The success of the program, the students, is dependent on their ability to assimilate; as much as I was educated in school, I was socialized. I specifically remember a moment in the third grade after school, where my best friend (also an Open Choice student) and I were speaking to a teacher we both liked and trusted. As my friend recounted a story, the teacher corrected her speech: “Not ‘ax’ — ask,” she said. Though grammar is important, speech is a subjective part of culture. The way that my friend pronounced the word “ask” was the same way her family and friends pronounced it. The

VALLEY INTEL SCHOOL SCOOP

Editor’s Note • The Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) serves over 20,000 students in Connecticut — giving all students in the state the option of applying to attend a public school outside their hometown or regional district, with three primary options: an Open Choice school, a theme-focused magnet school or a technical high school • • Open Choice allows students to attend a public school outside their municipality of residence — this program was established in 1966 as Project Concern, one of the nation’s first voluntary school desegregation initiatives — after the Connecticut Supreme Court’s landmark Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation ruling in 1996, Project Concern rebranded as Project Choice, and later as Open Choice • • Noelle Blake is uniquely qualified to write about Open Choice — she is a Hartford resident who attended Avon schools from kindergarten on, graduating from Avon High in 2022 — she attends Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school in New Hampshire •

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School Choice Key Info To Know • Apply now — during the early application period for CTECS and the on-time application period for magnets and Open Choice schools — to increase the likelihood of a receiving a placement offer • • Check past seat availability for each school — this information is available on each school’s application page and will help you better understand the likelihood of receiving a placement offer • • Choice order matters — students can apply to five different schools across the three programs, but it’s important to remember that most students receive only one offer — so be sure to list only the schools your student really wants to attend, in order of preference • • Consider placement priorities — if your student has a placement priority at a school, list it as their first-choice school to activate the priority — placement priorities differ by school, but examples include things like having a direct pathway or an enrolled sibling • • Learn more — ChooseYourSchool.org Source — RSCO: Regional School Choice Office

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Regional School Choice Office pronunciation didn’t change its meaning in context, nor did it affect her ability to be understood. Though this moment was harmless in essence, it changed me. I remember it because for me, “ax” permanently became “ask.” Years of these adjustments and concessions of culture later became a point of contention between myself and my Hartford peers. Somehow, I had become a traitor and a stranger for choosing to assimilate — a choice that was never really mine to begin with, considering Open Choice’s goal. My experience as an Open Choice student has assisted me greatly in my academic and personal development. Today, most of my close friends are people I met while attending school. For these reasons, I’ll always be grateful for the program. At the same time, there are challenges that come with the experience. In the formative years of my life, I was faced with conflicting ideas of being, and paths that seemed to move further from one another as I got older. I know for a fact that I have been made better off because of my experiences in Avon, but I also live with the knowledge that along the way, part of my cultural identity was permanently altered. + A Hartford resident, Noelle Blake is a 2022 graduate of Avon High • She is a sophomore English major at Dartmouth College • A Today Publishing intern in 2020, she has received two SPJ awards for her work in Today Magazine ———–——————————————————–————–——————————————————–———— CLICK HERE — for Blake’s award-winning articles

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• Why being ‘not racist’ is not enough • Student’s-eye view of school during COVID


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CHOICE ART • The Leschber sisters — Ruby (seated) and Scarlett and Violet — are Simsbury residents who attend a magnet school through the state’s Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) • They created this artwork at their magnet school — Ana Grace Academy of the Arts in Bloomfield • RSCO applications are being accepted as we speak — for information, visit www.ChooseYourSchool.org

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School Choice Process Key Application Dates Here are some important dates connected to the school choice process in Connecticut for the 2024-25 school year December 2023 — RSCO Application Process Begins February 1 — CTECS Early Application Deadline • CTECS: Connecticut Technical Education & Career System Mid-February — CTECS Early Applicant Placement Announcements March 15 — On-Time RSCO Application Closes

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Early April — On-Time Magnet, Open Choice and CTECS Placement Announcements April 10 — Extended RSCO Application Opens July 19 — Extended RSCO Application Closes Source — RSCO: Regional School Choice Office

“ There is so much heart and genuine care that my girls receive every day … They’re always excited to be there ” — Ashley Leschber Ana Grace Academy parent via RSCO

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Parent’s-Eye View of School Choice By Rachel Flahive Special to Today Magazine

Rachel Flahive of Granby is the mom of a magnet-school student via the state Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) —————————————————————————————— I FIRST HEARD of RSCO from local Facebook parent groups. In the winter of 2020-21, I was in the process of looking at preschools for my then-2year-old daughter. In some of the parenting groups, I had heard mentioned that there were options through RSCO for low-cost, full-time preschools. Many of the other preschools in our area were part-time – only 2-3 hours a day for a few days a week. And they were several thousand dollars a month. So I decided to see what options were available through RSCO. From their website I found out about the magnet school system. At the time I was not sure if I wanted a full-time school or not. It seemed like an abrupt change for my

VALLEY INTEL SCHOOL SCOOP

My daughter has loved it there since Day 1 … The staff is amazing — most days she doesn’t even look back, just runs right in the door daughter, who had grown up in COVID lockdown — going from full-time at home to 6 hours a day at school for 5 days a week. After exploring various options on the RSCO website and attending a virtual school tour on Zoom — there were no in-person options to view the school at the time due to COVID — we decided to apply to Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet School in Bloomfield as our first option, with CREC Museum Academy as our second option. We also applied to the preschool at Kelly Lane Primary School in Granby, where we live. When we found out we got a spot at Wintonbury, I was still not sure how I felt about full-time preschool. After taking a tour and speaking to the staff and teachers, we decided to enroll her there.

It turned out to be the correct decision. My daughter has loved it there since Day 1. It is wonderful to have a whole school set up for 3- and 4-year-old kids. The staff is amazing. Most days she doesn’t even look back, just runs right in the door. My only regret is that Wintonbury is a two-year program. So now we are again looking at schools and submitting applications. We are going to apply again to several magnet schools for kindergarten. I hope that she gets a spot again as we had such a positive experience with preschool. + • Rachel Flahive owns and operates a Granby-based business as a freelance virtual assistant and office manager www.rachelflahive.com 978-394-3441 rachel.flahive@gmail.com

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School Choice Timeline 1966 — Project Concern established 1989 — Sheff v. O’Neill lawsuit filed July 1996 — Sheff v. O’Neill decision 1996 — Project Concern rebrands as Project Choice 1998 — Project Choice rebrands and expands as Open Choice • The rebrand expands opportunities for students from Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven to attend schools in nearby suburban towns — and for students from suburban towns to attend special programming in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport — special programming refers to a specific theme at an urban neighborhood school •

Youth and adults attend a RSCO school choice fair

2003-2020 — Development of Open Choice • A series of stipulations establishes a system of free, public, high-quality interdistrict educational opportunities in Greater Hartford — magnet, Open Choice and technical high schools — for Connecticut students • 2008 — Regional School Choice Office established • RSCO is established by the state Department of Education as a single resource for school choice information, application and placement • 2022 — Settlement reached in Sheff v. O’Neill case • Final settlement is agreed upon in the Sheff v. O’Neill case to support more educational, athletic and extracurricular opportunities for Connecticut students through RSCO aka the Greater Hartford Regional School Choice Office •

“We feel so grateful to be a part of the [RSCO] community” — Ashley Leschber • RSCO parent

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Reborn History Museum Eyes 2024 Debut By Bruce William Deckert Today Magazine • Editor-in-Chief

A BRAND-NEW Avon History Museum is in the works, with an anticipated grand opening in autumn 2024. The museum’s debut is coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Avon Historical Society in 2024. A 200-year-old schoolhouse — located on East Main Street (aka Route 44) in Avon’s historic town center — is being renovated and transformed into the new museum. Actually, the schoolhouse has previously been a museum. The renovations for the reborn museum began in July 2023. Schoolhouse No. 3 was built in 1823 on Country Club Road in the geographic center of Avon, where the Avon Free Public Library stands today. From 1823 to 1949, students in western Avon were educated in this one-room schoolhouse. In 1982, to make way for the new library, the building was relocated from Country Club Road to 8 East Main Street — the

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site of the former town hall — and became the Living Museum in 1983. The Avon Historical Society approached the town five years ago with a long-range vision of establishing an upgraded state-of-the art museum in the footprint of the schoolhouse. Renovations, funded by many early donors, commenced last summer and are now mostly completed. Fundraising is ongoing for professionally curated exhibits inside the new museum, spearheaded by a Buy A Brick fundraiser. Donors can memorialize an entire family, a specific

“ Avon residents can be so proud of the careful stewardship of one of its

— Nora Howard Town Historian

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VALLEY INTEL HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS loved one, an ancestor or a business via names on bricks in a brick-paved sitting area adjacent to the museum — donation options range from $100 to $250. The main interior focus will be the history of Avon since English settlers came to the Farmington Valley in the 17th century. At that time the land known as Avon was named Nod and was later renamed Northington — an offshoot of the town of Farmington, founded in 1645. Avon was established as a separate parish of Farmington in 1750, according to Avon town historian Nora Howard, and became an independent town in 1830. “Avon residents can be so proud of the careful stewardship of one of its finest historical resources,” Howard says of the new museum, adding that “the items and the knowledge it preserves will honor all those who came


Avon’s Schoolhouse No. 3 in 1915, in its original location on Country Club Road — in 1982 the entire building was relocated to East Main Street (aka Route 44) to make way for a new library

before — including, quite incredibly, the Paleo-Indians here 12,500 years ago.” Yes, the museum will feature an exhibit on an internationally significant archaeological dig in Avon — the 2019 discovery of the Brian D. Jones PaleoIndian Site along the Farmington River. The site, placed on Connecticut’s State Register of Historic Places in May, is the oldest known human occupation site in southern New England. A popular feature from the previous museum will also be on display: the diorama of the Farmington Canal. The canal ran through Avon from 182848, and the museum’s location is on the canal’s old towpath. The canal crossed current-day Route 44 and stretched 84 miles from its southern terminus in New Haven to Northampton, Mass. — explaining why it was also known as the New Haven and Northampton Canal, per the CT.gov website. Further, the oldest textile in the museum collection — a woman’s silk dress worn in a 1794 wedding in Avon — was professionally restored thanks to a Historic Preservation Grant from the Simsbury-based Abigail Phelps Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The 230-year-old dress will be showcased in a separate case along with other artifacts from the historical society’s collection. In addition, professionally curated graphic panels and illustrated window

shades will tell the story of Avon over nearly four centuries. The museum’s cellar will serve as a meeting space and storage for artifacts — and as a studio for the Avon Talks podcast that launched in July. The new museum takes the history baton from the original Living Museum that operated from 1983 to 2012. In 1980, the Avon Historical Society signed a 99-year lease with the town of Avon to maintain the schoolhouse as the society’s headquarters. When the schoolhouse was moved from Country Club Road to East Main Street in ’83, a cellar was constructed for storage and a display area for artifacts was built on the main floor. For about 20 years, Avon’s elementary school students visited the Living Museum to learn about the

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An artistic rendering of the new Avon History Museum by architect Jay Willerup

town’s history and spend the day in a society president Terri Wilson. “Since renovations— representing about twoone-room schoolhouse. The museum 2014, professionals in the historic thirds of the overall project cost — and was open during the summer months preservation and architectural the historical society is paying for the and welcomed thousands of visitors. community have stated that ‘the interior prep plus the exhibit creation Due to regular wear-and-tear and greenest building is one that already and installation. several maintenance issues — such exists’ — which is exactly what this is.” The town allocated funds from its as lack of proper climate control for Wilson explains that the town of Capital Improvement Project budget the archival collection of textiles Avon and the historical society agreed and the American Rescue Plan Act that and other objects stored there — the on a “vision and stewardship” of this was enacted in 2021 in response to the museum closed in 2012. The COVID pandemic. historical society renamed the The society has “ Professionals in the historic preservation building Schoolhouse No. 3, contributed its portion returning to its 19th-century and architectural community have stated that through private donations, nomenclature. grants and fundraisers such ‘the greenest building is one that already A few years later, the state as its annual TableScapes of Connecticut gave Avon event. exists’ — which is exactly what this is ” a Small Town Economic “The town is very Assistance Program (STEAP) excited [about] the Avon — Terri Wilson • Historical Society President grant to make streetscape History Museum project,” improvements at the says Avon town manager nearby intersection of West and East new museum so visitors could walk Brandon Robertson, adding that the Main Streets (Route 44) and Simsbury through the town’s true center to shop, museum will “adaptively reuse the Road (Route 10) — including the eat at local restaurants, and learn about town’s oldest public building to serve installation of wider sidewalks, granite the area’s fascinating history. future generations of Avon residents curbing and decorative lighting that An agreement on cost sharing was — we are so pleased to partner with reflected Avon’s historic character. developed — two-thirds of the funding the Avon Historical Society on this In 2018, the Avon Historical Society has come from the town of Avon and effort and look forward to showing the commissioned banners on light poles one-third will come from the society, community the end result.” + along Simsbury Road that highlighted with an anticipated final cost of about www.avonhistoricalsociety.org historic sites in Avon. Since then, the $250,000. Sources — Avon Historical Society banners have been hung annually from Wilson notes that the project news release • Today Magazine April through November. comprises three primary financing reporting • online sources Yet the society wanted to do more to components: the building renovations, ———————————————————————————————— enhance the historic center of Avon. the interior prep, and the exhibit CLICK HERE — Related News “Renovating Schoolhouse No. 3 creation and installation. • Center Stage: Resolving into a new museum again seemed The town of Avon has paid town center controversy to be the answer,” says historical for the nearly completed building 16

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ADVERTISER Hall of Fame – TODAY Magazine • These advertising sponsors have seen the value of investing in Today Magazine’s award-winning journalism as we cover the heart of the Farmington Valley and aim to record the Valley’s underreported upside • • If you have paid for a recurring advertisement with Today Magazine but don’t see your business or organization listed, send an email so you can be added to our Advertiser Hall of Fame — advertise@todaypublishing.net • Anthology Senior Living — 860-546-8037 — Simsbury www.anthologyseniorliving.com > Location ——————————————————————————————— Avon Health Center — 860-673-2521 — Avon www.avonhealthcenter.com ——————————————————————————————— Avon Historical Society — 860-678-7621 — Avon www.avonhistoricalsociety.org ——————————————————————————————— A Teen Edge — 860-593-2822 www.ateenedge.com ——————————————————————————————— Board and Brush — 860-392-8567 — Simsbury www.boardandbrush.com/simsbury ——————————————————————————————— Canton Barn LLC — 860-693-0601 — Canton www.cantonbarn.com ——————————————————————————————— Canton Food Bank — 860-693-5811 — Canton www.townofcantonct.org ——————————————————————————————— Carmon Funeral Homes — 860-673-8610 www.carmonfuneralhome.com ——————————————————————————————— Carol Cole Real Estate — 860-212-0687 — Canton www.carolcolerealestate.com ——————————————————————————————— Cherry Brook Health Care Center — 860-693-7777 — Canton www.cherrybrookhcc.com ——————————————————————————————— Christensen Insurance — 860-651-8236 — Simsbury www.insuranceagentswhocare.com ——————————————————————————————— Christopher Bryant Co. — 860-243-3500 — Bloomfield www.thechristopherbryantcompany.com ——————————————————————————————— Collinsville Bank — 860-693-6935 — Canton www.collinsvillebank.com ——————————————————————————————— Connecticut Dance Academy — 860-707-4198 — Canton www.ctdanceacademy.com ——————————————————————————————— Connecticut Headshots — 860-263-9277 — Avon www.connecticutheadshots.com ——————————————————————————————— Dynamic Auto Works — 860-693-6359 — Canton www.facebook.com/DynamicAutoCanton ——————————————————————————————— Erica Maglieri: Realtor — 860-324-6842 bhhsneproperties.com/real-estate-agent/757/erica-maglieri ——————————————————————————————— Fresh Start Pallet Products — 860-266-5726 — Hartford www.freshstartpalletproducts.org 24

JANUARY 2024 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE

——————————————————————————————— Granby-Simsbury Chamber of Commerce — 860-651-7307 www.simsburycoc.org ——————————————————————————————— Green Door Restaurant — 860-693-9762 — Canton www.41bridgestreet.com ——————————————————————————————— Habitat for Humanity — 860-541-2208 — Hartford www.hfhncc.org ——————————————————————————————— Harris Home Improvement — 860-817-7191 — Granby www.harrishomeimprovement.net ——————————————————————————————— Hartford Symphony Orchestra — 860-246-8742 — Hartford www.hartfordsymphony.org ——————————————————————————————— HealthMarkets Insurance — 860-307-1128 — Torrington www.healthmarkets.com — Mel Brickman ——————————————————————————————— Hulme & Sweeney Pianos — 860-408-4895 — Simsbury www.hulmesweeneypianoservice.com ——————————————————————————————— Karedigs.com — 860-379-4340 — Barkhamsted www.karedigs.com ——————————————————————————————— Kerian Home Health Care — 860-851-6267 — Simsbury www.keriancares.com ——————————————————————————————— Kevin Witkos: State Senator ——————————————————————————————— Landscape Solutions — 860-329-2014 — New Hartford www.landscapesolutionsct.com ——————————————————————————————— Leslee Hill for State Representative ——————————————————————————————— Lifetime Family Dentistry — 860-605-2075 — Collinsville www.lifetimefamilydentistryct.com ——————————————————————————————— Linda Kessler: Realtor — 860-836-6172 — Avon www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agents ——————————————————————————————— Liza Sivek Marketing — 203-278-5492 www.lizasivekmarketing.com ——————————————————————————————— Maglieri Construction — 860-242-0298 — Bloomfield www.maglieri-construction.com ——————————————————————————————— Magna Physical Therapy — 860-679-0430 — Avon www.magnapt.com ——————————————————————————————— Maher’s Paint & Wallpaper — 860-678-1200 — Avon + Simsbury www.maherspaintandwallpaper.com ———————————————————————————————


Make It GF — 860-693-1300 — Canton www.makeitgf.com ——————————————————————————————— Mandel Vilar Press — 806-790-4731 — Simsbury www.mvpublishers.org ——————————————————————————————— Massage Envy — 860-693-8000 — Canton www.massageenvy.com > Locations ——————————————————————————————— The Master’s School — 860-651-9361 — West Simsbury www.masterschool.org ——————————————————————————————— McLean — 860-658-3786 — Simsbury www.mcleancare.org ——————————————————————————————— Nails of Envy — formerly Canton + Avon ——————————————————————————————— Northwest Community Bank — 860-379-7561 www.nwcommunitybank.com ——————————————————————————————— Odalys Bekanich: Realtor — 860-965-3652 — Avon www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agents ——————————————————————————————— Peggy’s Personalized Promos — 860-379-7775 — New Hartford www.peggys.biz ——————————————————————————————— Planning Partners LLC — 860-693-9916 — Canton www.planningpartner.com ——————————————————————————————— Raimie Weber Jewelry — 860-409-3400 — Avon www.rweberjewelry.com ——————————————————————————————— Randy Brolo: Book Author www.lulu.com > Spirit of Delilah ——————————————————————————————— Ravenswood Natural Health — 860-264-1587 — Simsbury www.ravenswoodnaturalhealth.com ——————————————————————————————— Red Bison General Contractor — 860-810-8581 — Hartford

——————————————————————————————— Up Top Barbershop — 860-658-4499 — Simsbury www.booksy.com > Up Top Barbershop ——————————————————————————————— Vincent Funeral Homes — 860-693-0251 www.vincentfuneralhome.com ——————————————————————————————— Vincent Tully: Realtor — 860-214-3030 www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agent ——————————————————————————————— Welden Hardware — 860-658-4078 — Simsbury www.weldenhardware.com ——————————————————————————————— William Raveis — 860-693-2987 — Avon www.raveis.com/agentfind.asp?smart=1 ——————————————————————————————— The Village for Families & Children — 860-236-4511 — Hartford www.thevillage.org/second-chance-shops ——————————————————————————————— virtualens Designs — 860-348-6902 — Simsbury www.virtualens.art ———————————————————————————————

www.nextdoor.com/pages/red-bison-general-contractor-llc-hartford-ct

——————————————————————————————— Richman Business Brokerage — 860-408-9177 — Simsbury www.richmanbusiness.com — formerly The Deal Team ——————————————————————————————— Stone Man Masonry — 860-693-4637 — Canton www.facebook.com/StoneManMasonryCT ——————————————————————————————— Suburban Sanitation Service — 860-673-3078 — Canton www.subsanserv.com ——————————————————————————————— Tom Kutz Photography — 860-693-6254 — Canton www.tomkutzphoto.com ——————————————————————————————— Trading Post — 860-693-4679 — Canton www.tradingpostmusic.com ——————————————————————————————— Transition Fitness Center — 860-398-1449 — Canton www.transition-fitness-center.business.site ——————————————————————————————— UConn Health — 860-658-8750 www.health.uconn.edu TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2024

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