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Hamilton Avenue To Attract Hiatt Forde Magnet School Model

The rapid diversification of school racial imbalance response. A new magnet program. And educators and parents, a promising school will eventually achieve their academic commitments in a belief.

Hamilton Avenue School today in many ways looks a lot like it did when its magnet program launched in 2001. But the stakes in 2014 are arguably much higher than they were 13 years ago. Racial imbalance is not new anymore -- it is an issue that has loomed over the school for 15 years.

After more than a decade of setbacks and disappointments, with several themes tried or considered, Hamilton Avenue's magnet program needs to work this time. It is a large part of the district's latest racial-balance plan, so it must attract many new students to change the school's demographics. But it also must address a stark academic achievement gap between the school and the other elementaries in the district.

In the just-approved science, technology, engineering and math magnet theme, school officials, teachers and parents are cautiously hopeful that they have, at last, found a winning strategy. But they also recognize that a good idea is not enough; implementation will be crucial. And they are looking to a STEM school in West Hartford as a model to help a magnet theme finally stick at Hamilton Avenue.

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