Parent's Corner (August 2012)
by Lorenzo Blake, Hartford

Anyone who is a parent can relate to the elation of witnessing their child learn something or vicariously reliving the amazement in their eyes when they have an experience that is completely new. (Read More)

A City Magnet Inspires a Former Suburban Student to Teach D.C. Youth (August 2012)
by Grace Clark

WASHINGTON, DC – Even though she was attending one of the state’s best public school systems, Whitney Bartell of Simsbury, CT always wanted a different educational experience. While Whitney and her family believed she received a solid education since kindergarten in her predominantly white school system, something was missing - diversity. It wasn’t until high school that Whitney found it, at the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science (GHAMS) in Hartford – a magnet school experience that would define her life’s journey. (Read More)

The "Year of Education" and Sheff (August 2012)
By Phil Tegeler

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy entered this past Legislative Session with an ambitious education reform agenda. It was designed in part to give Connecticut an edge in competitive funding applications to the U.S. Department of Education, and also to help qualify Connecticut for a “waiver” of certain requirements of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law. The Sheff Movement coalition was generally supportive of the governor’s proposals, because they provided additional funding and support for poor districts and early childhood education. However, we raised concerns from the beginning of the session that incentives and requirements for school integration were missing from the bill. (Read More)

Seven Hartford Schools; Four CREC Schools Receive National Awards of Excellence (August 2012)

Seven Hartford Public Schools have been selected by Magnet Schools of America to receive Magnet Schools of Merit Awards, recognizing them as among the best schools of their kind in the United States. (Read More)

Students and Staff at Two Magnet Schools Honored with Sheff Awards (August 2012)

About a dozen students and a teacher at two area magnet schools - CREC (Capitol Region Education Council) International Magnet School for Global Citizenship in East Hartford and Environmental Sciences Magnet at Mary Hooker (operated by Hartford Public Schools) in Hartford – have been awarded with the Sheff Movement Excellence in Quality Integrated Education Award 2012. (Read More)

Sheff Movement parents and leaders visit National School Diversity Conference (May 2012)
About a dozen magnet school and Open Choice parents joined the Sheff Movement at the National Conference on School Diversity in Washington, DC on May 17th. Read more.

New data on high school graduation rates show that our regional magnets are still outperforming most suburban school districts! (March 2012)

In 2010, we compared graduation rates in Hartford’s magnet high schools with high school graduation rates for all districts in the Hartford region – and found that the regional magnets were outperforming most of the suburban towns in our region! After that, under direction from the U.S. Department of Education, Connecticut developed new data on graduation rates that more accurately reflects the actual rate of graduation than prior analyses. Connecticut released its new dataset in 2011, adhering to the new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education. We have re-analyzed graduation rates using this new data and found that the regional magnets continue to outperform most of the school districts in the region, especially for lower income children (those who receive “free and reduced price lunch”).

click to see enlargement

This data is consistent with national research in the fields of economics and public policy that has demonstrated important relationships between high school graduation rates and school diversity. For instance, recent evidence suggests that court-ordered desegregation improved black students’ high school graduation rates (Guryan, 2004), while post-desegregation racial “resegregation” increased black dropout rates in the north (Lutz, 2011). Additionally, a study of 30 years of data from Cleveland, OH before, during, and after desegregation concludes that desegregation had a positive effect on the dropout rate while resegregation had a negative effect on it (Saaacioglu, 2010).

There is also a wealth of research showing that desegregation improves achievement outcomes, and that students with better academic achievement are less likely to drop out (not surprising!). Rucker C. Johnson, a professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, used four decades of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to study the economic and educational trajectories of children born between 1950 and 1975 and followed them through 2007. He found that greater educational attainment (as measured by, for example, drop-out rates) is associated with school integration programs (Johnson, 2011). And earlier this year, Professor David Kirp of UC-Berkeley wrote an important essay on desegregation that puts the relationship between school segregation and high school graduation in a broader context (see the article here)

Hartford Environmental Sciences Magnet at Mary Hooker: Diversity and the Excitement for Learning Come into Focus (June 2012)
by Grace Clark

Ever since Hartford neighborhood school Mary Hooker transformed into a regional magnet school with an environmental science theme two years ago, the classroom climate has had a significant change. “I have seen more passion from my students than I’ve ever seen in 30 years,” said Gail Panciera, a first-grade teacher, who has taught at Mary Hooker for 30 years. “This was not a diverse school back 30 years ago. Children from Hartford are [now] mixed in with children from the suburbs to create this environment. Just having children from different cultures, having children from different environments - they bring their own prior knowledge to the classroom and they just built it up to a higher standard now.”(Read More)

Character and Diversity Count at Breakthrough Magnet School (May 2012)
by Grace Clark

Monday morning. Breakthrough Magnet School Media Center – 8:05: Three seventh grade students - Kaylee Crocett of New Britain, Dayna Dinnall of Windsor and Hector Cruz of Plainville - quickly enter the media center and position themselves at a computer to write the morning’s school newscast. They have only 20 minutes before they broadcast live to the 351 students in kindergarten through eighth grade on the televisions in every classroom (Read More)

New research on benefits of diversity in pre-k education (March 2012)
The Century Foundation has released new research, using data from 11 states, that shows improved math and language skills for students in socioeconomically diverse preschool settings. This research supports the Sheff Movement's call for Governor Malloy to promote integrated preschool program, rather than keeping low income children in separate pre-k programs. Our magnet schools in Hartford have demonstrated that integrated preschool is feasible and effective. (Read More)

2012 Updates

2011 Updates

2010 Updates

  • 2010 Sheff Movement Parents' Guide

  • Parents' Guide

  • A Right to Quality Education Connecticut's Supreme Court issued a ruling in early 2010 in favor of the plaintiffs in CCEJF v Rell, declaring that Connecticut schoolchildren are entitled to an education that prepares them to be participants in society, pursue higher education and be gainfully employed. The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding filed the suit in 2005, arguing that the state's system of funding education is broken and unfair. Click here for coverage in the CT Mirror and here for CCEJF's web site and links to the decision.
    We offer our heartfelt thanks to the members of CCEJF for their steadfast commitment to the education of our children.
  • Support expanded Open Choice funding in Raised Bill 438: Open Choice (formerly called Project Choice) is the city-to-suburb transfer program that provides integrated education choices for about 1200 Hartford students in suburban schools. The program is a crucial complement to the interdistrict magnet school program, but its growth has been limited by unfair state reimbursement rates to suburban towns.
    A new bill in the legislature, Raised Bill 438, would begin to fix this problem by increasing the reimbursement rate for suburban districts that accept a minimum percentage of Hartford students in the program. But the bill fails to require a minimum enrollment level from suburban districts.

Quote of the Month

"I'm proud to report that we have received 15,791 applications from youngsters who are desirous of a less segregated setting in our region, and that represents a 14-percent increase from the previous year. Of those students, 5,715 were from Hartford and that represents a 19-percent increase from the past year. And of that amount again, 10,076 were from suburban communities representing a 22-percent increase from the past year.... There is a growing outcry, both in terms of Hartford and the suburban communities for participation and to have educational experiences in a more integrated setting."

- George Coleman, Connecticut Department of Education
(Remarks at symposium, "Interdistrict Public Education: Equalizing Opportunity Beyond Racial Integration," sponsored by the SBA Diversity Committee at UConn School of Law in Hartford on March 20, 2012.)

2009 Legislative Session

2008 Settlement Agreement

Research Reports

Reports on the Current Status of the Sheff Two-Way Voluntary Integration Program in the Hartford Area

Other Research Reports

Order our DVDs

  • "40 Years of Project Concern and Project Choice" (30 minute dvd) available for $5 (or free if you plan to show it to a group of friends, students or colleagues), contact
  • "How we did it in Simsbury" (15 minute dvd) guide for planning a Project Choice host parent program in suburban towns (Contact

Sheff Movement news items from 2007-2011

Recent Events

  • Sheff Movement Meeting with Commissioner Pryor
    Feb 18, 2012
    see photos
  • Sheff Movement Annual Meeting
    Saturday, June 12, 2011
    9 - 11:30 a.m.
    Hartford City Hall

    William Magnotta, President, Magnet Schools of America
    (Connecticut State Department of Education)

    Tim Sullivan, Classical Magnet School
    2010 Principal of the Year, Connecticut School Association

    Connecticut Magnets: Leading the Nation
    A review of the most outstanding accomplishments of our magnets - how they are closing the achievement gap, winning state and national awards for excellence, and providing thousands of children with the quality, integrated education they deserve. What will we need to do to support these schools in the next few years?

    Please join magnet school principals and parent and community leaders to help us set the agenda for next year. Refreshments will be provided.

    With a new governor and increasing budget crisis, 2011 will be a pivotal year for our programs. Lawmakers will need to hear from parents and supporters to continue support for interdistrict magnets and to make sure local schools have the support they need to make Project Choice accessible to more children.

  • On March 31 for Education2010, part of a town-hall style series, stakeholders came together to work for better schools. That month's forum, "Successful Students for the 21st Century," featured Elizabeth Horton Sheff as a panelist and took place March 31 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Hartford City Hall Atrium. Breakout sessions focused on the school-to-prison pipeline, does race matter, fixing broken schools, and workforce development. Click here for a flyer or here for the Educ2010 web site.
  • Sheff Movement featured at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Manchester (December 2009).

  • Sunday, December 6, 2009

    The Sheff Movement will be the focus of two events at the Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E).

    First, at the main 12:30 p.m. service, Elizabeth Horton Sheff will speak on the history and continuing need for the case. Immediately following, the church will have a forum on the issue of Reducing Racial Isolation in the Public Schools. We will share the good news: The Hartford area has been developing a robust system of magnet school and school choice programs, the envy of many other regions in the nation. There is evidence that this voluntary two-way system of school desegregation has a very positive effect on children and families. Then there's the bad news: Schools in America overall are MORE segregated than before Brown v Board of Education; 40% of students of color attend high-poverty, low-achieving, racially segregated schools; Connecticut has the nation's largest achievement gap (the spread between achievement test scores of white and minority students.)

    Sponsored by the UUS:E's Social Justice Committee, the forum will include a light lunch and childcare. Please call Annie at 860-646-5151 by December 1, 2009 to reserve childcare. Older children with an interest in the program are welcome and encouraged to attend the forum. Both events are at Center Congregational Church, 11 Center St., Manchester.

    If you are interested in having the Sheff Movement present at your church, please contact Jessica Leake at

  • Sheff Movement Meeting
    Saturday, November 21
    9:30 to 11
    Hartford City Hall
    Recap of our recent trip to Washington DC and discuss the current state budget status, including possible upcoming suburban transportation issues.

    The Sheff Movement brought seven supporters - parents, grandparents, and Project Choice students - to Washington DC for a conference on school integration. They are pictured here with John Brittain.
  • Sheff Movement in D.C. - Click here to see the highlights of the National Conference on School Integration.

  • National Conference November 13, "Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Public Education Policy: A Conversation Among Policymakers, Advocates and Educators," brought together top Department of Education officials to speak with educators, parents, civil rights advocates, and scholars who support racially and economically integrated K-12 public schools.

  • Sheff v. O'Neill 20th Anniversary Event
    April 27, 2009, 5:00 - 7:30 pm
    UConn Law School: featuring Susan Eaton.
    Read Susan Eaton’s April 27, 2009 presentation (original version) (annotated with footnotes)

  • April 11, 2009, 9:30 - 11 am, Hartford City Hall: Sheff Movement Meeting

  • Sheff Movement meeting
    Saturday, December 20, 2008
    9:30 to 11 am
    Hartford City Hall in the Council Chambers
    We'll discuss the state's education budget and the Sheff Comprehensive Management Plan.
    Please email your RSVP or other agenda ideas to

  • Regional School Choice Fairs underway
    Learn more about the quality, integrated public schools in the region. The new Regional School Choice office is hosting a series of magnet school fairs around the region. Click here for a schedule.

  • Sheff Movement meeting
    Saturday, November 22, 2008
    9:30 to 11 am
  • October 28: Multicultural Education Conference
    The Sheff Movement coalition presented two workshops at the New England Conference on Multicultural Education (NECME), Wednesday, October 8 at the Connecticut Convention Center.
  • August 7-8: CREC's Choice Summer Institute
    A two-day seminar for anyone interested in the new Sheff agreement and its implications
    Hosted by CREC with guest speakers (including the Sheff Movement coalition's Liz Dupont-Diehl)
    Two Rivers Magnet Middle School
    337 East River Drive, East Hartford, CT 06108
  • Project Concern / Project Choice All Class Reunion July 26, 2008
    For graduates and Project Concern paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and staff members. 6-11pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resorts located at 50 Morgan Street, Hartford.

    For graduates and Project Concern paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and staff members.
  • Sheff Movement Annual Meeting
    At the Breakthrough Magnet School
    Saturday, April 26, 2008, 9:30 - 12:00
  • Education Committee
    Legislative Hearing on the new settlement agreement
    Legislative Office Building, Room 2c
    Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  • November 6-9, 2007
    Sheff v. O'Neill compliance hearing
    Superior Court, Hartford
    This is the hearing that was made necessary when the legislature failed to approve the recent settlement approved by the Sheff plaintiffs and the State Board of Education and Governor. The judge will consider what should be done in the next phase of the implementation of Sheff v. O'Neill remedies. We are encouraging parents and supporters of the Sheff voluntary integration programs to come to court and learn more about the next phase of the case. At the Hartford Superior Court, 95 Washington Street.

  • November 14th, 2007
    DVD screening at the Hartford Public Library
    5:30 - 7:30 pm
    'Forty years of Project Concern and Project Choice": A screening of the new 30-minute video documentary about Hartford's city-to-suburb school integration program. Featuring interviews with alumni and founders of the Project Concern program and a discussion about the future of the program. Welcoming reception at 5:30; film at 6:00 followed by discussion.

Materials From the Recent Sheff v. O'Neill Hearing

Other Resources