Monday, August 24, 2009

Soccer Tournament at Donovan Park!

Soccer teams compete in NEAT tournament
MIDDLETOWN — Six soccer teams competed Sunday for a $500 prize in a tournament organized by the North End Action Team.

Held at Donovan Park, behind Macdonough School, the tournament was lively, even in the hot afternoon sun. Sounds of Latin music and the smell of hot dogs grilling wafted down the street as spectators gathered along the fence and passersby watched from the sidewalk.

NEAT offered free food and cold drinks to the players, who formed their own teams for the double-elimination tournament. There was so much interest, they had to turn people away, said Nick Petrie, community organizer with NEAT.

Petrie said he would like the tournament to become an annual event.

NEAT also holds basketball tournaments at the school on Fridays, and the soccer tournament was organized to reach out to the large Latino community in the North End, said Petrie.

NEAT is a neighborhood organization dedicated to improving quality of life in the North End.
Jennifer Sprague

Reprinted with permission from the Middletown Press.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soccer Tournament at Donovan Park TODAY!

Sunday, August 23 at 1:oo pm

Today, NEAT, in partnership with North End Business, Paradise Luxuries, will be hosting our first evern soccer tournament at Donovan Park, next to Macdonough School between Spring and Stack Streets. I hope you can make it!

We have six teams of eleven competing for a prize of $500! There promise to be some great athletes, so come to enjoy the games, eat some food and enjoy the music Kevin at Satelite DJ.

I hope you can make it!

Click here to see the poster.

Friday, August 21, 2009

North End Farmers Market now 10-2 pm

Come down to the North End Market! Running Fridays throughout the summer, the North End Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods and other CT Farm products. We changed the time since it was clearly high traffic at lunchtime.

It is being held on the big, wide sidewalk in front of It's Only Natural Market and runs from 10-2 (note the time is different than on the poster, I'm working on that!). Stop by on your lunch break.

All farms are WIC Certified and, you may use your EBT Card.
Also, we're always looking for more farms, so please contact NEAT if you know of a good one or are a good one! 346-4845 or

You may click on the poster to enlarge it.
Poster design by North Ender, Katie Marrotte

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Basketball (and soccer!) at Donovan Park

(click here to see pictures of May tournament)

Friday, August 21 at 6:oo pm

This Friday, August 21st, we will be the last basketball tournament of the summer at Donovan Park, next to Macdonough School between Spring and Stack Streets. I hope you can make it! Music will be run by Kevin at Satelite DJ. We'll be cooking hot dogs, too.

No need to sign up in advance, just show up with one or two friends or come alone and we'll put you on a team.

Also, on Sunday, we'll be hosting a soccer tournament from 1-6pm. It's a similar event, but while this is a family event, the games are for adults. There will also be a kid game if there are enough people who want to play, so bring your shin guards! Come to play or watch the game.

call 346-4845 or email for more information.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oddfellows Playhouse Fall classes now enrolling!

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is now enrolling for fall classes. If you haven't received your fall class brochure yet you can find information about fall classes on our website or click here to be directed to the PDF of the program brochure.

There are limited spots available so call the playhouse to register today (860) 347-6143

As always generous financial aide is available - please call Oddfellows to find out more.

See you at the Playhouse

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Way To Report Issues in the North End

You may use this "SeeClickFix" map to report issues in the North End of Middletown. You can add issues like street lights that are out, crime, garbage (bulky waste, etc), or hazards of any kind.

This is intended to be helpful. Please respect people's privacy and be kind to your neighbors! This is a way for the city of Middletown to see where there are issues.

9th Annual Garden Party

The North End Action Team hosted its 9th annual Garden Party in the Erin Street Community Garden on Thursday night. All day the threat of rain loomed, but as has happened for the last three years, the skies turned blue at 5:30, right on cue.

This year, NEAT gave its annual college scholarship to recent graduate Steven Kovach with a scholarship of $500 to start college this fall. Steven has been in NEAT programs for the last 10 years and is active in the North End Youth Programs, is on the city's Design Review and Preservation Board and is a great role model for other Middletown kids.

Overall, the garden looked great and the food was amazing (Thanks to: Fusion Bakery, Tandoor, Typhoon, Public Bar and Grill, Empire Pizza, Sweet Harmony CafĂ©, It’s Only Natural Restaurant, Tschudin Chocolates, Order on Court, Tavern at the Inn at Middletown, Javapalooza, Puerto Vallarta, Firehouse Steakhouse, Mikado, O’Rourke’s Diner, Thai Gardens, Fiorie, Fred Carroll and Ann-Marie Cannata, Young's Printing, Minuteman Press, Metro Spirits, Forest City Wine & Spirits and Patty Palace.

Thanks to all who attended!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Presecription Help TODAY!


If you are uninsured or struggling, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help. Come find out if you may qualify for one or more of 475 patient assistance programs, many of which offer free or nearly free prescription medicines for those in need. There's a fast, free and convenient way to see if you may qualify… The "Help Is Here Express” is Coming! TODAY!!Monday August 17 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm In front of the North End Action Team’s Office 668 Main Street, Middletown.

The “Help is Here Express” is equipped with computer terminals and phones so people can find out (for free) if they may be eligible for help. Trained specialists will be on board to make sure the process is quick and easy.

Call NEAT for more information at 346-4845

*Bring a list of your prescriptions with you*
Sponsored by America’s Pharmaceutical Research Companies and the North End Action Team

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Garden Party Thursday

This Thursday, August 13th, NEAT will be hosting its 9th annual Garden Party and Fundraiser at the Erin Street Community Garden.

This is a wonderful event, with passed hors d'oeuvres, a live band, and a beautiful community garden to spend (what promises to be) a great summer evening in.

The event is a fundraiser for NEAT, so there is a suggested donation of $30 for an individual and $45 for a family, but we encourage residents to come by and help host the party. If you volunteer, there is no donation required.

This is a wonderful party hosted by the North End for the city, so bring family and friends and celebrate the many accomplishments of the neighborhood!

Please call NEAT if you have any questions (860-346-4845)

Click Here to watch the video of last year's party (created by North End Resident Dan Nocera)

Click Here to see pictures of last year's party

Friday, August 7, 2009

Enrollment for Green Street Arts Center’s AfterSchool Program is now Open

Middletown, Conn., August 4, 2009— The Green Street Arts Center of Wesleyan University is now registering students for its AfterSchool program. Serving families in the North End neighborhood as well as greater Middletown and the Middlesex region, the program operates 5 days a week from 3pm to 6pm and enrolls students ages 7 to 14. Students receive a nutritious snack and homework assistance in addition to a variety of arts enrichment classes. Two class periods are offered Monday through Thursday; one class period is offered on Friday with a second period devoted to a community meeting for students to share what they’ve learned and show what they have accomplished. Students aged 15-18 interested in our new AfterSchool mentorship program are encouraged to contact Green Street as soon as possible to ensure their place.

There are over fifteen different courses available for students to choose from, including Breakdancing, African Drumming, Creative Movement, Comic Book Creation, Drawing, Musical Collaboration, Sound Editing, and Web Design. Students are welcome to consider registering for individual arts enrichment courses or for the full program. This year, Green Street Arts Center is also partnering with the Help Yourself Foundation to offer Science and Arts enrichment program for third grade students. Students in the Help Yourself program will attend a specially designed science curriculum on Mondays and Wednesdays and arts classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Contact Artistic and Education Coordinator Sarah-Jane Ripa at (860) 685-7860 or for more information or to arrange an interview for you and your student.

Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which is celebrating its fifth year, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an afterschool arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing. Visit for more information.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good News at Macdonough Featured in the Courant

Middletown's Macdonough School Closing Achievement Gap

The Hartford Courant

August 6, 2009


Macdonough School, which officials once considered closing, is now being highlighted as an example of how to close the education achievement gap.

The school, which has the highest number of poor students of the eight elementary schools in Middletown, showed the greatest improvement locally on the Connecticut Mastery Test this year.

This result builds on its previous year's performance. In 2008, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, an advocacy group, placed the school on its Top 10 list of most improved schools in the state and will likely do so again this year, said Marc Porter Magee, the group's chief operating officer.

"It's a real leader for the state," Magee said. "It's the kind of school that other principals should be visiting to find out what's working."

This year, more Macdonough students placed at the highest level on the CMT and fewer scored at the lowest level than last year, school officials said. Before last year, the school had historically placed last in Middletown. But this year, the school's third-graders scored the highest in the city in the CMT's writing category, with 97 percent reaching proficiency or higher. Last year, the school's fifth-grade writing scores were No. 1 in the city.

Districtwide however, with the exception of reading, Middletown's scores were flat, said Assistant Superintendent Barbara Senges. The number of all test-takers in grades 3 through 8 who attained the more advanced category of "goal" in reading was 9.1 points higher than the state average from 2006 to 2009, she said. The number of city students who achieved the category of "proficient" in reading was 8.1 points higher than students across the state during the same period.

Those numbers, she said, should soothe parents who worry that advanced students will suffer when teachers give more attention to weaker readers.

It's The Teachers
Jon Romeo, the school's principal for the past three years, attributed his school's improvement to the teachers, who last year began working with one another in earnest to identify and target their students' weaknesses. The school also has benefited from student volunteers from Wesleyan University and from the advocacy of the North End Action Team, which has sought to help parents better express their needs to school and city officials.

That collaboration, Magee said, has turned the school into a community project.

"Everyone in Middletown should feel good about what they're accomplishing," he said.

With its wealthy swaths, pockets of poverty and large achievement gap, Middletown is a microcosm of Connecticut, Magee said. Statewide and nationwide, there is a consistent gap in test results between students of color and white students. In Connecticut, African American and Latino students generally score about 30 points lower than their white peers. Students of color fare somewhat better in Middletown, where they score about 20 points behind white students.

Macdonough's principal and teachers, some of whose students face such disadvantages as poor access to medical care and insufficient academic support at home, hold key answers for other educators who also are grappling with the achievement gap, Magee said. The school is among the state's top performing schools when ranked according to the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. About 80 percent of Macdonough's students qualify for that program.

"If every school was doing what Macdonough is doing, Connecticut would go from having the largest achievement gap in the country to having the smallest gap," Magee said. "The way the gap is going to get closed is through principals like Jon Romeo, who day in and day out ... focus on catching kids up and setting the ball higher and higher."

Macdonough's success also demonstrates that student test results — which were originally used as an accountability tool and considered oppressive — can help teachers understand their students' comprehension and become an effective teaching tool, Magee said.

From Disney To Harry Potter
Some of the students who have benefited most from Macdonough's collaborative teaching style are Alezei Rosario, Mekhi Mickens and Carlos Perez — all of whom started out at the CMT's lowest reading level in the fourth grade and placed just one level below "advanced" the next year, Romeo said. The boys will enter sixth grade next month.

Alezei, 11, who began by reading relatively simple Disney books such as "101 Dalmations," advanced to reading Harry Potter books. At school he worked with an aide; at home he read to himself and his sister, now 5. He said that the Harry Potter series satisfies his craving for adventure and commotion.

"I just kept on and kept on reading," he said. "I started reading in school and reading on the school bus."

Kym Ciccia, a Macdonough teacher who helps struggling students in reading and math, said the school's success has boosted the morale of its students. She credited Romeo with helping to turn around the school's test scores.

"It's definitely just a feeling that we can succeed and we can do better," Ciccia said.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The daVinci's Amazing Rowing Machine Takes 3rd Place in the CT River Raft Race!!

Last Saturday, a team from the North End, led by captain George Frick, took part in the annual Connecticut River Raft Race. It is such a fun event, and our boat (made 5 years ago by a group of North End youth) a funky yellow catamaran type boat, is one of the coolest on the water.

The crew took first place in their division and third place all around. Congratulations!