Welcome to the Director's Newsletter page.  Please click on the links
below to keep updated about exciting developments at ECA.

An Important Message from Director Jason Hiruo:

Dear ECA Community,

The Education Appropriations Hearing in Hartford will take place on Tuesday, 2/21 at 4 pm.  We will require as many magnet families and staff members to attend as possible and at least two to three representatives from each school to testify. This number has been updated, where prior we had the opportunity to only provide one parent and student representative. We have received written testimonials from ECA parents that have been submitted, but are looking for strong parent voices willing to articulate the concern at the state level. 
For Parents and Students Who Would Like to Testify on Tuesday:  We encourage as many parents to testify on Tuesday as possible. It’s important that we have the names and testimonies of anyone who would like to testify no later than 1pm on Monday, 2/21. Testimonies should be emailed to
Our CT Coalition for Magnet School lobbyist will sign up our parents first thing (7:30 am) Tuesday morning. The CT Coalition will provide pizza and other refreshments for our families attending. We will gather in the 2nd floor Atrium at the Legislative Office Building before proceeding to the Education Appropriations Hearing. The Hearing will take place in the Legislative Office Building, Room 2C, 300 Capital Avenue, Hartford.    
Transportation:  Anyone who would like to take the ACES bus, please RSVP to Evelyn Rosetti-Ryan at erossetti-ryan@aces.org by end of day, Monday, 2/20. If ECA registers over 40 people, we will be assigned our own bus.
For Parents/Guardians Who Cannot Attend The Hearing But Would Like to Submit Written Testimony:  Parents/Guardians who are not able to attend Tuesday’s hearing but would like to submit written testimonies should email their testimonies no later than 1 pm on 2/21. Testimonials can be in Word or PDF format. They should be sent toAPPtestimony@cga.ct.gov with a copy to erossetti-ryan@aces.org. Testimonies should be addressed to the three co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee: Senator Catherine Osten, Senator Paul Formica, and Representative Toni Walker.  Written testimonies should include the individual’s name and address.  
For additional magnet school advocacy information and resources, please go to the CT Coalition for Magnet School Funding website, www.ctmagnetschools.org.
Thank you for your continued support,
Jason Hiruo, Director
Educational Center for the Arts

Dear ECA Community:
First, thank you to all who have already contributed to our school's efforts to highlight the value and importance of ECA in the lives of so many people.
As we approach our anticipated legislative breakfast on February 22nd, I would like to remind you that your voice is important.
If you plan on attending our event on the morning of the 22nd, please be sure to RSVP to Evelyn Rossetti-Ryan, erossetti-ryan@aces.org.
Our state representatives and legislators need to hear from stakeholders in order to recognize the impact and concerns related to your ECA experience.
Attached, please find a sample letter that you can utilize as a model.
Some tips for effective communication:
• Be polite.
• Be clear and concise. Political office staff are very busy. Keep your letter as efficient as possible, while including all relevant information.
• Identify yourself as a constituent (if you are) or as a representative of the Community for the Educational Center for the Arts
• Explain your issue clearly. You are the expert on your topic. Give enough information for the Member to understand your position. If possible, illustrate the impact of the issue on his/her
district/state with personal anecdotes and local/state data.
• Tell the Member what action you want him/her to take; e.g., support magnet school funding in CT, support arts-infused education.
• Request a response. Ask what his/her position on the issue is or how s/he will vote on the bill.
• Offer yourself as a resource. Make sure your Member knows s/he can call on you for more information on your ECA educational experience.
• Don’t forget to include your contact information.
Basic but Important Points about ECA:
1. ECA draws 300 students from over 27 townships and communities throughout Connecticut.
2. ECA is a highly diverse learning environment that prioritizes skill development in resiliency and individual creativity.
3. ECA uses arts-based learning and arts-infused education to enhance student skills in: innovation; empathy; problem-solving; constructive feedback; critical assessment; self-worth and worth in others; voice and confidence; harnessing failure; and much, much more.
4. ECA employs professional, practicing artists and arts educators from all areas of expertise in the fields of art and education.
5. ECA is unique as an inter-district magnet arts high school, representing students on a regional scale unmatched by an other school in the State of Connecticut.
6. ECA receives more national, state, and regional arts awards AND honorable recognitions than any other school in the State of Connecticut.
Why FAX may be another good way to advocate:
E-mails are the easiest way to go, but they flood inboxes. E-mail could easily be overlooked or quickly forgotten.
Phone calls are another popular option, but no genuine record of your statement. Phone calls can be answered by assistants, often temporary positions that are often advised to simply keep a tally of the “For” and “Against” phone calls.
Sending a letter through “snail mail” is still fairly common, but letters can take a long time to arrive at the right office. Letters by mail can spend weeks in a universal receiving department being carefully screened and sorted. By then, it could be too late for your voice to make a difference.
Faxes, on the other hand, may solve some of these issues. They are as instantaneous as an e-mail without the same popularity and non-hard copy format that gets your message lost in the shuffle. You can write a fax in paragraph form so, unlike a phone call, you get across all of your thoughts. Also sending an email fax pose no security risk like snail mail, so your representatives' offices can hold a hard copy of your letter to leave a more concrete impression.
Thank you for your continued support and collaboration.
High Regards,
Jason Hiruo, Director

Dear ECA Community:

I am writing to you with a high level of importance.
Due to the state’s $1.5 Billion deficit, magnet schools in Connecticut are absorbing a substantial impact. In the approaching 2017-2018 school year, ECA will confront over a $500,000.00 budget reduction. This has far reaching results into our programming, staff, and the future of our school’s progress. We will maintain our commitment to continuing our progress and integrity of our school despite these reductions. However, your voice is necessary in helping us preserve ECA. 
  1. We are looking for an ECA parent and an ECA student that will testify at the Education Appropriations hearing on Tuesday, February 21st. Please contact jhiruo@aces.org directly if you are interested in participating as a representative for our school. We will need to submit written testimonies 10 days in advance of this event.
  2. We are organizing a series of legislative breakfasts to galvanize support for our magnet schools and to seek legislative support of our magnet school funding that will also carry our voice to the governor. It’s important that we get as many of our ECA families and staff as possible to attend these events. The legislative breakfasts are open to all ACES staff members as well. We know that many of you have hectic day schedules to maintain, but if you, family members and staff can attend, we know that your voice will be heard. 
    The dates for our legislative breakfasts are as follows:
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 (RSVP to erossetti-ryan@aces.org by Monday, February 20th)
ACES Educational Center for the Arts: 8:15 am – 9:15 am
The following have been invited:  Senator Fasano, Representative Walker, Representative Candelaria, Representative Winfield, Representative Dillon, Representative DiMassa, Representative Lemar, Representative Paolillo, and Senator Martin Looney.

The success of ECA is not solely based on a specific arts education, but in how we continue to help students further their individuality, creativity, and inner-confidence.

Together, we value the arts.

We use the arts as a vehicle to further skills of innovation, problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking.

We use the arts to advance empathy, voice, self-esteem, and citizenry.

We love the arts because it reminds us of who we are as we support our future.

We value the arts, and this is why we are here –

for our students,

for the school,

for ourselves,

for the importance of instilling the arts in the lives of children.

December Updates:

  • ECA is implementing our Food Service Kiosk at the end of this month! The Food Service Kiosk will be staffed and managed by Chartwells Food Service. All items available are maintained at a reasonable price for students and staff and will allow everyone to purchase sandwiches, salads, soups, and healthy snacks. We are excited about this as it brings a new resource to the school community and allows for an efficient "grab-n-go" in the hectic schedules at ECA. In January, we will have a grand opening with a school-wide tasting of various items to allow for feedback and identify popular items. Thank you to those who completed the brief survey and helped us initiate this needed addition to the daily lives of our students. Your feedback is important!   
  • As you may be aware, the state is continuing to reduce the annual budgets of Connecticut magnet schools. ECA is defined as an inter-district magnet high school. By next school year, we will have accumulated an 11% budget reduction. We continue to work very hard to protect our programming through creative problem-solving. ACES is also managing this through the Connecticut Magnet School Alliance. In the near future, we will hear how we can strategically and diplomatically utilize the strength of the parent voice. As this unfolds, we anticipate that ECA will hold a meeting to communicate and plan how we can do this effectively as collective communities and magnet schools in Connecticut.
  • ECA is moving ahead with international enrollment and will soon be admitting international students from our sister schools in September. This not only provides opportunities for our community to connect to students and their cultures from around the world, but it will help to neutralize budget reductions through the tuition that international families will pay to attend ECA. With our first applications already coming in, we are looking for families of ECA to host international students beginning in September 2017. All host families receive a monthly stipend to support this experience. If you are interested in finding more information out about hosting, please send an email to jhiruo@aces.org to receive the ACES International Host Family Information Booklet.
  • We are welcoming our first teaching fellow to ECA this year. "Summer" (Xiaoqing Guo) is part of the ECA/Yale-China collaboration that brings her to ECA from Changsha, China. As part of the Yali schools, originated by Yale alumni over 100 years ago, Summer will be co-teaching the integrated studies CLAS course (Culture-Language-Arts-Society) and further support our collaborative work with sister schools in China. Summer is excited to meet more people in the ECA community, so please feel free to welcome her as you see her about in school.
  • HOLIDAY CANDY CANE SALESTHIS WEEK!! Proceeds go to ECA Students.
    • Who can buy them?  Anyone – students, faculty/staff, visitors!!
    • Who are you buying them for?  Anyone at ECA – friends, faculty/staff, even yourself!!
    • How much do they cost?  2 for $1.00
    • You fill out the tag and sign it (or you can keep it a secret!).
  • ECA is closed over the Holiday Break.  

Dear ECA Families, please click the following link to view our November Family Update Letter:

November 2016 Family Update

Other Exciting News:

  • China 2017 Study Tour: Students that are registered for the April trip are asked to see Jason Hiruo for paperwork and fundraising information.
  • ECA FOOD SERVICE: ECA is developing an internet café! In the meantime, we will be working with Chartwells Food Service to implement a food cart at school for grab-and-go sandwiches, soup, and healthy snacks. This has great benefits in many ways for our school community. PLEASE contribute to the survey. Your input is highly valued, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACES_Lunch_Survey  Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
  • GUIDANCE: To parents of Seniors - If you would like an ECA transcript sent to Colleges and Universities, a transcript release form should be signed by the guardian or parent along with a stamped addressed envelope and submitted to the ECA School Counselor, Julie Michaelson.  The release forms can be downloaded from our website, found under school forms or students can pick up a copy in the guidance area. http://www.aces.org/uploads/application/files/yc2tpv7d21pcrzmpyydmmc00shiq3lkfgnyfa2pbg4bk5y3wcg.pdf

Thank you

to over 50 ECA student volunteers and staff who participated in our Arts Festival - Fall Free for All - on Audubon Street, Saturday Sept. 24!

The outdoor event was a success and brought a few hundred community members to visit with us on Saturday.

People learned more about what we do at ECA, and experienced ECA firsthand on stage and up close in discussions.


May 2016 Director's Newsletter

March 2016 Director's Newsletter

January 2016 Director's Newsletter 

October 2015 Director's Newsletter


Read all about ECA's April 2016 Student Exchange to our sister schools in Shanghai and Beijing!

ECA Global 2016 Student Exchange to China

View the Photo Gallery of ECA's April 2016 Student Exchange to China by clicking below:

ECA Global 2016 Photo Gallery Student Exchange to China

A Great Opportunity: Amazon Smile

ECA and PACE are collaborating to combine efforts, elevating our fundraising to benefit our students further.

Every resource adds to our learning programs, which will now be possible with Amazon Smile. It's just like shopping at Amazon.

  1. Click on, http://smile.amazon.com/ch/30-0804769
  2. Sign in with your username and password
  3. Select Parents for Arts Centered Education as your favorite charity
  4. Change your bookmark to Amazon Smile, and 0.5% of your purchase will go to ECA!!!

International Host Family Program

  • If you are interested in learning more about ECA's international host family program, please email jhiruo@aces.org. ECA is investigating the potential for a semester long exchange program with our sister schools in Shanghai, Kyoto, and Sydney. Participating host families would receive a monthly stipend of $850.