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:

April 2017

Dear ECA Families,
  • ECA is on Spring Break April 10-14. If your sending school is on Spring Break the following week, ECA cannot penalize for a school-related absence. However, we ask that you keep your teachers updated if you will be absent when we return to school.
  • This year, (Parents for Arts Centered Education) PACE will hold its dinner and fundraising event on Saturday, May 20th at Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven! At a time when ECA needs support, we hope to see you there for a great time and for celebration of our students and programming. Please click on the link for more information. 
  • We are still looking for two (2) ECA Host Families interested in providing a homestay for our international students from The Shanghai Theatre Academy. Our four male students that have been accepted are exceptional and genuine individuals. We are confident that they will fit perfectly into our school community as they are highly proficient in both the English language and creativity. We are looking for two families interested in experiencing the Chinese culture and accepting one (1) student into their home. The four students will participate in a rigorous morning academic program at ECA, followed by their arts program in the afternoon. Fridays will consist of PE/Health, cultural field trips, and independent project-based learning. Please feel free to contact Jason, jhiruo@aces.org with any questions.
  • The ECA 2017 Graduation is planned for Monday June 12 at 1:00PM in the Arts Hall. Seats are limited to family members. We ask that attendees requiring handicap accessibility arrive 30 minutes earlier so we may best support the needs of everyone.
  • ECA students will embark on the school's second Study Tour to China on Friday, early tomorrow morning. This experience will connect students to our sister schools, expose them to necessary elements of cultural competency, traditional arts and language, and build friendships that may last for the rest of their lives. Information on the 2018 Study Tour will be distributed to families in May. If you have any questions, please contact us.     
  • We continue to collect information from families that would be interested in The ECA Summer Institute.  We are developing an annual program that will allow students each summer to participate in a series of department-based workshops that mirror ECA programming during the school year. If you would be interested in these opportunities, please send an email to jhiruo@aces.org.
  • Your feedback directly supports ECA:  If you have not completed the ECA Family Survey, please take a few minutes to complete this. We appreciate your help and time! This information helps us to advocate and improve as we continue to grow our school. 
Warm Regards,
Jason Hiruo
Director, Educational Center for the Arts 

March 2017

Dear ECA Community:
I would like to extend a sincere thanks to our families, students, and staff who participated in the legislative breakfast on February 22nd and sent their letters into their legislators’ offices. This has served as a tremendous insight for our state representatives and allowed us to see the breadth of impact ECA has had on families.
A special thank you to Music Student Margaux Lux and Alumni Parent Chris Barlow who testified at the state capitol last week. It was a full house and their words were well-received, and documented.
However, we are not done yet! We must continue to push and inform our state representatives, to personalize our stories for them, and to draw recognition to the success of our students. Magnet Schools still confront significant challenge for the future – not just this year or next.
We are in the process of developing long-term sustainable revenue that does three things:
  1. Maintain the integrity of our programming and staffing.
  2. Expand ECA beyond the region (Globalizing ECA) to promote our worth and value in arts and innovation.
  3. Make ECA more dynamic to families while strengthening our ability to operate successfully without budget restrictions or impending state regulations that will impact financing for magnet schools.
Currently we are doing this through:
  1. Morning Program with Highville Charter School that provides attending students with arts instruction toward their required course credits. This program is in its infancy and will develop as a fundamental example for morning projects at ECA that can support the New Haven community and generate beneficial pay for instructors. 
  2. International Enrollment with our sister school exchange partners (The International Academy at ECA) - In its infancy as well, students from our sister schools will enroll beginning in September 2017 to attend an academic morning program at ECA, followed by an art experience in the afternoon. We have accepted three students thus far and need your help to locate host families in the nearby New Haven area to best support their learning and cultural experiences. For further information and ECA’s Host Family Handbook, please contact jhiruo@aces.org.
  3. The ECA Summer Institute will provide learning opportunities to ECA students, CT students, and international sister school students at ECA for enrichment and advancement in the arts. Students will have the opportunity to connect to ECA instructors and further their interests and passions while developing cultural awareness and connections with students from around the world. The Summer Institute is developing its programming now, and we are interested to hear from families if you are interested! This summer program will also serve as a recruitment and promotional tool besides providing summer enrichment and fun learning for students. The program will begin in the morning with course work offered by our instructors and include lunch. The international students will pursue cultural and linguistic enrichment in the afternoons, which ECA students can also register for.
  4. ECA-TED Talks KIDS Partnership will allow ECA students to participate in a leadership forum that requires their mentorship, modeled behavior and guidance to their younger peers. ECA is currently working with TED KIDS to develop this on an international level that will bring students together on a global scale here at ECA, and potentially bring our students overseas. This is the first program of its kind and ECA is at the head of this concept. The ECA-TED TALKS KIDS partnership is in discussion now, and we are interested to hear from families if you are interested!
An important school-wide survey will be distributed very soon to families that requires your attention. This survey gathers information and feedback on how we are doing as a school and where we need to grow. This is a Parent/Guardian and Student Survey that we respectfully ask for your participation with.
On behalf of the ECA staff, we thank you for your time and consideration as you complete the survey.
Thank you for your committed support and enthusiasm for ECA.
Warm Regards,
If you are still interested in writing to your state representatives in support of ECA, I offer the following effective strategies for crafting your letters.  Below, please find a sample letter also. 
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

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.