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Browse our workshop offerings below and schedule time to meet with our Community Engagement team and discuss what you’re interested in and what works for you and your schedule!

Mechanics of School Finance: The Flow of Funds

This workshop series is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of how money flows through the state, local, and federal governments in order to fund Connecticut’s school districts. This is ideal for those who want a more detailed understanding of the budget process. The total anticipated time for this entire series is 4 hours.

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School Finance 101: Understanding the State Education Budget

Recommended time: 1.5 hours

This workshop introduces participants to how the State contributes to education across school districts. We will begin by looking at “The State of the State,” and will continue by focusing on state education funding for the community we are working with, comparing funding for peer communities, examining funding for different school types, and taking a look at demographic trends.

School Finance 102: Understanding the Local Education Budget

Recommended time: 1 hour

This workshop is designed to prepare you for budget season, focusing on your community. It is meant to help community members better understand what “the budget” is, where to find it, and how to ask questions related to the budget. We will recap the flow of state education dollars, discuss the quantitative factors for local education budgets, and find local education budget documents. We will also review aspects of the local education budget documents we find online in order to empower participants to become more active in local budget discussions with confidence.

School Finance 103: Understanding COVID Relief Dollars to Education

Recommended time: 0.5 hour

Targeted federal dollars are being utilized by school districts across our state as a result of three significant COVID relief and stimulus packages. How much did your district get and what are they spending it on? This workshop will walk participants through the three major aid packages and distribution methodology, and educate participants on the tools and resources available to understand their school district’s spending choices.

School Finance 104: Special Education Funding in Connecticut

Recommended time: 1 hour

In this workshop, we will explore federal law, as well as the state and local funding of special education. We will take a look at demographics and trends in order to better understand the obligations of a school district and how special education is funded. Previous workshop attendance is necessary in order to benefit from this session.

Keys to Success: How to Talk About the Things You Care About

This workshop series is designed to equip its participants with the tools necessary to be civically engaged and active in their communities. We will go over specific communication strategies, how to build effective relationships with other community members and government officials, and work to get participants comfortable when engaging with their communities. This series is interactive and the total anticipated time for this series is 4-5.5 hours.

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Building Your Personal Narrative

Recommended time: 1.5 hours

What is your story? What got you to the place of caring so much about something that you want to take action? We will utilize Marshall Ganz’s three aspects of storytelling (Story of Me, Story of Us, and Story of Now) to get participants comfortable telling their own personal stories in the most effective way. This is an interactive workshop and relies on the participation of those who attend.

Writing Your Story and Connecting Your Cause

Recommended time: 1 hour

What does an effective email or letter look like? What needs to be included and what should be excluded? Do you make your letters personal or are you a “just the facts” kind of person? In order to communicate effectively and ask decision-makers to support a particular point of view, you need to strike a balance of both. We will go over effective strategies to achieve this balance and review sample emails and letters. This workshop is interactive – please plan on sharing your passion and your story.

Public Speaking: Talking About the Things You Care About

Recommended time: 1-1.5 hours

Getting up in front of people and speaking, whether in person or through virtual platforms like Zoom, can be intimidating, especially when you’re trying to express your perspective on an issue in front of strangers. In this workshop, we will help you develop the skills to create a three-minute testimony to showcase your passion, knowledge, and determination in an effective way, no matter the platform you may need to use. This workshop is interactive and relies on the participation of those in attendance, so be prepared to share your passion and story!

Building Relationships

Recommended time: 1-1.5 hours

Does a legislative aide matter? Can you ask to speak with or meet with a local board of education member? How do you build relationships, and who do you build them with? Building relationships with other community members and elected officials is key to catalyzing change. This workshop is intended to get participants comfortable building relationships with decision-makers in the realm of school finance, on both a state and local level. We will talk about roles (not specific individuals), the function of different positions, strategies to reach out and connect to those in these positions, and how to maintain these relationships over time.

The Path of Progress

This two-part series focuses on the past, present, and future of Connecticut’s education system. In this series, we will elaborate on the history of education in the state that has gotten us to the present, and focus on equipping participants with the tools needed to shape the future of education in Connecticut. This series, which will take approximately 2 hours, is designed for those who are less interested in the nuances of school finance specifically, and would rather approach education reform from a holistic perspective.

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History of Education in Connecticut

Recommended time: 1 hour

This workshop explores the path to where we are currently, using a timeline anchored in the history of education in Connecticut. We will trace back the origins of our current education funding system, examine the impact of redlining and housing segregation on our current education system, and explore different curricular changes that have happened throughout the state’s history and their impacts on students, families, and communities.

The Civics of Education

Recommended time: 1 hour

How do you add your voice to the education conversation in your community and in the state? In this workshop we will examine the nature of education beyond the walls of a classroom. We will explore all of the roles and stakeholders that intersect with the education decision-making processes; whether it’s related to curriculum, budget, classroom environment, or even something as simple as menu offerings during lunch. This workshop will equip participants with the tools needed to effectively communicate with these stakeholders in order to enact change.

Individual Workshops

The following are single, shortened workshops targeted toward those who do not have time for a full series but are still interested in the information. It is important to note that since these workshops are condensed, the depth of information will vary greatly from a longer workshop series, however, the important content and tools will still be conveyed.

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The Complexities of Municipal Finance

Recommended time: 1 hour

Wondering what the state of the State is? Curious as to how money flows into your community? In this workshop, we will explore the types of revenue that municipalities receive and budget for as well as the process and timeline for municipal budgeting. Finally, we will equip you to participate in the budget process in your community year-round.

What is Policy?

Recommended time: 1 hour

Have you ever heard someone state “that is the policy?” Did you ever wonder who makes the policy, or how you can go about changing policy? In this workshop we will talk through the answers to those questions, build comfort and familiarity with “policy” at a state and local level, and walk through some examples of policymaking and policy change. Participants will leave this workshop with a working knowledge of how community members interact with policy and affect policy change.

Condensed: School Finance

Recommended time: 1 hour

This workshop blends elements from all workshops in the Mechanics of School Finance series, but devotes most of the time to understanding the flow of funding from the State, while including some information about local education funding, and generalized information about special education funding. It is designed for those who want to learn but have significant time constraints.

Condensed: Public Speaking

Recommended time: 1 hour

This workshop is designed to be a quick refresher for those who have taken part in some or all of the Keys to Success series. We will recap your personal narrative and practice issue-oriented public speaking. This is an interactive workshop.

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