MERIDEN — Thomas Edison Magnet Middle School was lauded by education and elected officials Friday for being among 142 schools in the U.S. named a National Magnet School of Distinction.
The award came from Magnet Schools of America, a national association. The North Broad Street school is operated by Area Cooperative Education Services or ACES.
“All magnet schools share the same philosophy of executing innovative programs with a dedication to diversity and unwavering commitment to academic standards,” said Principal Karen Habegger. “This school award is a complete reward for what (staff and students) do everyday. We strive to make sure that this school of choice is one that respects diversity.”
Speakers at the event included state Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona and state Sen. Mary Abrams, D-Meriden, who also presented an essay award to student Lyric Lawrence.
Also attending were state Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, D-Meriden, state Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Fifth District and U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Connecticut.
Abrams presented a citation from Gov. Ned Lamont’s office. The school also received citations from the General Assembly, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Cardona, formerly a Meriden educator, praised students, teachers, administrators and staff, reminding them of their contribution to the community.
“It’s the day in and day out work you do everyday that we’re celebrating,” he said. “You get students thinking about careers in the STEM field early on. I can’t think of a school more deserving.”
School administrators put together a committee to work on the application process. The applications were scored by a panel of educators who judged the schools on their ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curriculums and create strong family and community partnerships.
The distinction comes at a time when the Meriden Board of Education is considering whether to extend its five-year contract with ACES to operate the school. The city, which owns the building, is studying running Edison as a way to address an expected enrollment bubble in its two other middle schools.
Although ACES hopes to extend its agreement to continue operating Edison, ACES officials told parents it will continue to operate a magnet school in a new location if necessary. Edison students come from Middletown, Waterbury, Naugatuck and other towns, but the largest concentration is from Meriden.
ACES Executive Director Thomas Danehy announced Friday, Edison has partnered with Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College on a summer STEM program.