When the Helene Grant School comes down early next year and is then rebuilt to new specifications, it will be named for a man who spent more than 20 years in the district.
“It's Dr. Mayo that has taken this district to where it is right now,” said Garth Harries, Superintendent of Schools for New Haven.
The school, which will serve 3- and 4-year-old students, will be called the Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Childhood Center. Officials broke ground on the new school Wednesday. It will be completed in December of 2015.
“I want people to pass this building and really just think about early childhood, because that certainly has been a passion of mine,” said Dr. Mayo, who served as New Haven’s School Superintendent for two decades.
His passion has shaped the New Haven school district.
“Today because of Doc's efforts, we are the largest, not the second largest or the third largest, but the largest provider of pre-kindergarten services in the state of Connecticut,” said Mayor John DeStefano.
The district is also now one of the finalists for this year's Race to the Top competition, which would award New Haven anywhere from $4 to 30 million over the next four years. A big part of being a finalist is the school change Dr. Mayo helped to implement four years ago.
“Reflecting on some of what Dr. Mayo said today, we put students at the center of this, so it's a grant that really tries to figure out how can we inspire students in their middle school years, help them transition to high school, make sure the learning is really tailored to them because as Doc said today, they're our inspiration, they're the ones we can learn from,” said Harries.
The grant winners will be announced by the end of December.