Hartford Holds Back-to-School Celebration at Dunkin' Donuts Park

It's almost that time again! Students are getting ready to head back to school. In Hartford, the district held a back-to-school celebration at Dunkin' Donuts Park to get families what they need so every student is prepared for the first day.

At the event on Monday, families could get answers to questions they had about the upcoming school year. There were also free school supplies for students including pencils, books, and backpacks. Students also got free haircuts and played games.

A lot of the focus for district officials was on absenteeism. Attendance is something Hartford Public Schools says plays a key role in success.

"We know that when a student is not in school, he or she or they cannot access the learning, which is why it's so important that we tend to our absenteeism," said Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.

"We want you to be in the seat, get in that seat on the first day of school," said Nuchette Black-Burke, Chief of Family and Community Partnerships. "We understand that there might be situations and barriers for families on the first day. That's why we do things like this. You can get a backpack, find out information for uniforms, we had raffles for uniform vouchers."

Black-Burke said if students don't have a uniform or the right shirt to still come and school officials will help.

Officials say more than 1,000 families showed up at the event on Monday and that they ran out of backpacks to give to students, but those who attended the event got a voucher to grab one later.

"For those who came today and were unable to get a backpack, if you are a Hartford Public School student, you can receive a voucher and meet us down at the welcome center: 960 Main Street, the first floor. And you'll be able to receive that backpack. We ask that you come Thursday, this Thursday, August 22 so you have it in time for school," said Black-Burke.

Dozens of community partners took part in the event and said the best part was seeing excited students ready for school.

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