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Hard Work, Dedication Earn Students Personal Computers

Submitted by: The Hartford

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Jun 14, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


New Program from The Hartford Aimed at Improving CAPT scores

HARTFORD, Jun. 14 /CSRwire/ - For 25 sophomores at Hartford Public High School, homework is about to get a bit easier. They will be able to do it on their own Pentium personal computers, complete with Windows 95, Star Office software and Internet capability.

At a ceremony this afternoon at the school, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. presented the 10th graders with the computers in conjunction with its "CAPTure a PC Program," a new initiative piloted this spring to help students better their performance on the annual Connecticut Academic Performance Test, or CAPT. Students who completed a seven-week CAPT review course and received 16 hours of computer training were eligible for the free computers.

The Hartford plans to expand the program next year, making it available to the entire sophomore class at Hartford Public High and has lined up additional corporate support to supply the personal computers. The school system also plans to duplicate the program next spring at Bulkeley and Weaver High schools.

"We're delighted to give personal computers to these students as a reward for their fortitude and hard work," said Sheldon Lawrence, The Hartford's vice president of organizational capability. "The CAPT test is a crucial indicator of how well city high school sophomores are doing, so it's important that they adequately prepare themselves and do their best."

Each spring, the CAPT is given to 10th graders throughout the state of Connecticut as a way to assess the students' ability to meet a number of statewide educational standards in such areas as reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Students who meet or exceed goal levels receive a certification of mastery that is included in their transcripts and school records.

The Hartford's Lawrence noted that the "CAPTure a PC Program" is aligned with oft-stated goal of Superintendent Anthony J. Amato to install a personal computer in every student's home in the city of Hartford.

"The ability to use computers is a paramount skill today, and Hartford students need to have ongoing access to technology if they are going to be prepared for college and the workplace," Lawrence said. "Providing computers through this program is part of The Hartford's commitment to improve educational opportunities for city students."

To receive a free computer, the students needed to be well versed in its operation and be able to troubleshoot problems. They were required to complete a 16-hour course offered through Hartford Public's Technologies Academy and demonstrate proficiency in the hardware, software programs and Internet usage.

"This is a wonderful program that shows the vested interest The Hartford has in city students," said Joseph Wall, principal at Hartford Public. "Our students will be well prepared for the 21st century."

In early 1998, The Hartford launched an ambitious partnership with Hartford Public High School designed to open more educational doors, particularly in the areas of computer science, technology, and mathematics. Since then, The Hartford has committed more than $800,000 in goods and services, much of it focused on the school’s Technologies Academy, where students learn disciplines in manufacturing, industrial technology and architectural sciences. The Hartford’s gifts include more than 200 computers, software, and Internet access, as well tutoring and mentoring programs and computer training for faculty and staff. Most recently, The Hartford created The Isaac B. Grainger Career Center, a state-of-the-art new facility that utilizes the latest technology and resources to help young people make informed decisions about careers and post-secondary education. The Hartford also sponsors The Alliance for Academic Achievement - The Hartford Straight A Program which provides full, four-year scholarships, summer employment and mentoring programs for approximately 15 city students each year who attend Trinity College, Howard University or the University of Connecticut.

The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is one of the nation's largest insurance and financial services companies, with 1999 revenues of $13.5 billion. As of March 31, 2000, The Hartford had assets of $172.4 billion and shareholders’ equity of $5.7 billion. The company is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and employee benefits; automobile and homeowners products; commercial property and casualty insurance; and reinsurance.

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