ACES director ‘astonished’ by financial support 

After being canceled in 2020 and being held virtually last year, the ACES Foundation Gala – its 18th – was held in-person March 24 at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven.

The gala “is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Timothy Howes, ACES deputy executive director. “It’s an evening where ACES employees, ACES business partners, ACES school districts, come together to support students with special needs and our magnet schools.”

Howes said he's amazed by the generosity he has seen. “There’s no doubt, on my drive home after each gala, I'm astonished every year how much it grows and grows,” he said. “We are very appreciative of the support that we receive from the ACES community.”

North Haven-based ACES – Area Cooperative Educational Services – was founded in 1969. According to its website, back then, ACES had a staff of two and a miniscule budget of $70,000.

Now, ACES school districts number 25, all of them in south central Connecticut.

"We meet the educational needs of our member districts by acting as both a Local Education Agency (LEA) and as a regional service agency," ACES states on its website.

"As a Local Education Agency, we operate schools designed to meet the specific needs of the region; currently special education and Interdistrict Magnet schools. As a regional service agency, we develop solutions to the most pressing needs of our member school districts. From school-based technical assistance to programs that advance the education workforce, we work hand in hand with state officials and local educators to improve the quality of teaching and learning."

More than 320 people attended the 2022 ACES Foundation Gala, and some $170,000 was raised. “This was our most successful event,” ACES Education Foundation Development Coordinator Janice Saunders said.

This year, gala funds will be used to create an outdoor playground area for special needs students at ACES Village School in North Haven.


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