What’s the debate? That was the continual refrain at this week’s Hartford Board of Education meeting. The packed house at the Journalism and Media Magnet school had turned out for the vote to renew the district’s $650,000 contract with Teach for America (TFA). Teach for America has been operating with the Hartford Public Schools since the 2007-2008 school year.
TFA, which took in over $319 million in revenue last year, mobilized nearly its entire first- and second-year teaching staff for the meeting. Connecticut TFA, alongside the Office of Talent Management, gushed over the organization’s superior support network during the two year stint required of TFA members. In fact, in the first two years of a Hartford teacher’s career, TFA was on track to match or even beat “traditional” teachers remaining after two years in the district. What happened to TFA teachers after those initial two years was not discussed. With good reason, it turns out.
Currently, there are 3 remaining teachers from that original cohort of 22 TFA hires from 2007-2008. There are now 3 TFA teachers remaining from the 2008-2009 school year; that school year there were 39 TFA teachers hired by Hartford Public Schools. For the 2009-2010 school year, Hartford Public Schools hired 31 TFA teachers, and now there are 4 remaining from that cohort. Then in the 2010-2011 school year, 23 more TFA teachers were hired; there are 4 remaining. Continue reading 'Let the Debate Begin, There is No Debate'»
The Hartford Board of Education will be voting on whether or not to continue its contract with Teach for America, originally signed in 2011.
Approval would mean a three-year contract, costing Hartford a total of $650,940, with budgeted amounts increasing in each of the three years. The first year would budget for up to 60 TFA members, 70 in the second, and 80 in the third.
Teach for America sends its members into urban and rural schools with five weeks of training. The attrition rate of TFA staff is astounding. According to a policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center, over 50% of TFA teachers leave after two years and 80% leave after three years. Continue reading 'BOE to Consider Teach for America Contract Continuation'»
UPDATE: Canceled due to weather
Weather permitting, there will be a workshop-style meeting on February 19th for parents to discuss what’s working well and not so much in the Hartford school system.
All are welcome to participate in these conversations that are to touch on the Lighthouse Model, SAND and Capital Prep Magnet School, the Board of Education’s relationship with parents, and more.
This is scheduled from 6:30-7:30pm in the Hartford Public Library.
Actor-director Griffin Dunne with actor John Leguizamo
Griffin Dunne and John Leguizamo drove up to Hartford during Saturday’s snowfall for an evening conversation to benefit the Burns Latino Studies Academy. Continue reading 'Burns Hot Fundraiser Brings Actors to Frog Hollow'»
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Councilperson Larry Deutsch filed a complaint with the City of Hartford Ethics Commission tonight regarding Steve Perry’s alleged policy violations. Perry is the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School (Capital Prep).
Deutsch presented the commission with a packet of materials showing how Perry has allegedly been “running a private business using school resources,” “violating Hartford policies on use of computers, networks, and social media during school hours,” using social media in a way “that interferes with the work of the school district, creates a hostile work environment, harms the goodwill and reputation of the school distract, or violates the law, Board policy, and/or school rules,” conducting “non-work activities during work time,” and failing “to properly use vacation time, sick days and personal days.” The packet contains examples of Perry’s alleged use of Twitter during school hours, along with the information that Capital Prep’s address is listed with the IRS as the address of one of Perry’s private corporations.
With the complaint filed, there will be paperwork and an evidence gathering process. All applicable parties will be contacted. With the formal complaint on record, the Ethics Commission can go into executive session, potentially barring the public from portions of the process deemed confidential. Continue reading 'Complaint Filed Against Capital Prep Principal'»
Although Tuesday night’s Hartford Board of Education special meeting had only two agenda items for public comment, you would have never known it from the hundreds of people, especially Weaver students, who packed into the Fred D. Wish Elementary School gymnasium. It was a sea of forest green hoodies. Proudly emblazed on the hoodies was the rallying cry of the night: “Weaver Strong.” In addition, Weaver students greeted every attendee with a handout celebrating the school’s achievements. Thundering drum beats in the school’s lobby foretold of a battle. Handheld placards proclaiming “Weaver Forever” were placed on every seat. Ironically, the presumed fight over the future of Weaver High School was the least contentious event of the night.
The massive turnout of Weaver students, parents, alumni, and staff was the dissatisfaction with the Board’s communication with the school’s community. The show of force was to ensure the survival of Weaver, including its traditions, history, and legacy. The issue at hand was the future move of Weaver Culinary Academy to a temporary location at the Lincoln Culinary Institute on Sigourney St. Weaver High School is slated for a $100 million rehabilitation and the entire school must be relocated to Lincoln while construction occurs.
Rumors had been swirling over the future of Weaver, but the real issue, as the school’s principal Tim Goodwin explained, was the glacial pace of the project and the numerous unanswered questions over the school’s future. The leadership of the Blue Hills Civic Association also peppered the board with questions over the developer of the Weaver site and lack of communication with the neighborhood. Continue reading 'Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns: Hartford BOE Edition'»
Those not immersed in the field of education might believe the recent attention to Common Core and teacher evaluations came out of nowhere. With the exception of items that are unavoidable, such as the nonrenewal of the superintendent’s contract, local news reporting has trended glossy on education, biased toward the status quo which goes by the name “education reform.”
Last month, the Hartford Courant and Hartford Public Schools announced the plan to partner, specifically with the Journalism Academy. The details on this, along with potential price tag, are still being hashed out.
Already, HPS has contracts with Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.
With such partnerships, there are a few clear winners. Continue reading 'When the Media Teams Up with Public Schools'»