Category: politics/government

Dr. Schiavino-Narvaez Selected as New Superintendent

By , April 21, 2014 11:42 pm

Once the contract negotiation process is completed, Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez will be “reintroduced” to the public, according to a message from the Mayor’s Office. This is expected to happen in early July.

To learn about the Board of Education’s selection, see Real Hartford‘s coverage of last week’s candidate forum.

Superintendent Search: Substance or Style?

By , April 17, 2014 4:18 pm

Dr. Ronald Taylor

Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez

Do you want substance or style?

That is the question when it comes to Hartford’s finalists for superintendent.

On one hand, you have a candidate who saunters into the audience, does call and response, and cracks jokes. He compliments the nature of each question, goes on tangents, and often never responds to what was asked.  Afterwards, an audience member will describe him as “Steve Perry-esque,” not exactly a compliment.

On the other, you have a candidate whose job interview jitters seep through on occasion, but who seems genuine and approachable. Sometimes she uses the language of the administration rather than that which might be more accessible for all parents, but she described herself first and foremost as a parent whose child has special needs. Continue reading 'Superintendent Search: Substance or Style?'»

How to Make Schools More Integrated

comments Comments Off
By , April 15, 2014 7:30 am

The “Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs” report released last week suggests ways that “open choice” schools in Connecticut should work to reduce segregation across racial, linguistic, and ability lines. The report finds that most school choice programs are actually integrated as far as socioeconomic status is concerned, with integration defined quite broadly: enrollment between 25-75% minority students. Continue reading 'How to Make Schools More Integrated'»

BOE to Vote on Edu-colonialism at Clark School

By , April 7, 2014 4:03 pm

“It’s really no choice at all,” says Robert Cotto, who plans to vote against the “Resolution Requesting Commissioner’s Exercise of Statutory Authority Relative to John C. Clark Turnaround Committee,” an item on the Hartford Board of Education’s special meeting agenda for April 8, 2014.

The false choice, Cotto is referring to, is that which was presented to the Clark Turnaround Committee: parents and teachers requested to see more than only the Friendship School after which they might model Clark as it undergoes its re-branding; this did not happen.

In March, Morgan Barth of the Connecticut State Department of Education vehemently denied that it had issued an ultimatum to the committee, but if consensus was not reached on the vote for a school model, the CSDE would be stepping in to assert its authority over teachers, parents, and other community members. Barth and other CSDE representatives have said at various times that they favored the Friendship Model. As voting members, they have been able to block consensus all along.

On March 27, there was one vote against the Friendship School as the lead partner with the Clark School. Although the Hartford Public School’s resolution states “there is significant support within the Clark community expressed by parents and other stakeholders to partner with Friendship,” some of the “yes” votes have been attributed to the absence of choices given to the Clark Turnaround Committee. Continue reading 'BOE to Vote on Edu-colonialism at Clark School'»

Marketing “Downtown North”

By , April 3, 2014 5:30 am

After a series of frustrating public meetings culminating with one during which designers filibustered as dozens of (mostly) young Heaven supporters waited all evening to speak, we are now seeing a first draft of MECA’s (Marketing, Events & Cultural Affairs for the City of Hartford) Downtown North marketing brochure. This will include additional materials tailored to whichever developer might be requesting such information.  Continue reading 'Marketing “Downtown North”'»

April 2014 Events

comments Comments Off
By , March 26, 2014 11:25 pm

This is a kinda a big deal

April 1

  • The Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Hartford offers free classes and workshops. Today’s is “Small Business T.I.P.S. Series: Low Cost High Impact Marketing.” From 9:30 until noon, learn about marketing in Butterworth Hall, 1265 Asylum Avenue. They request that you register.
  • Real Art Ways hosts a monthly Real Board (Games) and that happens to be tonight. Stop in between 6-10pm and play. Free. 

April 2

  • This month’s Get HYPEd networking event will be held at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue. We like that HYPE picks a different venue each month, and we love that this is the venue tonight! Besides the standard drink-and-network stuff, they will be holding a community collection for the Hands On Hartford backpack program, which gives 285 Hartford students bags full of food to take home for the weekend so that they are fed when not in school. Items requested: individual cereal boxes and oatmeal packets, granola/cereal bars, macaroni and cheese, canned soup, juice boxes (100% juice), applesauce, canned veggies, canned beans, pasta sauce, pasta, peanut butter, and jelly. The food donations are optional. This event is free to attend and goes from 5:30-8:30pm.
  • Stop into the Firebox (539 Broad) to listen to the uptempo sounds of Ed Fast & Conga Bop. No cover charge. 8:30pm.

April 3

  • Get out from under that rock! Trinity College is going into its ninth year of hosting its international hip-hop festival, and if you don’t know, you’re not paying attention! It starts today with lectures on “Media Representations of Global Hip Hop,” “Hip Hop as a Social Movement,” and “Hip Hop Activism pre- and post-Apartheid,”  from 8am-4:30pm. At 4pm, there’s a screening of the film Say My Name: Women. Hip Hop. Life. The Producer’s Showcase starts in the Vernon Social Hall at 7pm. The Mill will be hosting a spoken word event, beginning at 8:30pm. These events are completely free and open to the general public. 
  • First Thursday After Hours at the Wadsworth: TANGO! Take dance lessons or just watch others. Make paper flowers. Wander the museum. Stick around for the film Elsa & Fred. The AAH event is 5-8pm, with the film at 8. $5 general admission, free for members. Continue reading 'April 2014 Events'»

Hartford Promises

comments Comments Off
By , March 20, 2014 2:47 pm

In recent months, the entire Weaver High School community has been mobilized by the Hartford Board of Education’s poor communication about the school’s temporary move to the Lincoln Institute and the plan to eventually rehabilitate and rebuild the north end school. Tuesday night’s Board meeting once again found students, teachers, and Weaver families demanding action and answers from the Board. There were few to be found, but much talk of “due diligence.” The uncertainty and anxiety among the Weaver community was palpable, as too was the growing mistrust of the Board and its hollow words. Speakers, including Principal Tim Goodwin, admonished Mayor Segarra, who was not in attendance, for suggesting that Weaver’s low enrollment could affect the school’s reconstruction. Goodwin demanded that enrollment issues be taken off the table and not be a part of the discussion. He cited the school’s continued improvement according to multiple metrics, including decreased disciplinary referrals. Through the years, Weaver High has been especially hampered by the breaking up of Hartford’s traditional high schools and the “school choice” reform scheme. Lastly, it was clear Tuesday night that Michele Rhee’s privatization front group StudentsFirst had attempted to glom onto Weaver’s struggle, going so far as to blindly hand out as many of their unrelated t-shirts as possible to students.

Since the Board’s failed attempt to hand the Clark School to the Achievement 1st charter school corporation two months ago, Clark was entered in to the Commissioner’s Network of schools in need of “turnaround.” A “turnaround committee” of parents, teachers, and the State Department of Education has been meeting to develop a plan for Clark. Parallel to this, HART was contracted by the Board to garner support among the community for another charter takeover of the school. This time a charter school corporation called Friendship Charter School of Maryland has been identified as the favorite by the Commissioner of Education. As has been reported in Real Hartford, the Clark community is unwilling to be bullied, bought off, or threatened into this deal. During Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto blamed outside interests for the problems with the committee. In her report on Clark, she warned of parents being “lobbied heavily by organizations placing pressures on parents on matters beyond the immediate and urgent needs of Clark School students.” She chided these mysterious groups and mentioned that parents were complaining to her personally about the “pressure.” Continue reading 'Hartford Promises'»

Clark Told “Friendship is on Hold”, Okay to See Others

Photo is courtesy of  Andy Hart

The Clark Turnaround Committee was informed Tuesday that more site visits would be possible, and that the Friendship School model (use of the word “model” has been debated) is not the one that must be picked. As of Friday, parents, teachers, and community members were fighting for the ability to do just that, as a press conference was held to shine light on the need for more time, better communication with the State Department of Education and Hartford Board of Education staffers, and self-determination.

Tentative meeting dates, including those for school site visits, were discussed at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon at the Clark School. According to the agenda, school site visits in New Haven and New York City are possibilities at the end of March and early April.

After SDE representative Andrew Ferguson reprimanded the parents, teachers, and community members on the committee, saying “there has to be urgency from everyone at this table,” teacher Kimberly Daly responded, “to be honest [...] we were not given the models to look at.” Daly, referring to her notes, said that at the February 19th meeting, she asked that an appointment be made for the Turnaround Committee to visit an Expeditionary Learning model school — Hartford schools Moylan and McDonough already use this model, and the Sánchez school will be fully using it in 2014-2015 — yet, she said, no appointment has been scheduled. Continue reading 'Clark Told “Friendship is on Hold”, Okay to See Others'»

A New COO, Finally

comments Comments Off
By , March 19, 2014 1:11 pm

Pending approval by the City Council, Hartford will finally have a new Chief Operating Officer.

Darrell Hill, who has served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Norfolk, Virginia, is the selection according to a message from the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Segarra says that Hill is “uniquely qualified because of his strong background in public finance, economic development/redevelopment and his knowledge of the specific challenges that come with managing an urban area.” Segarra called Hill “a straight shooter.”

David Panagore had previously served as Chief Operating Officer, resigning in September 2012. The City Council has this appointment as an agenda item for its March 24th meeting.

DOT Committed in Court to Building Bridge for Pedestrians and Cyclists

By , March 18, 2014 9:22 am

Glossing over the matter of safety and likening the plaintiff’s issue with the Flower Street closure to one of “inconvenience,” the Superior Court in Hartford ruled to dismiss the lawsuit against James Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Christopher Brown had sought a writ of mandamus– a resolution that would require the CT DOT reopen Flower Street for cyclists and pedestrians as DOT’s hearing officer Judith Almeida had ruled previously. With the dismissal, the DOT is permitted to leave a city street permanently closed to all forms of traffic.

Attorney Ken Krayeske said the outcome was not unexpected. “We knew going in that a mandamus presents a unique challenge: how do you prove a plaintiff has a legal right to something?,” he said.

“We understood the uphill odds, but we filed because the Connecticut Department of Transportation relegates cyclists and pedestrians to second class citizenship,” Krayeske said.

View from the “mitigation path” that goes between Broad Street and Flower Street. The broken fence between the Interstate and path adds confidence for those expecting a safe route, free of wayward vehicles.

The DOT, now backed by the court, has said that an east-west path sufficiently mitigates the closure of a north-south route. The bike lanes on Broad Street have been accepted by them and the court as another solution to the closure. The new lanes and bike boxes on Broad Street were painted in November; the paint is already nearly completely eroded in places and few cyclists use it. According to dozens of cyclists, this stretch of Broad Street is not significantly safer since the installment of these lanes. In the last month, huge potholes in the Broad Street and Capitol Avenue intersection have not made things easier for those on two wheels. Although not directly part of the Flower Street situation, a nearby stretch of the East Coast Greenway which has been identified as the responsibility of the State had gone neglected for weeks while a large sheet of ice made walking and cycling a challenge. Continue reading 'DOT Committed in Court to Building Bridge for Pedestrians and Cyclists'»

Panorama theme by Themocracy