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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'»
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Education
UPDATE 1/21: Due to the expectation of inclement weather, this event is being rescheduled.
Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education who has on more than one occasion given praise to South Korea’s education system, will be visiting the University High School of Science and Engineering on Mark Twain Drive.
He will be one of the participants in what is being called a student-centered town hall meeting on access to higher education. Also expected at Tuesday’s event: State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Mayor Segarra, and Hartford Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Kishimoto.
Some of this discussion will focus on recent release of the 2014 FAFSA. The federal student aid form has been redesigned to more accurately record a student’s family’s income. For those adults who are shacking up, there will be the option of filing as “unmarried and both parents living together.” The FAFSA is due February 15th and this event will have juniors and seniors from the high school in attendance.
The town hall event will be held in the school’s atrium at 1:30pm.
A scene from inside Milner at Jumoke Academy, the one Hartford school that is currently part of the Commissioner’s Network
Mayor Segarra and the Board of Education could intervene any time to stop outgoing Superintendent Kishimoto from pushing an agenda that the community has loudly spoken against. They could urge her to focus on addressing the actual concerns that School Governance Councils want addressed at their respective schools. Instead, residents continue to scratch their heads over how someone whose contract was not renewed could stay on for an entire school year and wield power after being slammed on her own performance review, which incidentally, was the only review the Board of Education officially conducted for her.
In November, parents said “No” to the proposal to toss SAND School to a newly formed private management company linked to Capital Prep Magnet School’s principal, Steve Perry. Just days before that, Clark School parents said “No” to the plan to hand the public school over to the Achievement First charter school chain.
Opponents of public schooling have framed this as a grand conspiracy led by unionists; while the teacher’s union has had involvement, it has been minimal, which is plain to anyone who has been paying attention. Parents have been leading the fight against disrupting their children’s educations by closing schools.
Now, Superintendent Kishimoto is pushing for Clark and SAND to become part of the Commissioner’s Network; Continue reading 'Lame Duck Superintendent Pushing Again to Hand Over Clark and SAND'»
Photo by Christopher Brown
“You have used the most powerful word in the English language,” Steve Harris, member of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee said, “and that word is ‘no.’”
“No” is what the parents, families, teachers, staff, and community have been saying to the proposal that the public John C. Clark School be phased out and replaced by Achievement First, a charter school.
Photo by Christopher Brown
After this proposal was sprung on the Clark School last month, parents have stood up to say they are not interested in having their children’s school closed.
Before the Board of Education workshop on Wednesday night, nineteen people lined up to speak against this proposal in the cafeteria of the former Milner School on Vine Street in the city’s North East neighborhood, blocks away from the school in jeopardy.
Imam Muhammad Ansari, the President of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the NAACP, said “this issue is a civil rights issue when the parents’ rights are being taken away.” Continue reading '“N” is for No: Community Speaks Against Closure of Clark School'»
From all accounts, nobody from the Clark School community is asking for this.
It’s not that the parents, children, and teachers are delusional. They know the school could be improved. They have even articulated the needs via a list created by its School Governance Council last spring:
- Additional SPO
- Two additional certified teachers Continue reading 'Clark School: Not Waiting for Superman'»
Superintendent Christina Kishimoto — whose employment in this capacity with the Hartford Public Schools is over at the end of this school year and who has had her request to no longer be evaluated by the Board of Education granted — has angered a number of parents at the Clark School in the city’s North East neighborhood with the proposal that this preK-8 school be phased out and replaced by an Achievement First charter school. Continue reading 'Achievement First Proposed for South Side Now Eyeing a North End Neighborhood School'»
For school year 2011-2012, Superintendent Kishimoto submitted her self-evaluation in July 2012. At the end of the following September, the Board of Education submitted its evaluation of her performance. There were grumblings of disagreement with her evaluation but the Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools vowed to take steps toward improving her communication with the school board.
It’s October, yet no evaluation of Kishimoto has been conducted for the 2012-2013 school year. After Real Hartford filed a Freedom of Information Act request Continue reading 'No Performance Evaluation? No Big Deal'»
As expected, the Board of Ed voted against Dr. Kishimoto’s contract extension request, 7-0.
One board member abstained and the other was absent.
Last week, Dr. Kishimoto sent a letter to Mayor Pedro Segarra and to Matt Poland, Chair of the Board of Education, requesting her contract with the Hartford Public Schools be extended through the end of school year 2015-2016.
Letter to the Mayor and BOE Chair
Kishimoto has asked that the Board of Education vote on this tonight. Sources say she has no votes in her favor. In 2012, she received low marks on her evaluation.