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'»
For its preschool-through-eighth grade, the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts has a permanent location on Van Block Avenue, in the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. It has expanded to create a high school, currently located temporarily on Locust Street, one mile away in the South Meadows, a predominately industrial area of Hartford.
The Hartford Board of Education had planned to vote Monday evening on a permanent site for this high school but the vote on this and approval of a lease agreement for the Weaver Culinary Arts Academy with Lincoln Culinary Institute were tabled until the meeting next week. City Council already approved $33 million for construction of a new Kinsella high school facility.
The Superintendent’s suggestion that the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts High School be built on City-owned property adjacent to SAND Elementary School (America’s Choice at SAND) on Main Street did not go over well. Continue reading 'Superintendent’s Pick for Kinsella Site Opposed'»
The John C. Clark, Jr. School was accepted into the Commissioner’s Network, a decision that places it alongside the Jumoke Honors Academy at Milner, née Core Knowledge Academy at Milner, née Thirman L. Milner School, née Vine Street School. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting — a rescheduling of what should have taken place last Tuesday — it was also announced that Mille Soto and Lakeisha McFarland, both vocal members of the Clark School’s PTO and SGC, would be on the Conditional Turnaround School Committee.
America’s Choice at SAND School, née SAND Elementary School, was rejected by the Commissioner’s Office. It was said that there would be aggressive application on behalf of SAND for a “School Improvement Grant.” SAND, like Milner, had been previously redesigned. Continue reading 'Commissioner’s Network Takes One More'»
Now that we have completed our three trips to each neighborhood, we wanted to share our absolute favorite pictures from this series.
(Blue Hills) This one was taken at the Watkinson Community Garden on Bloomfield Avenue, behind the Unitarian meetinghouse. This is more like a farm than a community garden. We have no idea why this wheelbarrow was perched in a tree; on other trips here, all equipment was stored in places one would expect it to be. The weather was changing from “vaguely Autumn” to “there’s frost”.
(Clay Arsenal) A friend tipped us off to some artwork in an area we were about to visit, but did not give an exact location. We do not even know if this was where he found the painting of a peacock. What we found — portraits — were more interesting than the simple scribbles that are common.
Continue reading 'Best of Your Neighborhoods'»
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'»