In 2009, New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut launched an aggressive reform strategy – the School Change Initiative – outlining the following broad goals:
- Closing the gap between the performance of New Haven students and the rest of the state within five years;
- Cutting the dropout rate in half;
- Ensuring that every graduating student has the academic ability and the financial resources to attend and succeed in college.
In the time since, NHPS has developed more specific strategies in three primary areas of focus:
- Portfolio of schools: NHPS defines three tiers of schools based on multi-faceted measures, including absolute levels of student achievement, annual levels of student growth and progress, and school learning climate (assessed by annually surveying parents, teachers, staff, and students). Schools are given flexibility to create their own transformation plans, with more external intervention required of lower-performing schools. While assessing individual schools, NHPS is also gathering input from principals on the effectiveness of central-office services, to ensure the best possible support to schools.
- Talent: NHPS is improving methods for recruiting, evaluating, and developing its teachers and administrators. The new system includes formal recognition of high-performing teachers and administrators; linkage of teacher evaluation to student performance; removal of low-performing teachers within one school year if they don't improve after fair evaluation and mentoring; regular and comprehensive feedback for administrators, with professional consequences depending on performance; and an external validation process for teachers receiving the highest and lowest rankings.
- Community: To involve the broader community in the success of its students, NHPS has launched a citywide parent leadership organization, made up of PTO leadership from each school, to provide input to the district. Engaging the broader nonprofit community to provide comprehensive wraparound services to students, NHPS is working to ensure service coordination inside and outside the school system through the new Boost! Partnership.
NHPS sees the School Change Initiative and all of its components as the foundation of New Haven's potential as a city, demonstrating the community's commitment to its children, to the growth of the economy, and to the cultivation of an increasingly strong and skilled workforce.
|Data at a glance:|
|Total certified teachers||1,871|
|Total full-time staff||2,500|
|Number of schools||89|
|Enrollment, by race/ethnicity|
|Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals||77%|
Imma Canelli, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, New Haven Public Schools
David Cicarella, President, New Haven Federation of Teachers
Garth Harries, Assistant Superintendent, New Haven Public Schools
Reginald Mayo, Superintendent, New Haven Public Schools
Carlos Antonio Torre, President, New Haven Board of Education
District Website: http://www.nhps.net
District Contract: http://ct.aft.org/nhft/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=85bd221c-1581-4eac-8480-f980cbef9325