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Summer Learning Survey

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What Teachers Are Saying about Common Core State Standards


A group of English Language Arts teachers wrote the following when asked, "What are the strengths of the CCSS and how do they benefit students?"

  • Strengths of the CCSS? The expectations are uniformly high, so it helps unify teachers in their expectations of their students and of their own teaching. They also create conversation among teachers, hopefully, using more of a common language... The benefits are hopefully that students will stretch themselves and become better readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators.
  • The strengths of the CCSS: clear articulation of high expectations for what students should be able to do at specific points in their education. Additionally, the CCSS recognize skills across content areas and identify how the areas are mutually supportive in developing those skills.
  • Strengths: The CCSS has high standards for student outcomes. By raising the bar for specific skill sets, the standards also raise the bar for soft-skill sets such as self-efficacy.
  • Strengths: It is challenging teachers and students to read for more meaning. It is providing a united set of standards so texts, books, online resources etc. are far more plentiful.
  • The greatest challenge is ... in the amount of change required to meet success. The only thing that really likes change is a wet baby.
  • The strength of the CCSS is that it sets academically rigorous expectations for all students, and appropriately scaffolds those expectations from K-12. The focus on the development of skills necessary for college and career readiness is particularly important to prepare our students for the rigors of college-level coursework.
  • Benefits: CCSS includes all disciplines. It's nice to see Encores, Specials, or Electives Teachers using the CCSS such as Speaking and Listening skills.
  • Strengths: Rigor, leads towards interdisciplinary planning and implementation by increasing nonfiction reading and increasing content area literacy, shared standards allow for shared resources, incorporating speaking and listening, 
  • Strengths- Raises the bar, Challenges students, Makes students accountable for their learning.
  • Student Benefits- More hands-on and improves student engagement. Students are more prepared for future employment and post graduate work.
The Department of Literary Arts has created district-wide Communities of Practice (CoPs) for ELA teachers in grades 6-12. These CoPs are limited to group sizes of 6-8 and are facilitated by trained teacher leaders. Teachers meet collectively in CoPs to focus on ELA CCSS, instructional strategies, and lesson study. In this way, teachers collaboratively communicate and reflect upon the strengths and challenges of the new standards and curricula while supporting one another throughout the change process. If you are a 6-12 teacher and interested in joining a CoP, please contact Dr. Melissa Wlodarczyk Hickey!
Melissa K. Wlodarczyk Hickey, Ed.D.
Director of Literary Arts
Office of Curriculum and Instruction
Hartford Public Schools
960 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
P: 860-695-8754

Application Process


What do I need to get started?

  1. Have a conversation with your child about their interests and talents

  2. Go to to examine the school options within your Home Zone

  3. Get to know your school: attend a School Fair, School Open Houses, “Get on the Bus” high school tour, or Community Technical Assistance session

  4. Have your child’s Powerschool Student ID number handy. Contact your child’s school to request the student ID number.

  5. Begin your application:

  • If you are a Hartford resident and are applying to a non-magnet school belonging to the Hartford Public Schools district, visit

Where can I find the Hartford District Choice application? 

The application for the 2014-15 Hartford District Choice Lottery can be found and completed at are encouraged to submit online applications as changes can be easily made as you learn more about your school options. Paper applications are available from the Office of School Choice.

Where can I find assistance to complete the Hartford District Choice Lottery application?

The Office of Choice,the Welcome Center and Achieve Hartford stand ready to assist! Assistance is also available:

1.  Online

Begin by reading through these updated sections on our site:

Additionally, a complete guide to the Choice process including a full directory of all Hartford Public Schools, download the FUTURE GUIDE HERE.

2.  At Hartford Choice events

See Calendar of Events for listing of dates and times.

3.  At Technical Assistance sessions

Ongoing sessions to be held at libraries and schools. See Calendar of Events for listing and dates and times.

4.  At your child’s school

Each school has trained staff to assist you.

If I applied last year, do I have to reapply?

Yes. The lottery is conducted on yearly basis; last year’s application information is no longer valid.  Remember, if your child is in a transitional grade you must apply.


How many schools must I select for my child? 

Four (4) school options must be selected in order for the application to be considered complete.  Parents are encouraged to select choices within their Home Zone as transportation may not be provided for school selections that are out of Zone. 

How do I know which schools are in my Home Zone?

See the Choice Map on page 17 showing the schools within each Zone. For more detailed information about the schools and the Zones, please visit or

Can I submit changes to my Hartford Choice District Application? 

Yes. Changes can be made throughout the lottery application period of November 15, 2013 to February 28, 2014.  If you applied online, you can log in and make the changes to your application. Notification of changes will be sent via email. If you submitted a paper application, you must submit another paper application. The most recent complete, on-time application will be entered into the lottery.  


Superintendent Candidate Forums Overview

Working at the request of the Superintendent’s Search Committee, Achieve Hartford! will partner to facilitate three forums held on Wednesday, April 16 to engage as many perspectives and voices from the community as possible.  All forums are open to anyone to attend, but each will be targeted to address the issues and questions of particular constituencies.  Questions will be categorized based on the Search Committee’s identified areas of superintendent core competencies and before exiting the forums, all participants will be asked to provide feedback on each of the three candidates which will then be compiled for the Search Committee by Achieve Hartford!  A detailed description of the community involvement process in the superintendent search process will also be developed and posted on the Achieve Hartford! and Hartford Public Schools websites and made available for posting to other partners including the Hartford Federation of Teachers.

Please click HERE to view/download the PDF flyer containing the information about these forums.

Community Forum One:

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Capital Community College – 11th floor auditorium
Target Audience: Student, Family and Community
Format: Using the framework of the Search Committee’s categories of core competencies, Achieve Hartford! will solicit questions using a diverse set of channels including local newspapers, e-newsletters and community partners.  Questions will be gathered from students, families and community members during the last two weeks of March through e-mail and texting channels.  These questions will then be compiled to a representative list to be asked of candidates at the forum.   Each candidate will be given 30 minutes to respond to the same set of questions, posed by a facilitator from Achieve Hartford!  Candidates will have the opportunity to share a two minute opening and will be given a warning at the mid-point of their allotted time, but will otherwise need to manage their own time to answer all questions within the allocated time.

Community Forum Two:

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Capital Community College – 11th floor auditorium
Target Audience: Educators and District Administrators
Format: Achieve Hartford! will request the Hartford Federation of Teachers (HFT) solicit from their membership, vet and submit a list of six questions to be asked of the finalists.  Similarly, we will request a district representative gather and submit six questions on behalf of district staff.  Achieve Hartford! will work with district and HFT staff to narrow down questions to be asked at the forum.  Each candidate will be given 30 minutes to respond to the same set of questions posed by a representative teacher nominated by the HFT.  Candidates will have the opportunity to share a two minute opening and will be given a warning at the mid-point of their allotted time, but will otherwise need to manage their own time to answer all questions within the allocated timeframe.

Community Forum Three:

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Location: Capital Community College – 11th floor auditorium
Target Audience: Corporate, Philanthropy, Nonprofit, Policy and Community
Format: As this is anticipated to be a smaller audience, attendees will be divided into three separate groups and candidates will spend 25 minutes with one group before rotating to each of other two.  The Search Committee’s categories of core competencies will be used to guide question development and Achieve Hartford! will solicit a base set of questions to be asked at each small group, which will be facilitated by Achieve Hartford! staff members.

Report of the Hartford Public Schools Post-Secondary Planning College Work Group

Click here to read the report.