Hartford Public Schools Receives Second Barr Foundation $150,000 Grant

Hartford Public Schools Receives Second Barr Foundation $150,000 Grant

The Barr Foundation approved a $150,000 grant to Hartford Public Schools to deepen understanding of high school students’ experiences in order to develop strategic plans that address student needs and promote post-secondary success. Hartford Public Schools is grateful and excited to partner with the Foundation on this important work.

This is the second grant that the Barr Foundation has awarded Hartford Public Schools (HPS) which will focus on Planning for Post-Secondary Success. The Barr Foundation extended an invitation for the district to apply after the first grant, focusing on Doing High School Differently, was awarded.

The first grant is designated for Hartford Public High School whereas this second grant will span across all district high schools. The purpose of this second grant is to deepen our understanding of high school students’ experiences in order to develop strategic plans that address student needs and promote post-secondary success.

A working team of district staff will meet regularly throughout the grant period and will receive support with analyzing school and student level data, both qualitative and quantitative. By the end of the grant period a final report and action plan will be completed to help guide future actions in the district to address the needs and concerns that emerge from the data analysis.

HPS was drawn to the grant because of the existing connections to other initiatives we have in the district that focus on making sure that our high school students are on track to graduate, such as the RISE Network and the first Barr grant, both of which target over-age and under-credited students.

What is different about this grant is the opportunity to receive support with data analysis. While our district has access to data internally, and to data that is compiled by the State Department of Education, this opportunity offers data collection and analysis that is specific to each individual school’s student population and their readiness for post-secondary success.

For the purpose of this grant, post-secondary success is defined as students that graduate and enroll in college for their first year and return for their second year.

HPS will be able to analyze data for a cohort of graduating students from the class of 2016. HPS will review data from 8th grade through 12th grade and then post-secondary data through the second year of college or university.

By “looking back” on data and understanding what contributed to student post-secondary success, while also pinpointing why and where along the way our students became off track, we will be able to “look forward” to determine what we need to do differently.

Although HPS has access to our data and review data regularly as they pertain to student achievement, this is the first time the district will be able to view data in this way and be supported throughout the entire process by a consulting firm that is funded by the Barr Foundation.

This work is also aligned to the district priorities outlined in the Strategic Operating Plan, especially as it pertains to the Teaching and Learning objective of students graduating ready for college as well as the goal to increase the graduation rate by 9 percentage points. It also intersects with the other district priorities of Family and Community Partnerships, School Climate and Culture, and Operational Effectiveness.

The funds will be utilized to hire an individual to be responsible for the coordination of grant activities, as well as allocating funds to support technology and infrastructure needs and to facilitate stakeholder engagement, including focus groups, communications materials, etc.  Accepting these funds will provide the district with much needed support with data analysis and planning for our high schools to best support all of our students with their future goals, be it post-secondary success or beyond.

For information on Hartford Public Schools’ first grant from Barr Foundation, click here.