Meet New HPS Chief Academic Officer,
SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE
Issue 15 September 14, 2012
Meet New HPS Chief Academic Officer, Carole Collins-Ayanlaja
Read this brief interview with Dr. Collins-Ayanlaja to discover some of the thinking and discipline that goes on inside the Office of Academics:
What brought you to Hartford? Hartford Public Schools brought me to Hartford!
What brought you to Hartford Public Schools? The opportunity to be a member of a dedicated Cabinet that supports a progressive reform agenda attracted me. Dr. Kishimoto’s strategic work in Hartford is well aligned to clear and measurable goals. In my role, I hope to contribute to school improvement in a midsized urban public school system through the focused and well-honed work of the Office of Academics.
What challenges do you think Hartford faces compared to your last location in Iowa?
I believe all districts, urban, rural, or suburban, face challenges. Hartford, for me, does not present any challenges beyond those that I have faced before throughout my service to school communities. All educational districts have the responsibility to commit to their goals with great dedication. This is reflected through the belief systems, policies, and practices, which the district develops, implements, monitors, and analyzes.
Like any urban community, the work in Hartford Public Schools is that of educating children from multiple communities which reflect the racial, cultural, linguistic, and economic landscape of the city. Learning different institutional, systemic, social, and political factors are part of the process a leader follows in any community. Ensuring that my work is focused on providing the best educational experience for students is the primary purpose I am here and that remains a constant.
What will be your mission in the next year? Next five years?
It will be priority to build the capacity of the Office of Academics as a resource provider and source of support for principals and teachers in Hartford Public Schools. I believe in the importance of learning what people need in order to best serve them. I look forward this year to visiting all schools, meeting principals and teachers, having conversations, and observing instruction in buildings. The knowledge I acquire by being in the schools will attune me and my department to how teachers apply curriculum and deliver instruction. The OOA will focus on increasing principal and teacher awareness of Common Core standards and effective instructional practice through broad based curriculum alignment and professional development. The office will institute district-wide common computer adaptive assessments ( NWEA-MAP) to measure student comprehension of Common Core content and provide data for teacher instructional grouping. Common Core writing prompts will be developed to build student skills. Additionally through partnership with the Office of Professional Learning, the OOA will present quality, comprehensive professional learning.
This quality curriculum and assessment work will be at the forefront for many years as the Office continues to expand the capacity of teachers to deliver Common Core instruction which is rigorous and encompasses integrated approaches, like STEM units. Additionally, the focus will be on supporting schools as they develop a keen approach to data analysis to inform instruction. The OOA will engage in a strategic support model. Team members will provide differentiated curriculum, instructional, assessment, climate, and intervention support at school sites.
What changes do you foresee occurring in your first year in Hartford?
I see myself and the work of the Office of Academics as positive contributors to the change already occurring in Hartford Public Schools. I intend to analyze the work of the Office of Academics through self- assessment while seeking the opinion of other offices and schools to determine in what way the office can be of greatest support. The work of the OOA will be clearly aligned to the Strategic Operating Plan and will proactively address content, instructional, and learning gaps to contribute to the positive increases in student achievement in the district.
What is a funny piece of trivia about you that we should know?
For those who still don’t have it right, I too, have mispronounced my own last name!
Thanks so much, Carole Collins-Ayanlaja (Eye-an-lah-jah), and welcome to Hartford!