Message from Dr. Kishimoto Spotlight 09162013 (2)

Welcome Back To Hartford Public Schools!


On August 27, we began the 2013-2014 academic year as one of the most advanced public school districts in the nation, offering more and better school options to prepare our children for college and career success.

The Global Communications Academy, was officially designated an International Baccalaureate World School.  As an IB school, Global has been authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for students ages 3 to 12, one of the most challenging and rigorous education curriculums in the world.  To add to the excitement, the school will start the academic year in a newly renovated building at 85 Edwards Street.

The STEM Magnet School at Annie Fisher was named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School for its overall academic excellence and its progress in closing the achievement gap between urban and suburban students.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan selected the Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker as a 2013 National Green Ribbon School for raising student achievement through an effective curriculum that promotes health and wellness and reduces energy costs.

The Sport and Medical Sciences Academy was recognized for the sixth consecutive year as one of American’s Best High Schools in the annual rankings published by U.S. News and World Report magazine. SMSA was listed in the Silver Medal category for the second straight year.  The designation is significant because it measured SMSA’s better-than-expected achievement gains within the income levels and racial groups that it serves.

Our reform efforts were further assisted by nearly $10 million in private grant funding.

There was a $5 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand our partnerships with the Achievement First and Jumoke Academy charter school organizations.  Hartford’s corporate and philanthropic community committed $4.1 million to launch the Hartford Promise college access and scholarship program.  The Promise will award up to $5,000 a year to every Hartford student/resident, who graduates with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, good attendance, and attends a four-year college, and $2,500 a year to every Hartford student with a 3.0 average who attends a two-year college.

The district also received a $450,000 award from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to expand the use of blended learning as a way of better preparing high school students for college.  Blended learning is a form of instruction that combines face-to-face classroom instruction with computer activities that students engage in at their own pace.  The grant funds  the cost of personalized electronic devices for 200 students and eight teachers at the Bulkeley High School Teacher Prep program, and at the Pathways Academy of Technology and Design.

This year, we will be further increasing our portfolio of quality educational opportunities, by opening three new Sheff magnet schools and expanding the former STEM Magnet School at Betances in a new location at 585 Wethersfield Avenue to accommodate 4th through 8th graders.

These new initiatives include the conversion of the Montessori program at Moylan School into a magnet; the opening of the new Hartford Pre-K Magnet School at 85 Edwards Street, housing 180 children of ages 3 and 4; and the transformation of the Hartford Journalism and Media Academy into a magnet in a newly renovated building at 150 Tower Avenue.  The senior class at the Journalism and Media Academy will have the added benefit of taking all of their courses at the new, multi-million dollar Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network studios on Asylum Avenue.

We dedicated another school building renovation at M.D. Fox Elementary School on Maple Avenue where Kindergarten through 8th graders from the M.D. Fox neighborhood will proudly enjoy the beautiful and historical environs – an inspirational place for learning and growing.

In Hartford we are recognizing September as National Attendance Awareness Month.  National research shows that one in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent, meaning that they miss 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days of instruction, because of excused and unexcused absences.  Children who are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to read proficiently by third grade, and students who do not read well by that critical juncture are more likely to struggle academically. They are also more likely to be chronically absent in later years, since they never developed good attendance habits.  By middle school, chronic absence becomes one of the leading indicators that a child will drop out of high school. By ninth grade, it’s a better indicator than how well a student did on eighth grade tests. This trend often continues through high school, contributing to the achievement gap and ultimately to dropout rates.  If you would like more information or  help with issues of attendance, please go to our AttendanceMatters webpage by clicking here.
Finally, on Saturday, Sept. 21, we will be holding our first ever Family Convocation to further enlist parents as active partners in the education of our children and to unveil the new Parent Portal, whereby parents can have ready computer access to all of the information that directly affects their child’s school life, including grades and test scores. 

All of our impressive gains would not have been possible without the dedication and support of Hartford's parents and educators, as well as our partners in community, business, philanthropy, and the government.

Many thanks to my Hartford Public Schools family as we look forward to another high-achieving 2013-2014 school year!


A Year of Promise:  Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools,

Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto,

Discusses the Upcoming 2013-2014 School Year with Ombudsman, Marta Bentham 



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