Message from Our Superintendent September 2015

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE September 2015

 

Message from Our Superintendent

 
Welcome back! I am excited to be kicking off the new school year with you. This is an exciting time for students and parents. Our students look forward to meeting their new teachers, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. For the adults in our community, although they have the difficult task of preparing for the beginning of the academic year, it’s very thrilling to see the excitement in their children’s eyes. 
 
This is a great time to be part of Harford Public Schools. As you know, my goal is to ensure that every student thrives and every school is high performing
 
In order to fulfill that personal commitment, my colleagues and I have been working on a plan to ensure that that commitment is brought to fruition. Here you will find a digital copy of Cultivating Equity and Excellence: A Strategic Plan for Hartford Public Schools
 
As I mention in the plan, our “path to achieving great things lies somewhere between continuity and change.” In the plan you will find details about my five bold new changes in mindset that will lead to improvements across the board:
  • Personalized learning centered around each and every student 
  • Focus on leadership 
  • Collaboration among leaders and schools, not competition 
  • Commitment to equity 
  • Meaningful family and community partnership 
As the academic year progresses, you will hear more about the implications of this exciting work and how you will be involved. Our obligation to prepare every student for the future requires that all stakeholders — parents, educators, residents and businesses – collaborate to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education they rightfully deserve. 

As Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, I want to make sure that every student thrives.  We know that a major barrier to student success is missing school. National research shows that students who miss 18 days or more of school in a school year are more likely to struggle in school, not read on grade level, and drop out of school.  Missing 18 days or more of school, regardless of the reason, is called chronic absence.

This trend starts as early as kindergarten and continues through high school, contributing to achievement gaps, and ultimately to dropout rates.  In the United States:
  • One in ten kindergarten and first-grade students misses 10% of the school year (18 days or more);
  • Only 17% of those students chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade will read on grade level by the end   of the 3rd grade;
  • By middle school, chronic absence is one of the leading indicators of dropping out. (Chronic absence in the 8th grade is a better predictor of 9th grade dropout than the actual grades a student receives in the 8th grade.)
By understanding this issue – and helping schools and parents take action – we can help children in our community kick off the school year in a positive way. 
 
In order to promote daily student attendance, Hartford Public Schools and the United Way, in partnership with Attendance Works, are recognizing September as Attendance Awareness Month, part of a nationwide movement to show that every school day counts.
 
We would like to invite you to join us in crafting our next chapter, together—a next chapter that tells the story of all of Hartford Public Schools students attending school, every day, ready to learn. We want and need you to be part of this attendance campaign. You can support Attendance Awareness Month by:
  1. spreading the message
  2. by ensuring your students go to school every day
  3. by connecting families to social services that can help to get their children get to school
  4. by volunteering to be a mentor to a student.
You can make a difference. You have the power to ensure that your children and those of your extended family, young people in your neighborhood, and throughout our communities, know how important it is to come to school on time, every day.
 
For more information about Attendance Awareness Month at HPS, click here.
 
If you need help getting your child to school, please contact your student’s teacher or principal.  You may also contact our Welcome Center at 860-695-8400.
 
Again, thank you for joining us in this effort and for making a difference by ensuring that all of our Hartford Public Schools students attend school on a daily basis.
 
Come join us in this brave new world of education and be inspired by the opportunities that Hartford Public Schools has to offer.
 
Sincerely,
 
Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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