Message from the Superintendent 02112013

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE     Issue 23     February 11, 2013

Message from the Superintendent

These past few days have been challenging across the state with the record snowfall.  On behalf of the district, I extend our deepest thanks to the Mayor's office, and to all state and city departments of public works for all of their help getting our students safely back into school.
March is almost upon us and so it’s time to get ready for CMT and CAPT testing.  The tests are designed to establish high expectations for the education of Connecticut students; identify students who need extra help in reading, writing, mathematics and science; help schools and teachers identify weaknesses in their curriculum and improve instruction in those areas; help parents and teachers monitor students’ achievement; and improve the accountability of the state’s educational system.  Parents and teachers will be working to help the students get ready.
This year’s School Choice Lottery closed on January 31st and I wish to inform you, with great pride, that every one of our district’s 1,015 eighth grade students met the deadline for completing the choice application. This has not always been the case in previous years, and as a result, some students were not able to enroll in the schools they chose.
In addition to the mandatory transitional applications, the district received 976 applications from students seeking to be placed in elementary and middle schools.  2,008 suburban resident students have applied to attend Hartford’s non-magnet schools by way of the Open Choice Program, an increase of 200 over last year.  The positive outcome of this year’s Choice application process demonstrates that faith in our district’s commitment to prepare all students for college and career success continues to grow.  I want to thank our parents for their unfailing support for our district’s initiatives and our staff members for a job well done.
It was an emotional moment when Tamika Knight of Annie Fisher-STEM Magnet School was announced as one of very few Milken Educator Award winners.  Known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Awards were established in 1985 by the Milken Family Foundation to honor a teacher or administrator in each state who is furthering excellence in education.  Ms. Knight, a fifth grade teacher, was also a Hartford Public Schools student. It is our goal to prepare all students for college and career success, and Tamika Knight is an outstanding role model for teachers and students.  She embodies the best that the city has to offer.
Finally, last week I had the pleasure of interviewing the new Student Senate President, Tiffany Mitchell of Hartford Public High School's Law & Government Academy, and our two new Student Delegates to the Board of Education, Minny Lesperance from HPHS Nursing Academy and Joselyn Arroyo from Pathways to Technology for the Conversations in Education show at Hartford Public Access, Hartford Channel 5.  These articulate, genuine and intelligent students will have much input as they help teach us about the student-perspective and help guide the Board of Education.  I look forward to sharing our conversation with you when it is published on our website next week.  It can also be viewed at Hartford Public Access, Channel 5. 
Together, the parents, families, teachers and students of Hartford have much hard work to do, many things to discuss together, and because of these milestones that we achieve together, much to celebrate.  March on, Hartford!
Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto, Superintendent, Hartford Public Schools

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