Message from the Superintendent April 2015

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE  April 2015

Message from the Superintendent     April 2015

 
Dear Hartford Families and Friends,
 
Spring is finally here, and it helps to make us feel lighter and brighter.  We are thankful for this lift, as April also brings a very tough budget season.  As a district we have had to make extremely difficult and even painful decisions.  We find ourselves at a crossroads that I describe as “the perfect storm.” The time has come for us to face the tough reality and consequences of years of flat funding of the general fund, escalating costs, decreasing special funds, and the task of sustaining the various programs and schools that have been created throughout our city. The decisions we make are important and complex, and, they impact our students, families, staff and schools. However, we will not be diverted from our goals by the challenges we face, but we will keep our heads up, our backs straight and strong, and we will continue on with our mission of equity and success for all of our students.
 
In the words of President Barack Obama and Frederick Douglas, respectively, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” and, “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
 
While we continue to be a school system with diverse programs and options guided by state and national standards of excellence, the truth is that the current system is only working for some. It is imperative that we make it work for all. In the midst of tough financial pressure, we must find innovative ways to to phase in strategies and high impact practices that lead to equity and excellence for all of our students. At this crucial time, we are grateful for the partnership and support of our partners at the City Department, as their support and help are essential to ensure continuity of much needed services. Despite our budget shortfalls, we applaud our teachers, principals and staff who continue to work every day to ensure all the sons and daughters of Hartford Public Schools receive the most valuable and focused learning experiences that will allow them to thrive in their present and future.
 
This month we celebrate with our partners the many strides we are making:  On May 1st, Hartford Public Schools and Middlebury Interactive Learning  co-hosted a symposium to present revolutionary interactive software we co-developed for our students who are English Language Learners.  
With partner, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the senior students in teacher, Jim Moffett’s Public Relations class at the Journalism and Media Academy’s satellite campus, CPBN’s Learning Lab, produced short video documentaries called, The Teachers’ Stories Project.  This project was launched at a screening and discussion at CPBN on Monday, April 27th.  

We also thank our partners, VOYA Financial Advisors, Inc., Shipman & Goodwin, and the American Federation of Teachers for once again supporting our annual Teacher of the Year celebration on May 21st in which all of our schools nominate one of their own to be recognized for their excellence in teaching.  Erin Wilson the Literacy and Mathematics coach at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School is being recognized as the Magnet Educator of the Year of the North-Eastern Region of the United States along with 16 other teachers from the entire nation.  Renzulli Academy teacher, Nancy Liscinsky has been nominated by Edward DePeau for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  The PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year.

Our schools also continue to be recognized for excellence.  Magnet Schools of America has recognized seven Hartford Public Schools with Magnet School Merit Awards, acknowledging them as some of the best in the country.  Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Breakthrough Magnet School, and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy received the Magnet School of Excellence Awards.  Great Path Academy, Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School, Pathways Academy of Technology and Design, and the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, received Magnet School of Distinction awards. In addition, our very own Breakthrough Magnet School has been awarded the prestigious Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award, as the best magnet school in the United States.  We congratulate Principal Julie Goldstein and the Breakthrough Magnet staff and community on this wonderful achievement. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and throughout its campus during the 2014-15 school year.

On a different front, Hartford Public High School’s Academy of Engineering & Green Technology’s lunar rover team is competing in Huntsville Alabama in the NASA competition.  We hope they prevail!  So much excellence in teaching and learning is happening daily at Hartford Public Schools.    Please enjoy our newsletter and return often to our website to learn more, every day.  Together we will weather all manner of storms but we must keep sailing straight for the stars.
 
Warm regards and hopes for a fruitful, happy and healthy spring,
 
Beth

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