Message from the Superintendent June 2014

Dear Hartford Public Schools Family,
As I prepare to leave my friends and colleagues in Hartford, it is with great jubilation that we celebrate together the astounding successes our reform work has achieved for our schools, families, and students.
Last week we learned that Hartford’shigh school graduation rate, which seven years ago stood at a low of 29 percent, has completely reversed itself and hit a landmark high of 71.2 percent in 2013. (The graduation rate in 2007 adjusted at the National Governors Association rate was 34%, therefore the increase from 2007 to 2013 is 37%.)  The success is due to the hard work of our teachers, students, parents, administrators, and city leaders in addition to credit retention programs; student success centers that offer tailored academic instruction and personal support; the conversion to smaller themed academies that offer more personalized instruction; and a higher degree of parent engagement in the education of their children.
This month an estimated 1,500 educators from all across the United States visited Hartford to share ideas and best practices, when Hartford Public Schools hosted the 32nd annual Magnet Schools of America Conference at the Connecticut Convention Center.  It was important in my tenure as superintendent to bring this national education conference to Hartford and I was thrilled when I learned that we won the competitive bid to host this best-practice event.  Our own Martin Folan, principal of Hartford Public Schools' University High School of Science & Engineering won the title of Magnet Schools of America Principal of the Year for Region One.
We were honored to host U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as he participated in the district’s College and Career Readiness Town Hall at University High School of Science & Engineering.  The Secretary was joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Governor Dannel Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, State Commissioner of Education Stephan Pryor, Mayor Pedro Segarra, University of Hartford President Walter Harrison, and seven outstanding students — members of the class of 2014– who are college-bound.  They discussed the difficulties faced by today’s students in accessing and affording college.  Secretary Duncan said he was inspired by their stories, and told them "the perseverance, the tenacity, the grit you have shown" would serve them well at college. But he reminded them: "The goal is not to go to college; the goal is to graduate [from college.]”
I am very excited about the arrival of the new Superintendent, Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, who will carry on with this work, continuing our collaboration in constructing a road to success for all students on the path of reform we are paving.
Farewell and thank you very much for all you do.
Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto

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