Message from the Superintendent October 2014

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE           October 2014

Message from the Superintendent


Dear Hartford Public Schools Friends,
     Upon my arrival in Hartford in July, I initiated a structured entry plan with the assistance of a Transition Team of national, state and local experts. Over the past 3½ months we have reviewed the work of the district and heard from approximately 1,700 people through meetings, group sessions and surveys.  My goal, as I stated in July, was to “hit the ground learning.”  I also wanted to deeply understand the story of Hartford.
This was important to me because I believe that by truly understanding who we are as individuals – and who we are as a community – we can work together in shared purpose on behalf of our students.  
     I have been influenced and inspired by Marshall Ganz, a social justice/movement activist, organizer, leader and senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who writes and speaks about the power of storytelling in mobilizing collective action for positive change.
     In his work, Telling your Public Story: Self, Us, Now, he notes that as individuals we all have a story: The Story of Self – where we came from, who we are, our inspirations, values, hopes, dreams and aspirations.  We also live a daily narrative that tells the story of who we are together – The Story of UsThe Story of Now acknowledges the challenges we confront, the choices we have and the opportunity before us to harness our experiences, gifts and talents in service to others.
     I know that being here in Hartford – a place where there is a shared commitment to serving students – is part of my personal narrative – The Story of Self.  Through the Transition Plan work over the past few months, documented in this report, we have begun the process of understanding The Story of Us. You will see both strengths and challenges in our story. You will recognize that, while great progress has been made, there is more to do.
     I am grateful for the outpouring of interest and engagement in this community. It is by understanding the story we share together – where we are, what is and isn’t working, and acknowledging the steps we need to take – that we will bring Hartford Public Schools to new levels of success.
      I believe that when we commit to crafting and living out the Story of Now –  together – we will, in turn, write the next chapter of our community’s narrative:  a school district where every student thrives and every school is high performing – no exception.
     I would like to thank members of this wonderful community who have welcomed me and this process with open hearts and minds. My heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of parents and guardians of our Hartford Public School students who completed our survey and spoke with us.  Your feedback is invaluable.  A very special thank you to Transition Team Chair, Dr. Larry Leverett, and all members of the Team, to my Board of Education, and to Dr. Jackie Jacoby, who in her role as Special Assistant to the Board of Education, paved the way for my smooth entry into Hartford Public Schools.  
     On a separate note, I want to recognize that this month is College and Career Readiness Awareness Month.  We have taken parents on a college tour, led literary activities for our students, provided colege information sessions for families and students, including an upcoming session on Saturday, 10/25 at Bulkeley High School at 10:30 AM, about financing a college education.  Parents and guardians of seniors, and of all students, I encourage you to attend.  This month draws attention to the important focus on college and career that happens every day in our schools.
     I am honored to serve as Superintendent and to join forces with each and every one of you as we focus on a vibrant and transformative future for all of our students.  
Click here to discover more about College and Career Readiness Awareness Month.

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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