Superintendent’s Message November 2013

Spotlight on Excellence:  Superintendent’s Message, November 2013

November brings so many exciting changes to our school district. Congratulations to Michael F. Brescia, Beth A. Parker, Craig T. Stallings and Robert Cotto Jr. on being elected to the Board of Education.  They will be sworn in as new board members in January and will participate in school reform training.  School reform will continue to move forward in our district.
As you may know, the Hartford Board of Education is presently considering a proposal from my office to restructure Clark Elementary School as the future home of a second Achievement First Hartford Academy, similar to the successful school that is already located at the Lewis Fox building. 
This change, if approved by the Board of Education, will provide the Clark neighborhood with a high­ performing school model and allow Clark to grow  to its full building capacity. Until then, we will be soliciting Clark families' thoughts and questions about the proposal.  Clark will remain a community school under this proposal. Students who live near Clark and attend Clark will be guaranteed seats. Moreover, Community School services such as the Village, the UConn Huskies, the CRT preKindergarten program, etc., will remain in place. School-based services such as  special education will also remain in place.
Our Attendance Initiative to eliminate chronic absenteeism is moving forward quickly with a pilot program in 7 of our schools; with the restructuring of attendance supports for our schools and families, as well as invaluable assistance from many of our community partners including Achieve Hartford, Hartford Communities that Care, Hartford Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities, the YMCA, MegaEducation, HART, The United Way, the Hartford Campaign for Grade Level Reading, The City of Hartford, the City of New Britain, New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative, and Connecticut State.  We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help Hartford families remove chronic absenteeism as an impediment to their children's educational progress.
Common Core is a term we hear often these days throughout the state and its academic practices are in full-swing in our schools.  We have provided explanations for you on the Common Core at HPS page on our website.  We will also be publishing monthly articles from the Curriculum and Instruction Department giving us a look into classrooms so we can see what Common Core instruction looks like in different subjects and in different grade levels.
The DistrictSchool Choice season begins on Friday, November 15th when the lottery opens. Please make sure that you are entering your children in the lottery if they are in a transitional school year: 8th grade, entering PreK or Kindergarten; or if they are in the last grade available at their current school. You can visit our Choice website to get more information on our school fairs, the Choice process, and how to begin an application.
Veterans Day is a time to remember and pay tribute to the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have answered the call of duty to defend our nation and way of life, often at the greatest personal sacrifice. I would like to express my deepest thanks for the veterans who served our country with great honor in the past, and to those who uphold their duties today. Encourage your children and grandchildren to reach out this weekend to the veterans in their family, church, or community to thank them for their service.  It is a small but meaningful gesture that shows appreciation to the living heroes in their lives and will embed in their young minds respect for those who sacrifice selflessly.

This November we are thankful for many things in Hartford:  our veterans, our devoted principals, teachers, staff members, Board members incumbent and new, our steadfast community partners, and all of our families and students who give so much every day.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with your family, and may your future and that of your students be vital and filled with promise.

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