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    Office Of The Mayor
    Mayor's Monday Message

    Dear Friends:

    Here in New Haven, we are proud of our “firsts.” We are the birthplace of pizza, the hamburger, even Frisbee. But last week we made national headlines for a “first” that has the ability to truly transform the futures of children in school districts across America: our constructive and collaborative teacher evaluation model.

    Last Thursday, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof referred to our teacher evaluation system as “enormous progress” and called New Haven “ground zero for school reform in America.” New Haven’s ability to build a comprehensive and transformative School Change and teacher evaluation model in collaboration with our teachers union broke new ground in the national school reform effort. Kristof’s column proved prescient when late Thursday New York City broke through a contentious stalemate with its teachers union by adopting portions of our teacher evaluation model.

    While it is gratifying to see New Haven School Change recognized on a national stage, it is even more gratifying to see the success of our teacher evaluation model played out in classrooms throughout the district. Last year, 34 teachers, some tenured, exited the district after our evaluation system identified that they were not adequately serving our students. Even more importantly, teachers throughout the district picked up their game. When given constructive feedback and support, teachers made dramatic improvements.

    Change cannot happen overnight and we still have challenges ahead, but I am confident that through New Haven School Change we are improving the lives of our students. And as more districts turn to our effort as a template for constructive, collaborative reform, New Haven School Change now has the opportunity to transform educational opportunities for students nationwide. If you haven’t seen first hand the transformations taking place in the New Haven Public Schools, I encourage you to visit a school and see for yourself.

    Other New Haven Firsts

    There are too many New Haven Firsts to name, but here are a few good ones:

    • First Sulfur Matches (1835)

    • First Medical Diploma (1729)

    • First College Football Game (1872)

    • First Formal Basketball Game (1895)

    • First Rubber Boots (1843)

    • First Automatic Revolver (1836)

    • First Telephone Book (1878)

    • First Spring Tape Measure (1868)

    • First Hamburger (1900)

    • First Lollipop (1892)

    • First Frisbee (1920)

    • First Pizza (1900)

    • First Live College Mascot, Handsome Dan (1889)

    • First Newborn Intensive Care Unit (1960)

    Secure Communities Operational on Wednesday

    We learned last week that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will implement their so-called Secure Communities program in Connecticut this Wednesday. Make no mistake, this misguided and mishandled program will not make New Haven or Connecticut more secure, nor will it help build a healthy community.

    Yesterday, I joined Police Chief Dean Esserman, Yale Law School students, members of the Board of Aldermen, state representatives, and dozens of immigration advocates in calling on the federal government to delay implementation of this un-American program until it can address major concerns identified in its own program review. I have also called on Governor Malloy to distinguish between serious offenders and low-level offenders in honoring detainers issued through this problematic program.

    Secure Communities is a federal program that compels local law enforcement agencies to assist in the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. In practice elsewhere, this program has not distinguished between non-violent, largely law-abiding immigrants and those involved in the violent and illegal activities that have historically been priorities for immigration officials.

    This program is counterproductive to the relationships our police department has attempted to establish within immigrant communities, and essentially invalidates our police order that limits police questioning regarding immigration status during routine law enforcement.

    New Haven Resident Job Fair

    I am proud to announce that we prescreened 250 New Haven residents for participation in the New Haven Resident Job Fair to take place this Thursday, February 23. Over two dozen employers have agreed to participate in the event. We have had good success at previous job fairs in connecting New Haven residents to employment opportunities, and I am confident that this event will yield similarly positive results. Check out this great story by Bill Kaempffer of the New Haven Register featuring success stories from the October Re-Entry Job Fair.

    Electronics Recycling Collection

    The City will be hosting an electronics recycling collection event on Sunday, February 26 in collaboration with CitySeed and the Westville Renaissance Alliance. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can bring any recyclable electronics to the Edgewood Park Farmer’s Market at the corner of Whalley Avenue and West Rock Avenue. Accepted materials include televisions, monitors, computers, printers, fax machines, scanners, keyboards, keyboard mice, power cords, VCRs, DVD players, DVRs, cable receivers, PDAs, portable digital music players, cell phones, telephones, and calculators. Light bulbs and batteries will not be accepted at this event.

    Flamenco Festival New Haven

    Speaking of firsts, the first ever Flamenco Festival New Haven will be held this week and next week at 57 Olive Street. While most of the events require admission tickets, there will be free community dance classes for beginners and a film screening. The festival will feature master dance classes and performances from flamenco singers and dancers, a Persian singer, an Indian gypsy dancer, an oud player, and other artists. For more information, check out this flyer.

    Note: Last week I announced I would be hosting two community budget meetings on February 22 and February 28. Those meetings have been postponed. New dates will be announced soon.

    Contact Name: Elizabeth Benton

    Contact Email: ebenton@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-8200


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