Mayor's Monday Message|
I delivered my 19th State of the City address this week. The speech is an annual opportunity for reflection and direction, a chance to come together as a City to acknowledge where we have succeeded, where we must improve, and to establish an agenda and priorities for the year to come. This year, I focused my remarks on four areas: school change, public safety, jobs, and City finances. You can read the full text of my remarks under the Mayor's section of this website. Over the next coming weeks I will provide more information on each of those important areas, but I want to use this week's message to focus on what I believe to be the most vital challenge and opportunity of our time: New Haven School Change.
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a Mayor's Convening on education, hosted by the Gates Foundation, one of the principal funders of school reform nationally. I was one of 20 mayors invited, including the mayors of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Nashville, Dallas, and Minneapolis. With all due respect to the powerful efforts of these great cities, I am proud to say that New Haven is far ahead of the curve on School Change.
Long term and near term, there is no more pressing challenge or opportunity for our city than the success of New Haven School Change. Our goals are clear. We must:
Turn each school into a high functioning organization;
Close the achievement gap to the state average;
Cut the drop out rate in half; and
See that our high school graduates are academically prepared and have the resources to succeed in and graduate from college.
We must remain committed to the main initiatives and strategies of New Haven School Change, which include:
A Portfolio approach to schools: All schools have been graded and are supported and challenged based on their own individual strengths and weaknesses. All schools are
expected to improve.
Talent development: Adults are managed as professionals, empowered to improve and held responsible for outcomes. The nationally-recognized teacher evaluation
system rewards high performers and provides intensive help to low performers. Those who fail to improve will leave the district, regardless of tenure. Those who excel will be recognized and granted new leadership opportunities. The New Haven Federation of Teachers contract, developed in collaboration with and overwhelmingly ratified by teachers, has been held up as a model for school reform nationally. The contract paved the way for inclusion of student performance in teacher evaluations, and allows the district to reconstitute failing schools under new leadership and work rules, including extended school days.
Community and Parents: Students must be physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to learn. Through Boost!, a partnership with the City of New Haven and the
United Way of Greater New Haven, the district is assuring that students and families have the wraparound services they need to be successful in the classroom.
College: There is no better job creation, wealth generation, and violence reduction strategy than a trained and educated workforce. New Haven Promise tells students
that if they get good grades and respect the community, we will pay for them to go to college.
The results thus far have been outstanding.
Over the last two years, the school district has re-organized and re-staffed five of our lowest performing schools, including partnering with outside providers in two cases.
The district has built and delivered a national model for administrator and teacher evaluation and professional development. Teachers have stronger coaching and professional feedback; a small but significant number of teachers and administrators who were not delivering for students have exited the system.
In its first year, New Haven Promise awarded 115 scholarships to students attending 16 different Connecticut colleges and universities. A college going curriculum has been implemented in every preK-8 school.
Surveys completed by parents, teachers, and students showed improved learning climates in 37 out of 39 schools, including higher academic expectations, better communication, better collaboration and engagement, and greater safety and respect.
We saw strong gains on CMT and CAPT scores, a solid step toward closing the achievement gap with the rest of the state.
Our graduation rate last year increased 1.8 percent, and internal data show that many more underclassmen in high school are now on track to graduate on time.
Our results thus far are promising, but our work is far from done. Our schools will require the support of everyone in our community, and I encourage you to visit your local schools and get to know your local teachers and principals. While I believe the success of School Change largely requires commitment to the successful strategies outlined above, I also laid out several new initiatives and directions during my State of the City address. Those include:
We need to do a better job valuing our best classroom teachers. I have asked Dr. Mayo to form a Council of Exemplary Teachers to learn from our best talent and to develop roles and opportunities for our highest performing teachers.
We need a robust leadership pipeline. I have challenged the district to deliver a fully developed Leadership Academy that helps to identify and develop internal leaders.
We need a high-functioning career and technical education program. In partnership with Gateway Community College, we will develop a new career and technical education program that prepares students to succeed in todays changing economy.
We need to better engage parents. I have asked the district to create a Parent University that works to provide parents the skills, knowledge, and resources to help them best support their childs education.
Here's What's Going on in the Elm City This Week...
Feb. 9-14. XOXO: A Valentine's Sale. Creative Arts Workshop. www.creativeartsworkshop.org
Feb. 9. Exhibition Reception: Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating. Yale Peabody Museum. 5-6:30pm. www.peabody.yale.edu
Feb 9. Rock To Rock Launch Party. New Haven Museum. 5:30-7pm
Feb. 10. Yale Concert Band. Woolsey Hall. 7:30pm. yale.edu/yaleband
Feb. 11. Join the Shubert for a FREE Family Fun Day. Crafts, face painting, refreshments, movie screening of Tangled and more! 11am-3pm.
Feb. 11. Collage: Using mixed media-jewelry from paper, leather & fabric. 756 Studio Project Storefronts. 1-4pm. www.projectstorefrontsnewhaven.com
Feb. 11 & 12. NHSO's From Haydn to Hip Hop. Omni New Haven Hotel. $15/adult, $12/senior citizen, $5/child. 2pm. www.NewHavenSymphony.org
Feb. 11. Book Voyagers. This is a special Book Voyagers Program featuring Domino the Great! "Around the World with Books" is an action packed program that will grab the attention of children and adults with magic and humour! Connecticut Humanities Council program. 1 p.m. Fair Haven Library
Feb. 11. PACK. Stories and songs featuring a theme offering fun to children and parents and/or caregivers. 2 p.m. Fair Haven Library
Contact Name: Elizabeth Benton
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: (203) 946-8200