Yesterday, I proudly stood with students at Wilbur Cross High School to announce that last year the four- year graduation rate for New Haven Public Schools rose to 70.5% in 2012. That’s a 6 point increase in one year, following three consecutive years of increases. These numbers are not an anomaly; what we are seeing are the early results of our city’s School Change efforts.
New Haven’s School Change initiative has three main goals:
1. Cut the drop out rate in half in five years
2. Eliminate the achievement gap by raising test scores to at least the state average
3. Ensure that every student is academically prepared and financially able to go to college.
We have programs and strategies in place to work toward all three goals. The 2012 graduation rate increase, the fourth consecutive year of an increase, is proof that we are on track to meet our five-year goal of cutting the drop out rate in half.
Wilbur Cross High School had the highest increase over the previous year, with an 8.2% increase. Other highlights include:
• Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School (8.3 percentage point increase to 90.4%)
• Riverside Academy (6 percentage point increase to 78.4%)
• Sound School (4 percentage points to 92.9%)
• Hill Regional Career High School (2.9 percentage points to 88.5%)
• Hyde School of Health Science and Sports Medicine continued its upward trend over three years, climbing 1.7 points to 79.2 percent.
• Hillhouse High School's preliminary graduation rate was flat this year, which preserved the significant 9-point gain achieved by Hillhouse students in the class of 2011.
• The only school to lose significant ground on its graduation rate in 2012 was High School in the Community, which began its first year of turnaround this September under the management of the New Haven Federation of Teachers.
The increase in the graduation rate is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of the many partners who work inside and outside of the classroom to keep our students on the challenging four-year path through high school and into college. It is also a testament to the hard work and perseverance of New Haven students, who along with their parents, families and communities, play a critical role in the success of School Change.
Reducing Violence in New Haven
Last week, in my weekly message to you, I discussed the laws we are pursuing at the state and national level that will help us address gun violence here in New Haven.
This week, I’d like to share with you what the New Haven Police Department accomplished last year and will be doing this year to reduce violence in our city.
Under Police Chief Dean Esserman the following new initiatives were put in place in 2012:
• Community Policing: Walking beats were reinstated, providing officers and residents more opportunity for the interaction and open communication that is required for both crime prevention and better results in solving crimes.
• Shooting Task Force: This is a multi-agency task force is comprised of city, state and federal officers and is tasked with fully pursuing every shooting in the city. The Shooting Task Force will act aggressively to coordinate information and resources to pursue and prevent violent crimes.
• COMPSTAT: The NHPD has instituted weekly COMPSTAT (short for “computer statistics”) meetings to discuss crime trends in every neighborhood and how to best address them. As the department moves to decentralize and put more officers on walking beats in the neighborhoods, these weekly meetings will make sure that officers are able to share information and coordinate responses effectively. These meetings will stress coordination, accountability and problem-solving.
• Initiation of Project Longevity: The NHPD laid the ground work to launch this initiative. This initiative features best practices from around the country to New Haven to address gang violence, open-air drug markets, and other corrosive elements that degrade the quality of life and fracture the sense of safety in our neighborhoods. This model has shown success in Boston, Providence, Chicago and High Point, North Carolina.
• Hiring New Officers: A class of 40 new officers graduated in 2012.
• Federal Roll Up/Wiretap: resulted in the arrests of those involved in major drug rings in New Haven.
In 2013, the Police Department will:
• Implement Project Longevity:
First, the NHPD will identify gangs. Gang members will be brought in to meet with authorities and put on notice that the first violent act committed by any member will result in immediate, coordinated and assertive efforts by city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to halt any future gang activity.
Street narcotic dealers will be brought in to meet with law enforcement authorities and community members together, and will be warned that the neighborhood will no longer tolerate their behavior. Offenders will be given second chances to find work and more productive ways of contributing to our community. They will be put on notice that plans are in place for swift and sophisticated efforts to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those who do not heed the warning.
• Expand Community Policing/Walking Beats: Additional officers will be put on walking beats in neighborhoods all over our city in 2013.
• Continue hiring more officers: In 2013, the city will run another class for new police officers and do a summer recruiting session.
• Command College: “Command College” is designed to develop highly effective managers for the police force. The nationally-renowned University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science will partner with faculty from Yale Law School and the New Haven Police Department to provide Command College for NHPD officers.
• Open a Cold Case Squad The NHPD will redouble its efforts to investigate the city’s unsolved homicides. The Cold Case Squad will strive to bring justice to the grieving families who have lost loved ones, and ensure that the people who committed these crimes are taken off the streets.
Youth@Work Applications Available for 2013
Youth @ Work offers summer work based learning experiences for individuals between the ages of 14 to 21. The summer program allows for individuals chosen to work in various local non-profits, city departments and private sector businesses throughout the City of New Haven.
To participate in the program, one must meet certain requirements.
High school students:
• must be a full time high school student (report cards must be provided)
• must reside in New Haven and/or attend a New Haven Public High School
• must be a full time matriculated student
• trade schools are accepted if full time is documented
• must be a New Haven resident
• maximum age is 21
The application deadline to apply for the Youth@Work summer program is Thursday, March 28, 2013. If you’re between the ages of 14-21, you should apply as soon as possible to ensure that the Youth@Work staff has a chance to review your application and respond to you in a timely manner for your application to be submitted on-time. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.