All NHPS Schools Open, Second Year of School Change Kicks Off

Friday, September 2, 2011
Christopher Hoffman
All 21,399 New Haven Public Schools’ (NHPS) students returned to class Friday after a one-day delay at some schools caused by Hurricane Irene.
The academic year started Thursday at most schools, with opening day delayed until today at Hillhouse High School, King-Robinson School and Davis Street School because of power outages.
Kindergarten began without any hitches Friday, as scheduled, and pre-kindergarten will start Tuesday, September 6, as planned.

Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo praised NHPS staff for their hard work in getting school started so fast after the storm.
“I’m pleased that school started quickly and smoothly in spite of the storm,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo said. “The district’s central office, support and janitorial staff and administrators did a great job getting buildings ready and open. Teachers, staff and parents responded to delays with patience and understanding. Everyone did a great job.”
Mayo, meanwhile, said that he is looking forward to building on the successes of the first year of the district’s School Change reforms. School Change’s first year achievements included:
·         Overall test scores at both K-8 and high schools improved, beginning the process of closing the achievement gap;
·          Learning climates strengthened at virtually every school, setting the stage for further academic improvement;
·         The district’s landmark, rigorous teacher evaluation system, praised as a national model by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and others, was fully implemented;
·         Three low-performing schools successfully began turnarounds;
·         110 NHPS students received the first New Haven Promise college scholarships.
“I’m excited about this, the second year of our School Change reforms,” Mayo said. “We had a banner year in 2010-11. I look forward to taking School Change to the next level this year.
“I want to credit the district’s teachers, students, parents, administrators and staff for last year’s successes, including higher test scores. I’m especially proud that we worked cooperatively with teachers and others to improve education for New Haven’s children.
“I welcome students, parents and staff back to school and urge everyone to redouble our efforts to make New Haven’s public schools a model for the nation.”
The district’s goals for the coming school year include continuing and accelerating improvement in test scores – speeding closure of the achievement gap – further strengthening school learning environments and increasing the number of high school graduates who qualify for New Haven Promise scholarships.
Two more low-performing schools – Wexler-Grant School and Clemente Leadership Academy – will begin turnarounds this school year, intensive efforts to significantly improve test scores and school climates. Wexler-Grant’s staff was reconstituted. An outside provider, Renaissance School Services, will operate Clemente, whose staff was also reconstituted.
The differing turnaround techniques are part of School Change’s Portfolio of Schools approach under which the district is open to any method that will improve student learning.
This year also marks the first full year for the new Davis Street School building. The school will hold its official dedication at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 8.
Other changes include a new principal, Nadine Gannon, at King-Robinson School. Gannon was previously an assistant principal at Hillhouse High School.
Frank Constanzo is the new principal of Cooperative Arts & Humanities (COOP) High School. Constanzo served late last year as interim principal of Clemente Leadership Academy. Before that, he was a COOP assistant principal.