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Read Superintendent Negrón's End of Year Letter

June 29, 2024

Dear NHPS Staff, Families, and Community,

It’s hard to believe that we’re just hours away from officially closing out the 2023-2024 school year. As I reflect on my first year as your Superintendent, I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together: 

Teaching and Learning 

As we implemented a new literacy curriculum, we worked to ensure our classroom teachers were empowered to use these instructional materials adequately to support their students. 

  • Members of the academic team responsible for curriculum and instruction conducted more than 150 structured classroom walkthroughs and visited more than 800 classrooms. The group provided constructive feedback to teachers and building leaders and identified trends to inform professional development opportunities for school staff.

  • A team of 17 academic leaders, including the superintendent, assistant superintendents, curriculum supervisors, principals, and coaches participated in a state-sponsored master class in the Science of Reading, increasing their own capacity as leaders of instruction and developing a district literacy plan. They also launched school-based literacy leadership teams in 13 elementary schools.

  • We saw growth in student literacy according to internal assessments using rubrics from  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Among students in grades 2 through 5, the proportion of students scoring at or above grade level grew from 16 percent to 32 percent from fall to spring; the proportion of students one or more grades behind dropped from 65 percent to 46 percent. In grades 6 to 8, the proportion at or above grade level grew from 23 percent to 34 percent; the proportion one or more grades behind dropped from 58 percent to 46 percent. In grades 9 through 12, the proportion at or above grade level grew from 34 percent to 45 percent; the proportion one or more grades behind dropped from 45 percent to 35 percent.


We were able to continue our progress on promoting daily attendance, but we still have more work to do. Attendance is crucial to academic success.

  • The district had a daily attendance rate of 87.4 percent, with 27 schools ranging between 87.5 percent and 94.6 percent. Chronic absenteeism–the proportion of students who were absent 10 percent or more of the time–was 37.5 percent; 21 schools had rates between 37.1 percent and 11.3 percent.

Student Support Services

In addition to their work in core academic disciplines, our students need support for their social and emotional growth.

  • To advance social and emotional learning (SEL), the Student Services team conducted mental health “first aid” training across the district to help teachers and staff recognize and support students who can benefit.

  • The team created spaces dedicated to or adaptable for SEL at all our schools.

  • We launched SEL student ambassador groups at several middle and high schools and created a Mental Health Matters student award summit.

  • We partnered to create the first student LGBTQ summit for the district.

Multilingual Learners

The number of students in the district who are learning English continues to grow, as do our efforts to support them.

  • We created a classroom at Hillhouse High School for students who have experienced limited or interrupted formal education.

  • We conducted multiple professional development sessions on sheltered instruction–a teaching method that integrates English language instruction into all academic areas–for teachers of English as a second language, as well as bilingual and general education teachers. 

  • Administrators and instructional leaders from the eight biliteracy schools teamed up to collaborate on dual language education practices.

  • We saw an increase of 1.2 points in the percentage of students meeting proficiency on the LAS Links yearly comparison.

  • A total of 185 students earned the Seal of Biliteracy, representing 12 different languages: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Kinyarwanda, Mandinka, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Somali, and Spanish.

Family Engagement

Our students learn best when there is a partnership between the school and the home. We are working to improve our communication with families and to welcome them in our schools.

  • Our outreach to families included 6,243 home visits and 10,225 telephone calls.

  • We increased services to youth and families experiencing homelessness, providing housing, food, social-emotional services, after-school support, and a Saturday Arts and Music Academy.

  • Our Title One parent engagement initiatives significantly expanded, including a robust lineup of after-school activities focused on STEM and literacy in collaboration with school-based coaches. The annual STREAM Carnival — encompassing Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math — notably increased its impact, attracting over 700 student and family participants.

  • We successfully implemented a robust care coordination strategy, focusing on the provision of wrap-around services tailored to meet the diverse needs of over 146 high-risk students and their families. This comprehensive approach integrates academic support, mental health services, and family engagement programs to create a nurturing environment that promotes the well-being and success of each student. 

  • We piloted a Welcoming Schools program, working with volunteers at the schools and from the central office. Participating schools included Benjamin Jepson Magnet School, Riverside Academy, East Rock Community Magnet School, Hill Regional Career High School, Ross Woodward Classical Studies Magnet School, Nathan Hale School, and John S. Martinez Sea and Sky STEM Magnet School.

Athletics and Physical Education

We are proud of our athletes and proud to offer all students tools that can help them live healthy lives.

  • Girls’ teams from Hillhouse High School won the indoor and outdoor state championships in track.

  • 11 student-athletes are going on to college with full athletic scholarships.

  • We updated the district’s health curriculum and created a fitness growth rubric for all students.

  • We opened the new multi-million dollar Barbarito/Marone Field at Wilbur Cross High School.

School Safety

The safety and security of our students and staff must always be our highest priority, and we are working to strengthen our efforts.

  • We increased security coverage across the district by adding staff and mobile units.

  • We conducted training for staff at 35 schools on how to respond in active shooter situations.

Teacher Hiring and Retention

We are taking steps to build our cadre of talented, certified teachers, as well as to recognize the exceptional contributions made by many.

  • We are implementing a plan to increase the diversity of our educator workforce. The plan was approved by the Board of Education and the Connecticut State Department of Education.

  • A retention committee worked with principals, teachers, assistant teachers, and staff across the district to develop a plan to retain current employees. Among the activities launched this spring were surprise celebrations of individual staff who had been nominated by their colleagues for their exceptional work.

  • A partnership with Yale University resulted in the creation of a teacher residency fellowship program. In exchange for funding to pursue masters in teaching degrees at Southern Connecticut State University, participants will commit to teaching at least three years in the New Haven Public Schools.

Professional Development

Fostering a culture of adult learning helps us ensure that we are working effectively to advance student learning.

  • Schools are now equipped with teams of educators trained to use collaborative data inquiry to drive continuous improvement of teaching and learning for all students. A total of 250 educators across all schools and departments have now been trained in DataWise protocols.

  • Administrators engaged in a yearlong book study. High school leaders read The Make or Break Year. Middle school staff studied Cultivating a Culture of Reflective Practice.

  • 98 percent of assistant principals across the district successfully completed seminars on cognitive coaching, exploring the thinking behind teaching practices.

  • The district’s executive leadership team engaged in an eight-session series on leading schools with emotional intelligence.

  • The Professional Development and Evaluation Committee reviewed and updated rubrics for teacher evaluation in alignment with state guidelines.

Career Pathways

We find that exploring a possible career goal motivates many students to succeed academically. We are working to expand the number and variety of opportunities available in high school and even middle school.

  • We created a bioscience pathway–in which students will earn university credits and explore an area of potential professional interest–in collaboration with the City of New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, Carter-Winstanley, and BioLabs.

  • We partnered with the New Haven Bioscience Collaborative to launch the inaugural Science Week in the New Haven Public Schools. The initiative supported multiple hands-on STEM related activities.

  • Students received industry certifications, including 39 emergency medical technicians, 94 certified nurses assistants, one pharmacy technician, and two medical assistants.

  • 18 students completed internships at Yale New Haven Hospital, and nine students interned in early childhood education.

  • The district offered 42 concurrent enrollment courses, in which students study with NHPS teachers certified to teach college-level courses, for college credit. This number is up from 11 such courses in 2021-22.

College Attendance

We want all of our students to gain the skills to become lifelong learners. We are working to provide those students who want to attend college with the support they need to access higher education and to succeed there.

  • 70 percent of our graduating students plan to attend two- or four-year college programs next year. That number represents a five-point increase from a year ago.

  • 71 percent of these college-going students will attend in-state. The greatest numbers of students will enroll at the University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University, or the University of New Haven.

  • 26 percent of college students will attend historically Black colleges and universities.

  • Approximately 210 to 215 students will qualify for college scholarships through New Haven Promise. Eight students will receive the James W.C. Pennington Scholarship, which provides $20,000 for each of four years at participating HBCUs.

Magnet Schools

We are proud of our strong and diverse magnet school programs. We try to offer approaches that will engage every student. It is delightful to achieve recognition for the quality of our programming.

  • Seven NHPS schools were named Merit Schools of Distinction by the Magnet Schools of America: the L.W. Beecher Museum Magnet School of Arts and Sciences, Davis Academy for Arts and Design Innovation, Engineering and Science University Magnet School, Hill Regional Career High School, John C. Daniels Interdistrict Magnet School of International Communication, John S. Martinez Sea and Sky STEM Magnet School, and Mauro Sheridan Interdistrict Magnet School.

Collaboration with Unions

It is a credit to our union leadership and to our staff that our locals are so actively engaged in addressing the opportunities and challenges that affect our work.

  • When we needed to redistribute teachers, teachers assistants, and school administrators to align better with student demographics, we partnered closely with the unions representing these groups to implement a process that adhered to their respective contracts.

  • The New Haven Federation of Teachers, in particular, collaborated with us to advocate for school funding at the local and state levels.

Funding Secured

New Haven is fortunate to have elected officials at the city, state and federal levels who actively support public education and who have done so much to help us secure crucial funding for our programs and infrastructure. We thank them, and we will continue to call on them in the days ahead.

  • Thanks to the efforts of our representatives, we secured $8.7 million to improve the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

  • We realized $7.5 million toward the cost of the new Adult Education Building, which will open at 188 Bassett Street.

  • We secured state grants that will enable us to replace HVAC systems at Edgewood and Lincoln Bassett schools.

  • We were awarded two grants to expand after-school programs at King Robinson and John S. Martinez schools for two years.

  • The Integrated Care Pilot Project at Fair Haven Family Resource Center received a $25,000 stipend from the Connecticut Department of Social Services and the Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health for its work providing treatment and remediating developmental delays among young children.

  • The district received $689,000 in Stronger Connections grants, which are used to create safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments, foster a sense of belonging and engagement in school, and improve academic outcomes and reduce violence and disciplinary actions.

Strategic Operating Plan

We are working this summer and into the fall, launching implementation of our new strategic operating plan, A Path to Excellence.

  • We developed a focused, coherent, and actionable multi-year plan to advance student achievement in the New Haven Public Schools. The work was accomplished by a team of educators, students, and community leaders in ongoing consultation with members of the larger community.

Summer Learning

We are pleased to offer a Summer Learning Academy to augment student academic success.

  • We developed a focused, coherent, and high-quality summer learning plan to advance student achievement. The program includes academic enrichment for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as course credit recovery and college coursework for high school students.

We take pride in our accomplishments during the 2023-2024 academic year, and we thank our teachers, administrators, staff, families, and community partners for the efforts that made it possible. We are busily planning for the 2024-2025 school year and look forward to many more successes in the year ahead. 

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer!


Madeline Negrón, PhD