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Nov 152011

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) state governments are the single most powerful authority over the teaching profession. Whether through rules or regulation approved by state boards of education or professional standards boards, executive orders issued by state school chiefs or laws passed by legislatures, state authority is far reaching. State policies have an impact on who decides to enter teaching, who stays—and everything in between.

NCTQ tracks and analyzes states’ teacher policies, including key areas such as teacher preparation, evaluation, alternative certification and compensation, and offers recommendations for policy improvements to help advance teacher quality throughout the country.

The National Council on Teacher Quality advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers.Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council on Teacher Quality was founded in 2000 to provide an alternative national voice to existing teacher organizations, and build the case for a comprehensive reform agenda that would challenge the current structure and regulation of the profession.

Key 2010 Findings:

Because of the federal Race to the Top competition, 2010 was not a typical year in teacher policy. Almost every state entered the race, and their efforts to be competitive and secure some of the $4.3 billion in federal funds led to a number of significant new laws and regulations.  However,
  • Most states’ evaluation, tenure and dismissal policies remain disconnected from classroom effectiveness.
  • Requirements for teacher preparation too often fail to ensure teacher candidates have the most critical knowledge and skills.
  • In almost every state, licensure requirements do not ensure that teachers know the subject matter they will teach.
  • Rather than working to expand the teacher pipeline, many states create obstacles in their alternate routes to certification.
Click below to view the how the State of Connecticut stacks up against the rest of the county .



Nov 142011

The economic implications of a poorly educated student body have long been documented and sadly, Connecticut boasts the largest achievement gap in the country.  With 9% unemployment in the state of Connecticut, the business sector has stepped up its efforts for advocacy of education reform emphasizing the need for leadership, accountability and achievement.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) represents the business and civic voices for reform aimed at closing the achievement gap in Connecticut and raising academic outcomes for all students.

CCER is a non-profit, state-wide organization created to:

  • Facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the CT Commission on Educational Achievement;
  • Create awareness of CT’s achievement gap and how it affects students and the state’s economy;
  • Work with state leaders, lawmakers, and school districts to change policies, and take action towards true education reform;
  • Research and track the reform progress and best practices throughout the state, as well as identify areas of improvement;
  • Support innovative initiatives to build momentum and capacity for education reform efforts.

Check out their website: Connecticut Council For Education Reform

Nov 102011

Last Spring, the Superintendent conducted a School Climate Survey.  While not perfect, it was a first for the Norwalk Public School District, insofar as it categorically asked questions to all NPS staff and parents, across the district, in order to elicit stakeholder feedback to improve our schools.

The response rate included:

  • 1189 staff members (mainly teachers)  80% response rate
  • 1050 parents – 20% response rate (although response rates varied by school)
  • 90.8% of respondents identified themselves as white

The surveys were intended to  help school leaders understand what parents and staff see as the strengths and weaknesses of their school’s learning environment.

Respondents were asked their satisfaction with ten key areas: Student Learning/Progress, Staff/Student Expectations, Professional Development, Technology, Safety and Security,  School Leadership, School Atmosphere, Facilities, School Meals, and Transportation.

Another School Climate Survey will be conducted next spring and NPS staff hope to include measures that increase the response rate from parents in the community, especially the African American and Hispanic communities.

Below is a District Level Summary of the Survey.  A detailed breakdown (by individual school) of the district results can be found by clicking on the Norwalk Public School website.


Norwalk Public SchoolsSurveys11111




Nov 022011

Mr. Matthew Nittoly, Director of Side by Side Charter School and Emily Lopez, Principal of Columbus Magnet School, are pleased to announce plans for a professional development workshop on Tuesday November 8, that will bring teachers, assistant teachers and administrators from both Side by Side Charter School and Columbus Magnet School together for two half day sessions that uniquely correlate to the Bank Street Curriculum and constructivist roots of the mission of both schools. The first session will be facilitated by staff developers Betsy Grob and Mollie Welsh-Kruger from Bank Street College and will explore both the role and definition of “intentional teaching in the constructivist classroom.” The other half day will engage teachers in a discussion on the “Art of Questioning” – using questions to promote rigorous, critical thinking in our students and will feature a dynamic presentation by Christopher Eaves, artistic director of eavesdrop®, a New York City theatre and arts education collective. Both schools view this collaboration as a wonderful cost sharing opportunity and a prelude to meaningful professional dialogue between the teaching staffs of both schools.





Evelyn Quigley, Parent Community Coordinator

Side by Side Charter School

10 Chestnut Street

Norwalk, Ct 06854

203-857-0306, x130