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Oct 212012
 

Arbitration hearings were held last weekend, Friday October 12th- Sunday October 14th between the Board of Education and Norwalk Federation of Teachers at City Hall.

Attached  is a  report prepared by Tom Hamilton, Director of Finance regarding  City’s Financial Capability Relative to Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Our school budget is likely to be further constrained going forward.  Additionally, any shift in taxes, resulting from the forthcoming revaluation may well exacerbate the City’s budget.  All this points to the need for a strong Superintendent and  much better supervision of the public school system by the Board of Education.

2012 Ability to Pay – binding arbitration testimony

Oct 182012
 

Wireless Generation products are currently being trialed at 3 elementary schools for reading assessment and instruction.  Fox Run, and Marvin started using the m Class software last year following receipt of  private foundation grants.   Jefferson is starting this year with more trial deployments planned across Norwalk’s elementary schools, following receipt of  grant monies.

Wireless Generation is an educational and  instructional software company that  delivers innovative  tools, systems and services directed at improving student achievement, helping schools implemented innovative organizational changes, and delivering professional development to teaching staff.  The company has developed instructional and assessment software tools in both reading and math, as well as other assessment tools designed to assist teaching staff with  delivery of  individualized instruction to students.

NPS is currently trialing their  m Class reading 3D software which is directly at observational reading and assessment software for grades K–5.  It fuses best practices across a variety of pedagogical approaches by combining a running record of  text and reading diagnostics with quick indicators of foundational skills development.  The end result is a  complete picture of a students’  reading comprehension.

Click below to read more about the company and its products.

Wireless Generation

 

Oct 082012
 

Say hello to Connecticut’s new School Performance Indicator system.

In spring 2012, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) applied for flexibility from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB )of 2001.

On May 29, 2012, the CSDE received approval from the U.S. Department of Education.  The approved waiver application establishes a new accountability system for Connecticut and replaces the  annual yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB with  new CT-designed annual performance targets.  The new system also replaces the  NCLB sanctions for schools and districts with CT-determined interventions.   In simple terms, the academic bar has been raised, in exchange for Connecticut’s release from NCLB  guidelines and in anticipation of the transition that the state will experience when the new Common Core State Standards and associated testing take effect in 2014-15.

Some of the major changes between the NCLB legislation and Connecticut’s new performance indicators include:

  • Under NCLB the target was Proficient -> the new target is Goal
  • Under NCLB only math and reading counted -> the new target looks at math, reading, writing and science
  • Under NCLB the state focused on capturing progress from Basic to Proficient -> the new targets count progress between all levels
  • Under NCLB school progress was only measured by standardized test scores -> the new targets also measure high school graduation rates

As with any new state education accountability system, its complicated, but the takeaway is that the academic bar is being raised.

For more information click on the presentation  below that was presented at both the District Data Management Team and Board of Education meetings this month.

School Performance Indicators 2012 testing

For more information about Connecticut’s Accountability System, you can go on the State Department of Education website:

http://www.sde.ct.gov and Go to Quick Links and select:  Elementary and Secondary Education Act

 

Oct 082012
 

On Thursday, October 4th, the Board of Education met with three superintendent search firms:  Proact Search, Ray & Associates and Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.

Below are the presentations and information provided by the three  different firms.  The Board is expected to render a decision on the search firm later this month.

 

Norwalk_SuperintendentSearch – PROACT

Ray and Associates – What sets us apart

Ray and Associates – National Flip Chart

SuperSearchFlowChartPhases

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Typical Search_Pamphlet_no flow

Oct 082012
 

The Norwalk Federation of Teachers Contract Arbitration will take place on Friday, October 12, 10am to 4pm; Saturday, October 13, 10am to 4pm and Sunday, October 14, 1pm to 6pm in Norwalk City Hall, Room 300.

This is a formal hearing before an arbitration panel that will take testimony only from witnesses designated by the Board of Education and the NFT.

There will be no public comments permitted although the public may attend to observe the proceedings.

Agendas for the three day hearings will be published when released.

Oct 082012
 

It was revealed at the Board of Education (BoE) meeting  last week and reported in The Hour 10/4/12, that the Norwalk BoE was going to go on a retreat,  in and effort to discuss their mission and objectives, improve teamwork and help with the superintendent search process. The board would also conduct a self-evaluation.  A new budget process schedule was announced as well.

See the  retreat proposal, self evaluation form and budget schedule for 2013-14 outlined in the BoE  Information and Reports for October 2, 2012.

BoE Info 10-2-12 1

 

Oct 082012
 

 

October 3, 2012CONTACT:
Patrick Riccards, Chief Executive Officer
patrick.riccards@conncan.org
Office: (203) 772-4017, ext. 15
Mobile: (203) 535-5978

New Study: Connecticut Can Close its Nation-Leading Achievement Gaps by 2020

Innovative New Report from ConnCAN Describes What is Necessary to Close the Gaps on Student Performance, Graduation Rates, and SAT Scores Across State and in Alliance Districts

NEW HAVEN – Today, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) released The Roadmap, a groundbreaking guide to closing Connecticut’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gaps. The Roadmap offers a student-centered approach to closing the gaps – gaps that up until now seemed virtually impossible to close.

This report focuses on the state’s 30 lowest-performing districts (“Alliance Districts” as identified by the State Department of Education), using CMT/CAPT data, graduation rates, and SAT scores, to determine the exact number of students that need to improve every year. If districts are able accomplish this feat, the achievement gaps will be closed by 2020.

“The thing that distinguishes this report from others is that we’ve moved away from percentages and statistics, and instead zeroed in on what matters most – actual students,” said ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards. “This is truly a solution-based approach to confronting our state’s achievement gaps.”

“Statewide, if two out of every 100 kids improve every year from below grade-level to at or above grade-level, we will close our achievement gaps by 2020,” Riccards said. “This year, my daughter started kindergarten in Connecticut public schools. If we follow this roadmap, by the time she starts high school, we should see our state’s achievement gaps gone.”

ConnCAN set target goals for each district:

  • 80 percent of all students at or above goal on CMT/CAPT;
  • 90 percent high school graduation rate; and
  • An average SAT score for all students of 1,550 (out of a total score of 2,400).

“Without taking deliberate and specific actions, at the current rate of progress, it will take nearly 60 years to close Connecticut’s achievement gaps at the elementary and middle school level, and more than 100 years to close the gaps at the high school level,” Riccards said. “But if we take a student-centered approach and focus on the kids in our public schools, we can close the gaps in just eight years. These are ambitious goals, yes, but they are both reasonable and achievable if we commit to it.”

“Let me be clear: we fully acknowledge that moving a low-performing student up to grade level is an incredible challenge that cannot be overstated or underestimated. It takes hard work, creativity, and dedication from all involved,” Riccards said. “We don’t believe this is an easy task, but we do believe that there is nothing more important than ensuring that every Connecticut student – regardless of race, family income, or zip code – succeeds. These numbers offer a compelling pathway for closing the gaps, providing boards of education and superintendents with clear metrics to measure their efforts to provide a great public education to all kids.”

Read The Roadmap here: http://conncan.org/theroadmap

###

The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) is an advocacy organization building a movement of concerned Connecticut citizens working to create fundamental change in our education system. To learn more, visit: www.conncan.org.

 

 

Oct 082012
 

The SAT Report on College and Career Readiness is attached.

Main Points:

  • Participation rates are at an all-time high and was the most diverse
  • Test scores are down
  • Approximately 1.66 million students took the SAT
  1. 52 % of the Class of 2012 up 6% from 2008
  2. 45 %  minority students (up from 38 percent in 2008)
  3. 28% reported that English was not their exclusive first language (up four percentage points from 2008)
  4. 36 % reported that their parents’ highest level of education was a high school diploma or less.

The SAT has 3 sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. Each section is scored from 200 to 800. A perfect score is 2400.

The mean subject scores:

Critical reading = 496  (down four points from 2008—and down a whopping thirty-four points from 1972)

Math =  514 in math (consistent since 2008 but down from a peak of 520 in 2005)

Writing = 488  (down five points from 2008 peak )

sat-report-college-career-readiness-2012