June 4, 2015

Hartford Superintendent Narvaez joins Educators 4 Excellence-Connecticut teachers to discuss improving academic outcomes among unique student populations

E4E Members Address Best Practices and Policy Recommendations Identified Through Extensive Local Educator Outreach in New Report, “Success for All”

June 4, 2015 (Hartford) - Educators 4 Excellence-Connecticut, a teacher-led organization that seeks to elevate the voices of teachers in policy discussions, hosted a conversation at Real Art Ways with Hartford Superintendent of Schools Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Ed.D. on improving academic services for unique student populations.

“Research proves that with the right teaching tools, any student – including English-language learners and students with disabilities – can excel and achieve,” said co-Founder and co-CEO of Educators 4 Excellence Evan Stone. “The E4E members who worked on this report are glad to know that Superintendent Narvaez is listening, and that Hartford recognizes the need to prioritize services for students with unique needs.”

The policy recommendations, written over eight weeks by a group of working classroom teachers, draw on several sources: insights and classroom experience from local educators; the results from over 150 focus groups, school visits, and individual conversations with Hartford educators and stakeholders; a survey of more than 180 Hartford Public School educators across diverse content areas, grade levels, and teaching backgrounds; and research on best practices in other districts.

“As a teacher, I believe all students can learn as long as they have the right resources and supports from properly trained educators,” said Tara Phillippi, a teacher at Parkville Community School. “It is our hope and dream to fulfill our recommendations to benefit a greater strength for Hartford’s unique student populations. All of us – teacher, parents, and students – want to make sure that this unique group of kids succeeds in the years ahead. I’m so thrilled that Superintendent Narvaez is here showing her commitment to making our schools work for everyone.”

Specifically, the report, Success for All: Ensuring Academic Outcomes for Unique Student Populations in Hartford Public Schools, calls for:

  • Individualization. The district should support principals and teachers to individualize instruction through student-centered instructional approaches, student success plans, and streamlined data systems.
  • Collaboration. The district should invest in teacher collaboration, particularly between general education teachers and teachers specializing in unique student populations. This can include co-teaching and collaborative learning time.
  • Parent empowerment. The district should provide readily accessible information that is jargon-free and available in our families’ native languages. The district should consistently hold School Governance Council meetings with representation of parents of children with unique needs. Targeted information and dedicated resources can build stronger partnerships between families and school staff.
  • Accountability.  The district should redesign its portfolio model to include data presentations that include specific reporting on students with unique needs, and regularly conducted school walk-throughs that include observation of programs, practices, and instructional results for unique student populations to help drive academic growth.

“Hartford teachers are dedicated to an often overlooked group of students, working in their own time to develop a real plan of action,” Stone added. “I want to thank them for their leadership, and encourage the Hartford Public School District to put their ideas into action.”