Success for All

Ensuring Academic Outcomes for Unique Student Populations in Hartford Public Schools
September 2015

We know all students have their own individual strengths and challenges. As educators, our goal is to help our students achieve success. Unfortunately, our district is failing two unique student populations that have been historically underserved: students with special needs and English language learners. For decades, our education system has perpetuated achievement gaps that prohibit our most vulnerable students from reaching their potential.

Currently in Hartford Public Schools, efforts to individualize learning for unique student populations focus on accommodations, or providing students with the tools they need to work within the existing curriculum and education structure. We believe the district should further its efforts by adopting student-centered approaches to learning. This will help teachers ensure that students are placed on their individualized paths toward success because they allow for a higher degree of specialized instruction and also offer instruction through multiple learning styles for greater access to content.

In addition, we believe Student Support Plans (SSPs) can be improved to fully live up to their potential in addressing unique student needs. And, while teacher development time is built into our district’s union contract, we have not yet used this time effectively to promote meaningful teacher collaboration, especially among general educators and teachers who specialize in unique student populations.

Recommendations:

  • Increase our focus on the growth of the child and meeting individual student needs.

  • Provide teachers with opportunities for meaningful and effective collaboration, especially between general education teachers and teachers specializing in unique student populations.

  • Enact co-teaching pilots to drive positive student outcomes through better instructional practices.

  • Build stronger partnerships between parents and educators and empowering parents as partners.

  • Hold ourselves accountable to academic growth for unique student populations.

Pillars to ensuring success for all students

About the Teacher Policy Team

We are a diverse group of 11 Hartford teachers who met for six weeks to review research on school climate and discipline. To develop our policy recommendations, we conducted interviews, held focus groups and surveyed our colleagues. In total, we gathered feedback from over 200 educators.

Stuart Beckford
Fine Arts Teacher and Union Representative at Burr School
Paul Griswold
High School English Teacher at Bulkeley High School Upper School
Danielle Knobloch
High School English Teacher at Bulkeley High School Upper School
Kristen Luckawicz
Elementary School Teacher at Parkville Community School
Lauren Midgette
High School English Teacher at Bulkeley High School Upper School
Tara Phillippi
Elementary School Teacher at Parkville Community School
Syeita Rhey
Elementary School Teacher and Union Representative at Burr School
Debra St. Germain
Special Education Teacher and Union Representative at Bulkeley High School Lower School
Justin Taylor
High School Social Studies Teacher at Bulkeley High School Upper School
Wendy Turek
High School Science Teacher at Bulkeley High School Lower School
Chelsea Usher
High School English Teacher at High School Inc.