Hartford — The state Department of Education has invited Norwich Public Schools and three other districts to be considered for the Commissioner’s Network for the 2012-13 school year.
Schools in the Norwich, Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven districts — which have been identified as “in need of improvement” under the federal No Child Left Behind law for four or more years — each submitted applications for the program, according to a press release from the state education department Friday.
The plan for the John B. Stanton School in Norwich is to “focus on building effective home-school collaborations that will ensure high expectations and elevated achievement for all students in order to close the achievement gap,” according to the press release. “This collaboration will build strong, respectful relationships between the school and families; and develop a strong sense of community and shared responsibility for decision-making within the school while monitoring and adjusting to meet the changing needs of students and their families.”
“This opens doors for us on a much larger scale because, you know what? There is no time to wait. This is urgent,” Norwich Superintendent of Schools Abby Dolliver said Friday.
In all four schools named Friday, more than 75 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to the state.
The creation of the Commissioner’s Network came with the recent signing of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform legislation. The new law allows Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor to intervene in 25 of the state’s lowest-performing school districts.
Dolliver said that while Norwich’s selection into the network isn’t final, she is optimistic that the development of their turnaround plan for the Stanton School, which will “have a huge impact on student achievement and family involvement,” will make them a strong contender for inclusion.
“When the state sent us applications for consideration into the network, I filled it out right away,” Dolliver said. “Because of this selection, we get to continue building our success.”
According to the network guidelines, most of the selected schools will participate for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, but a limited number will be considered to join the for 2012-13.
“Superficial reforms haven’t worked. These schools have been nominated by their districts because they have been struggling to improve their performance for years,” Pryor said in the release. “Today we are asking each of these districts to reach beyond the surface in order to take the dramatic steps necessary to turn these schools around and help their students achieve at high levels.”
A final selection of the schools in the network for 2012-13 will be released by the state later this summer.