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New London school board may approve operating plan goals tonight

By Julianne Hanckel

Publication: The Day

Published February 28. 2013 4:00AM

New London - Members of the Board of Education are expected to approve the goals and strategies of the Strategic Operating Plan tonight, solidifying the magnet school concept for the school district.

The operating plan, a condition of state intervention, will become the district's road map for raising student achievement over the next three years.

Implementation of the Strategic Operating Plan will begin next school year, and the board has already approved its vision, theory of action and measures.

Among the major goals and strategies contained in the plan are the development of three magnet school pathways in visual and performing arts, dual literacy and culture, and science, technology engineering and math (STEM).

Special Master Steven Adamowski has proposed changes to the high school that would round out the magnet district plan: New London Core High School would consist of the existing Science and Technology Magnet High School and three other school buildings, one downtown and two on the current campus.

Board Chairwoman Margaret Curtin said Wednesday she expects approval of the magnet concept and that options for specific magnet school themes or pathways remain open.

"We will have forums for parents to see exactly what kind of concept of themes they want," she said. "We're looking at a couple already, but I'd like to know what other people think."

Options include a sports medicine, scholar-athlete magnet school that has been proposed by the city's mayor, and a maritime arts and industry school endorsed by OpSail Connecticut. Curtin said residents have proposed international language and commerce themes.

"The feedback on the magnet schools themselves has been very positive," Curtin said. "Everybody says to me, you've got to do it."

Also contained in the Strategic Operating Plan is the development of an academically gifted program for students in the fourth through eighth grades.

Last week, Dr. Joseph Renzulli of the University of Connecticut announced that New London was selected as one of three school districts in the state to open an academy for gifted and talented students. Details are not final, but the superintendent of schools has said the academy will open to New London students next fall.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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Goals of the Strategic Operating Plan

1. Create a regional system of high-performing, effective schools.

2. Improve teacher and leader quality, diversity and retention.

3. Improve instruction for all students.

4. Increase parental and community involvement and support.

5. Remove barriers to low performance.

6. Create a stable system of support that sustains New London's schools and maximizes the use of public resources.

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