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Plan Would Divide Up, Overhaul Hillhouse High

by Melissa Bailey | Apr 25, 2014 3:03 pm

(22) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Schools

Melissa Bailey Photo Thomas MacMillan Photo A new plan for Hillhouse High calls for hiring two new principals to run schools-within-a-school, separated by physical barriers, and shifting half of the student body away from the supervision of Principal Kermit Carolina.

That proposal is outlined in applications for a state grant money submitted by New Haven school officials this month.

Attached to the proposal is an audit detailing long-standing problems that make a case for overhauling the school.

New Haven is asking for $1 million in state money to revamp the physical building and the academic program at Hillhouse. The request includes $500,000 in state bonding to build two lab spaces—a “Fabrication Lab” and Design Shop with a 3-D printer and other equipment; and a Public Safety Lab equipped with a firefighter’s pole—to fit the new schools’ themes.

The state money would supplement a proposed $1.7 million plan to hire 10 new teachers, four new administrators, and a host of new technology to staff two new autonomous academies at Hillhouse.

The IDEA Academy and the Law, Public Safety and Health Academy would each be led by a principal, a project director, a dean of students, and a team of teachers assigned only to that academy. They would operate independently but would technically still be part of Hillhouse High.

The idea isn’t new: Just four years ago, Hillhouse created four “small learning communities” as part of a different state-funded turnaround plan. Those academies never became true schools-within-a-school, Harries said, in part due to space limitations and a lack of teachers.

The new plan calls for scrapping the existing “small learning communities” and creating new academies that would have more autonomy and a stronger academic theme, Harries said. The plan calls for hiring two new principals this month to begin work on the academies, which would start this fall with 240 students in the 9th and 10th grades; each would grow to include 480 students in grades 9 to 12 in a self-contained school.

Carolina, who currently oversees the entire Hillhouse High School, would be put in charge of an “Upperclassmen Academy” comprising just the 11th and 12th grades, according to Harries.

The point of the proposal is to make Hillhouse an attractive choice for kids instead of a default option. Harries said the new academies aim to give kids a “personal experience” with classes that relate to their lives.

“We want Hillhouse to be a place where students are well-known” and receive “purposeful, meaningful and deliberate instruction,” Harries said.

Harries stressed that the plan submitted for the state grant is not set in stone; the proposal may change.

In an interview this week, Carolina endorsed the changes.

“We’re at the next phase of our school transformation,” he said.

The Audit

The new plan comes on the heels of an internal audit that revealed low levels of classroom rigor, concerns about high absenteeism, and some dissent among teachers about a lack of “unity” among staff. The audit makes the case for why Hillhouse, a 960-student comprehensive high school, needs a dramatic overhaul. A team of school system higher-ups, led by Director of Instruction Iline Tracey, conducted the audit by visiting the school and reviewing data on April 2 and 3.

Click here to read the audit.

Hillhouse scored “proficient” (a 3 out of 4) for its “leadership effectiveness,” student behavior, family engagement, support of special populations, and the existence of adequate instructional time. It scored “developing” (2 of 4) in most other categories, and “below standard” in student attendance and in differentiation of instruction to different levels of kids.

Hillhouse, founded in 1859, is “noted for its athletic achievement,” the audit begins. Its graduation rate and other academic data are “trending up,” but it remains one of the state’s lowest-performing schools on standardized tests.

The audit notes some troubling statistics: For every 10 students who enter the school, fewer than six finish in four years; 42 percent of kids are chronically absent (missing over 10 percent of school days); and 69 percent of kids have a D or an F on their transcript.

Classroom Rigor

 

A series of classroom visits found that students were “ritually compliant” and learning “passively,” the audit states. “The level of rigor was average. There is a sense of sacrificing content to maintain order.” Teachers asked students “yes or no” questions instead of challenging them to think hard.

Most teachers “were observed doing all the work,” instead of running a student-focused lesson. “Some students reported that the material is recycled from middle school and that the work is not challenging.”

In some classes, students were “engaged in their work.” One did not want to leave the room before finishing the task at hand. In others, kids were bored.

“I disrupt a certain class because it is boring, and I was never that kind of student,” one student told auditors.

“Staff did not take responsibility for the lack of learning or failure,” the audit found. “Both students and teachers alluded to the content being watered down.”

Teachers are respectful to students, the audit found. “However, there is a dynamic of not wanting to demand too much from students for fear of upsetting them.”

“Most teachers in this building have high expectations for kids,” Carolina responded in an interview this week. “Unfortunately, there are teachers in this building who need to develop” higher expectations.

“We have some teachers who are in need of serious improvement,” Carolina said of the concerns about academic rigor. “We’re working very hard to address those issues. That’s part of the transformation at Hillhouse.” He said the low-performance of a few teachers should not reflect poorly on the “majority of teachers” who are doing their job well.

Absenteeism

Carolina and teachers interviewed for the audit cited rampant student absenteeism as a major obstacle to teaching kids.

Teachers said kids’ chronic tardiness and absenteeism means they fall behind and have trouble catching up.

Carolina shared some recent stats at this week’s citywide “Youth Stat” meeting: 440 students have been tardy at least 20 days this school year. Twenty-five kids have missed over 20 days of school. Student attendance hovers around 88 percent, as it has for several years.

“Most of the failures are the product of an empty chair,” Carolina said at the meeting. He said the school has trouble tracking down parents, because their cell phone numbers change and they are “disengaged” from their kids’ education.

A small survey of students gave auditors mixed reviews of the school. One student reported, “I love the school because teachers care, and the principal has high expectations for us”. Another said she wants to transfer out because “the work is too easy.”

Challenges

Thomas MacMillan Photo The audit rates the school’s “leadership effectiveness” as “proficient.” It cites positive feedback from parents, and places emphasis on factors outside of the control of Principal Carolina (pictured at a recent gathering of high-school role models and middle-schoolers) control—common challenges of running a comprehensive urban high school.

Unlike magnet and charter schools, Hillhouse accepts mid-year transfers the entire year. It is the default school for kids who live in the western half of the city and who fail out of other schools or strike out in the magnet lottery.

The school has a “revolving door” of students, and the “gangs, drugs and gun issues” in the community spill over into the school, the audit states. The audit notes that Hillhouse has become a dumping ground not just for students but also for teachers and administrators who struggle in other environments.

Teachers most often join the school late in the summer. The district sends them to Hillhouse when they are displaced from other schools. When Carolina took over in 2010, the school had four “displaced administrators,”  two of whom have since been “removed,” the audit states.

Carolina said he has brought higher expectations to Hillhouse and has faced some pushback from some staff.

“There’s been some resistance to the changes in this building. There’s a higher expectation for more to be done,” he said. “In years past, the only expectation that some had for this building was to keep a cap on the problems in this building”—in other words, make sure kids didn’t fight. “This is a different mindframe.”

Carolina this year hired two new administrators, Zakiyyah Baker and Heriberto “Eddie” Cordero, who are leading the freshman and sophomore academies. The audit reports that the school is doing better at evaluating teachers, and has a more cohesive administrative team, with those new leaders in place.

Teacher Feedback

Teachers interviewed by auditors cited concerns about how the school is run.

Teachers reported that they don’t get any school-wide professional development or time to collaborate with staff from different grade levels.

“Teachers seem anxious about the central body of authority [of the school] and cite there is no unity,” the audit also found.

Carolina later replied that that remark “does not reflect the opinion overall of teachers in this building.”

Teachers also expressed concern not only about student tardiness, but about making sure kids are in class when they do show up. “Even students who come to school are often not in class, according to a few teachers interviewed.”

Carolina said the school has made huge strides, including in boosting its graduation rate, reducing the number of suspensions, and increasing parental involvement under his tenure. He acknowledged the school still “has a long way to go.”

2 New “Academies”

Melissa Bailey After outlining these challenges, the district made a case for why the state should invest $1 million in revamping the school.

The plan asks for $250,000 to train and hire staff for each “academy” and another $500,000 to outfit the physical space. Each academy would start this fall with 120 freshmen and 120 sophomores.

The Hillhouse IDEA Academy would focus on “Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, and Action.” It would aim to “unleash the inventor, designer, entrepreneur and technician that exists within our students.” Students would do lots of hands-on projects that “connect learning to real-world problems.”

The Hillhouse Law, Public Safety and Health Academy would target students who want to become cops, firefighters, or other law enforcement officials, or work in homeland security or health care. Students would study topics like forensics, computer security, hydraulics and criminal psychology.

Students in the two academies would get a lot of extra time in school. They would start with a four-week summer session, take just a two-week summer break, then return to Hillhouse for a two-week orientation before school. Students in the two academies would attend school for seven hours per day. Twice a week, students would stay after school until 6 p.m. in a career-focused program.

Each academy would be headed up by a principal—likely two of the assistant principals already working in the school. The school has two “principals on special assignment,” Leroy Williams and Andre Duprey, who plan to retire this summer from $130,000-plus jobs, freeing up some money that could pay for the internal promotions.

Harries said creating new principal positions at Hillhouse would create an important career pathway for rising leaders within the schools. He said the new principals would not report to Carolina; they would be principals of their own schools. Carolina would be in charge of the Upperclassmen Academy, which would work to prepare 11th and 12th graders for college and career. That academy would be phased out as the IDEA and Public Safety academies grew to include the upper grades.

All three “academies” would still be part of Hillhouse High in name, but school district proposes physically separating them through new partitions and separate entrances.

That has prompted some concern that Hillhouse would lose its sense of identify and family.

Michelle Edmonds-Sepulveda (pictured at the top of the story), president of the school’s PTO, said she doesn’t have a problem with the physical barriers. But “I want to make sure that it remains a whole school.”

She said parents are already talking about ways to hold joint parent events so that Hillhouse “maintains its identity as one school.” She said she also believes that Hillhouse should retain one leader who oversees and works with the principals of the academies—which is contrary to the plan Harries described.

Students in all three academies would still be part of Hillhouse and would play sports on the same teams, according to Tracey.

Harries said he has heard concerns that splitting up Hillhouse would take away its identity.

“We want to celebrate Hillhouse’s long history, while recognizing that kids may need a personal experience,” he said.

Edmonds-Sepulveda spoke up at a recent school board meeting, protesting that parents were not consulted on the grant application submitted to the state.

Announcement of the new plans also drew some criticism from teachers in a meeting two weeks ago, according to a teacher present in the room. Some teachers expressed a feeling of déjà vu: Just four years ago, they learned of a rushed plan to split the school up into four smaller parts; why scramble to do that again to try to chase new money? Others expressed skepticism that the plans to significantly change the school’s physical plan could realistically be complete before the fall.

Harries responded that the district was working under a tight deadline to send in the grant applications, and plans to include parents, teachers and students in the planning process going forward.

“We want to include parents, we want to include teachers,” he said, “but ultimately we need to be at a place where Hillhouse continues to rise.”

He said the grant applications do not give a definitive picture of what changes will occur at the school; it is “one version” of potential changes there. He said the school system will move forward with some version of those plans if it strikes out on the state grants.

 

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posted by: Webblog1 on April 25, 2014  3:58pm

This story is very disturbing and contains too much information to absorb and disseminate. Harries and the BOE repeatedly believe they can spend their way out of a complete failure.

Judging from the student’s response alone they are not even on a sustainable path towards effective learning.

I hope the state bonding commission rejects this new proposal, if only because the New Alliance funding ($3.8M) currently in place, which supports the elimination, and or, alleviates the negative barriers to learning at Hillhouse the audit points out.

They call this school the Academics, home of champions..Please

Enough is enough…produce in place, or get this whole crew outta here…

posted by: connecticutcontrarian on April 25, 2014  4:06pm

I am offended by the constant experimenting that occurs in schools where students need stability and consistency the most. There is a crisis within these schools that demands students be treated as people whose lives have meaning rather than as lab rats used to collect data for some future administrator’s bogus Ed.D. thesis. Will Carolina continue to earn a high salary given that his oversight will dramatically decrease? What happened with the plans to move Hyde into the building? Where is the mythical unicorn known as transparency? ?

posted by: Noteworthy on April 25, 2014  4:27pm

Silly, baseless, throw it at a wall and see if it sticks idea. When you don’t know what to do, have not a clue, ask the state for money, hire more people, do more construction, dumb down the curriculum - and in a few years, do it all over again.

It’s time to just say no to more experiments. Breaking a large school into smaller learning units isn’t working? Why not? Do they know why it’s not working? The state just gave Cross a bunch of money to do the small learning thing a couple of years ago - how is that working or is the BOE getting ready to ask the state for some more makeover money on that school too?

I get the distinct impression that the BOE and is central leadership is at a total freaking loss. Given the amount of money they get to operate our schools - north of $20K a year, that’s unacceptable.

posted by: Threefifths on April 25, 2014  5:09pm

Like I said Get ready for this.

Invasion Of The Charter Schools.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-01-30/news/Eva-Moskowitz-Bloomberg-Charter-Schools/

posted by: connecticutcontrarian on April 25, 2014  5:27pm

Isn’t Hyde supposed to focus on health science and sports medicine?  Why duplicate that specialized interest in a separate academy at another school?  Where is the district’s focus on providing meaningful opportunities for high achieving students who are often overlooked by teachers who have to deal with classroom disyractions? Why not transform one of these multi million dollar schools into a dedicated space for gifted and talented students in lower grades?? Don’t they deserve innovation and investment as well?

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on April 25, 2014  5:27pm

Frankly, the buzzword “Academy” is starting to smell.  It seems to mean a school with a gimmick that will sucker working-poor parents into thinking it offers a rigorous education, when actually it’s somebody’s latest untested bright idea or some for-profit corporation’s pet project.  And so many of them seem to have a rather short half-life.

Whatever happened to plain old SCHOOL, and all that it is supposed to mean?

posted by: mm on April 25, 2014  6:05pm

Any excuse to hire more administrators instead of spending money on more teachers or the students.

New Haven has run out of school buildings to place new principals, so why not just double up and have more than one principal in a building.

Time for an elected board of education instead of mayor appointed puppets who go along with all this insanity.

posted by: mstratton on April 25, 2014  7:02pm

There is a credibility gap here. In the site based budget that was submitted just weeks ago, the boe and harries describe hillhouse like this “hillhouse has transformed itself from one comprehensive school into four small learning communities. The smaller school environment enables each staff member to know the needs, interests and aspirations of each student.”

Now just weeks later and before their budget is approved, harries says that this actually never really worked because there wasn’t enough staff and the design of the school was poor. Why two different conclusions from same person? Because money dictates the opinion. When asking for more cash from the city, they claim it’s working great. The school has been “transformed”. But incredibly When asking the state for money, they claim it’s a failure and a different approach will “transform” the school. Talk about the need for character education!

posted by: ohnonotagain on April 25, 2014  7:12pm

Shame on the BOE and shame on Mayor Harp for not stepping up to the plate and making it clear that this is no solution. And these students deserve more than such a ridiculous plan every time something isn’t going well. Out with the incompetent!

posted by: mstratton on April 25, 2014  7:30pm

So what’s the problem at hill house? These kids need lower student teacher ratios but all the money goes to 110,000 plus a year administrators. Why? these are the kids whose parents generally aren’t as active as those in other schools so having teachers and paraprofessionals who really know them is critical. This can’t happen at 25-1 ratios.  How can we make a lower ratio happen? The reality is The city has no power to tell boe how to run their schools. This is a major flaw in state law that keeps residents from having power to veto poor resource management.

But we can hold back part of our massive city contribution until the boe shows that they can better manage their 400 million annual budget. Remember the whole city budget after giving 38% to the boe is only 230m.

Right now hillhouse has 13 paraprofessional for 949 students costing $205,000 and 6 principals costing 1.3m. With only 51 teachers in English, math, science and social studies, the ratio is at best 16 to 1. Simply eliminating 3 of these administrators would allow 40 new paraprofessionals to be hired. If these paras were assigned to the critical disciplines, Each of these core classes would be at 8 to 1. Now the kids have nowhere to hide, they are known by faculty, and have a much more dynamic learning environment. And why do we need all these principals? Someone please tell me. If You want to transform your schools mr harries you start eliminating the big shots at the top. But that requires bold leadership. Eliminating the humble paraprofessionals who work for peanuts because they love kids is so much easier. Am I wrong here? Crisis in courage not education.

posted by: Champ358 on April 25, 2014  8:07pm

I agree with Threefifths. This is a recipe for failure and will create just the conditions to provide a well financed private education conglomerate to be brought in to privatize. While having innovative curriculum and a personalized learning environment is a worthy goal, shouldn’t effective and full time leadership be equally important?

Operating a comprehensive, public high school with a student population that faces many challenges, not the least of which is the widening income gap in Connecticut municipalities, is an immense challenge. Innovation and leadership are part of the solution. The program that this article suggestions smacks of “chasing the money,” instead of a well thought out and comprehensive plan. Too much grant chasing and not enough long range strategy.

posted by: Mary Brown on April 25, 2014  9:06pm

Hillhouse has made a great deal of progress and there are many parents who chose to send their students there. There are a lot of highly effective teachers and motivated, high achieving students. It’s a shame they didn’t notify parents to involve stake holders in the decision making process. It can be a plan that actually works but they will need to work with parents, students, teachers and the current administrators if they really care about kids first!

posted by: bethalice on April 25, 2014  11:33pm

mstratton is absolutely correct.  I am a teacher at Hillhouse and my average class size is 26.  I simply cannot meet the needs of the students who need extra help each day. 

The audit is absolute garbage.  Our administrators should have the courage to stand up and advocate for us- the teachers.  Those who came through the school with their “shotgun” observations have no clue.  They quote students who claim they disrupt class because the work is “too easy.”  These so called professionals could not see through that nonsense???  Yet they gave that credibility over the teachers????  There are no “bad” teachers at Hillhouse.  Every single one works hard and leaves exhausted.  Our administrators should be advocating for us not pandering to Central Office.

posted by: Brutus2011 on April 26, 2014  9:22am

In my opinion, you must have smaller schools because a 1K or 2K student body is beyond the adult’s ability to effectively supervise.

In my experience, the number one obstacle to positive student outcome is a distracting learning environment. In other words, many of our schools are buck-wild and no one whose job it is to set and implement policy (i.e, NHPS administration) knows how to deal with it. Instead, these folks essentially keep saying, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

One of the primary reasons I sent my kid to Common Ground was because of its small student body AND I was satisfied that the adults were up to the task of providing a proper learning environment.

Alder Stratton’s comments make sense to me because they resonate with my experience as a teacher in NHPS. Why do the district administrator’s not put more adults in the classrooms? What practical good does hiring more administrators?

posted by: RMS on April 26, 2014  11:25am

At one point Hillhouse was required by law to have a School Governance Council, at which there would be parent/family representation. Is that still the case? If so, what role did the SGC play in this most recent round of decisions?

posted by: Threefifths on April 26, 2014  12:40pm

posted by: Champ358 on April 25, 2014 8:07pm

I agree with Threefifths. This is a recipe for failure and will create just the conditions to provide a well financed private education conglomerate to be brought in to privatize. While having innovative curriculum and a personalized learning environment is a worthy goal, shouldn’t effective and full time leadership be equally important?

How true.In fact look at today New york times.

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools


By MOTOKO RICHAPRIL 25, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/us/a-walmart-fortune-spreading-charter-schools.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0


posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on April 25, 2014 5:27pm

Frankly, the buzzword “Academy” is starting to smell.  It seems to mean a school with a gimmick that will sucker working-poor parents into thinking it offers a rigorous education, when actually it’s somebody’s latest untested bright idea or some for-profit corporation’s pet project.  And so many of them seem to have a rather short half-life.

Home run. you hit it out the park.In fact Charter Schools use the term Academy.( Harlem Success Academy Charter School.Kipp Academy)

Wake up people of new haven,Have you forgot that Garth Harries and Mayor Harp are for Charter Schools.Did you all know that Connecticut is becoming charter school friendly.Just Look at Hartford and Bridgeport Connecticut.Just look at the New Haven School board.You have pro Charter School people on the board.Alex Johnston Formerly the CEO of ConnCAN and Che Dawson director of operations for Amistad Elementary School.

posted by: cupojoe on April 26, 2014  12:58pm

Thanks once again M Stratton for crunching numbers and blowing the smoke out of our faces so we can understand the madness behind the message.

Harries needs a math class.

Hire teachers and paraprofessionals. 

I have to say, what is starting to disgust me is the COMPLETE lack of a communication from any other Alder in this city. What a bunch of wimps!

posted by: citoyen on April 26, 2014  2:08pm

Failing and flailing.  What comes across here is an image of a failing institution, and of a flailing city school administration that really has no idea what to do about it.

Notwithstanding the idea of an “IDEA” academy: “Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, and Action.”  What on earth does this mean?  Empty buzzwords.  A place to “unleash the inventor, designer, entrepreneur and technician that exists within our students.”  What?  Is this a place for machinists?  Artists?  Venture capitalists?  Plumbers?

I understand better the Law, Public Safety and Health part.  To train police, firefighters, security, and health care workers.

Will any of the students in either of these separate “academies” come out of Hillhouse High School able to write a coherent English sentence?  Much less a complete paragraph?

Indeed, will *any* students at Hillhouse pursue academic studies after the phase-out of the “Upperclassmen Academy,” preparing students for college and career?  Is the city just giving up here?  Will such students now be sent to Cross by “default”?

It sounds as if nothing will really change at Hillhouse until the city makes a commitment to hire teachers there who actually want to teach, instead of just keep a lid on.  But attracting such teachers will fail unless the place feels safe.  Meanwhile, spending a half-million dollars to construct physical changes sounds like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

And spending a total of a million sounds like a lot to ease Kermit Carolina out of his job.

posted by: CT Taxpayer on April 26, 2014  4:53pm

Mr. Carolina is a man with heart, but heart isn’t enough.  Maybe he lacks what it takes to be principal of a school.  The “sainted” Reggie Mayo made him principal, just as he did Peggie Moore, at Wilbur Cross, and we all know how badly that turned out.  However, I have heard that her successor at Cross is a far better principal.  I don’t know the criteria that Reggie used when making his decisions about leaders for the district’s schools, but he surely made some significant mistakes. 

Our federal tax dollars put $2 million into Hillhouse and another $2 million into Cross, and at the end of the three years, the smaller learning communities and the other structural changes didn’t improve either school.  Now Cross has yet another restructuring grant, and then there is this proposal for Hillhouse. 

When will people see the light?  Schools need highly effective leaders; without that, the taxpayers can pour many more millions into these schools, and they will still fail their students.  Money doesn’t effect change; it merely facilitates it.  Leaders effect change.
Find some strong leaders for the schools.

posted by: Webblog1 on April 27, 2014  1:08pm

Before the state and city taxpayers are asked to pour more money down into this bottom-less pit, the BOE ownes the city an evaluation report on how the annual Alliance grant is enhancing the turnaround effort, especially at Hillhouse.

From a Nov 2012 NHI article on school reform:

“Breland’s school will also receive some new money from a different source to support expanded after-school programming. Wexler/Grant is one of four schools, along with Hillhouse High, Davis Street and Riverside Academy, to receive a combined $400,000 per year for five years to support extended-hours programs at school. The money comes from a federal 21st Century Learning Center grant. Breland said Wexler/Grant plans to expand school hours from 2:15 to 5:15 p.m. Students will stay for homework help and science workshops with staff from the Eli Whitney Museum, she said”.

The full article can be seen here:

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/3.8m_alliance_district/

According to the BOE 14/15 budget request they expect an additionl $7.9M alliance district setaside from the State of CT.

And now this New request= 

New Haven is asking for $1 million in state money to revamp the physical building and the academic program at Hillhouse. The request includes $500,000 in state bonding to build two lab spaces—a “Fabrication Lab” and Design Shop with a 3-D printer and other equipment; and a Public Safety Lab equipped with a firefighter’s pole—to fit the new schools’ themes.

The state money would supplement a proposed $1.7 million plan to hire 10 new teachers, four new administrators, and a host of new technology to staff two new autonomous academies at Hillhouse.

WTF ?

posted by: beyonddiscussion on April 27, 2014  2:30pm

It appears that Hillhouse is failing by many measures. It also appears that the audit was not inclusive of all involved parties. This new plan sounds ridiculously complicated and doomed from the start. Keep it simple: get good new leadership at Hillhouse, reduce the class sizes, focus on the basics. Talk of “transformation” and all this other mumbo jumbo just seems like a self serving waste of time, energy and money.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on April 28, 2014  8:47am

Let’s stop this madness and block this plan. This is a act of desperation on the part of the superintendent and the BOE. We must not allow them to make these major changes without consulting the students, teachers, parents and the community.
The BOE flips and flops like a fish out of water, like a decapitated chicken, headless and aimless, moving blindly here and there, running into unseen walls attempting to address serious problems in ways that do not make COMMON SENSE!
The BOE has tried so many educational fads over the past two decades which have been abandoned and substituted for others only to fail again. All this at great taxpayer expense and great expense to the morale of faculty and the educational prospects of the students!
We, the people of New Haven, must stop this madness! Our children should no longer be pawns on the game board of the Board of Education!

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