Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Achieve Hartford Update

Paul Holzer of Achieve Hartford! with an update on the exciting things happening there:

For a look into how the “weird hybrid” approach that Kaya was talking about in DC, where management of a district school is given to a local CMO, check out how Jumoke Academy (charter) in Hartford took over management of the Hartford Public Schools and the State’s lowest performing elementary school, Milner Elementary.  This new Jumoke Honors Academy at Milner is now the flagship turnaround within the new “Commissioner’s Network” of 25 lowest performing schools in the state, all of which will be turned around in the coming years via innovative approaches.  Hartford was well on its way to partnering with Jumoke Charter well before the state got around to supporting the idea.

The Hartford Superintendent, Christina Kishimoto, has taken the portfolio model farther than anyone (except NOLA) in terms of being agnostic on governance, experimenting with proven school models, and with her willingness to shut chronically low-performing schools down.  She fully reconstituted 9 schools into 14 new smaller schools between 2008-11 when she was Assistant Superintendent, and also started 8 brand new schools to boot - some magnet, some neighborhood, and some charter. 

Before she even did the “weird hybrid” approach, she created a totally new relationship in CT between districts and charters called an “affiliation agreement,” which meant that Achievement First charter got district buildings, security, transportation, etc., and in return the District got to count them as one of the many schools in Hartford’s portfolio and include them in the neighborhood school choice process and in count their test scores as Hartford scores.  Achievement First Hartford Academy is now the most widely chosen elementary in the city, and they just expanded the grades to create a high school as well.

The brand new Jumoke-Milner management relationship was written up in the Hartford Courant here.
We then provided an update to the public here.
And we just wrote up the results of the mid-year state audit here.

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