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State: East Haven Among 'Lowest-Performing' School Districts

The state designation gives East Haven, as well as the 29 other members of the newly created Alliance Districts, the opportunity to apply for an increase in conditional state grants to fund school reforms focused on raising student achievement.

The school year may be just about over for students, but it appears that East Haven school administrators will have plenty of homework to do over the summer.

The Connecticut Department of Education recently released its new academic achievement rankings for the state's 166 public school districts.

And not only finds itself listed among the 30 most struggling school systems — but in the bottom half of the rankings for the weakest academic performers.

A conditional increase in state education grants for the new school year, however, will be made available to East Haven — as well as the other 29 school systems targeted as most in need of improvement — for the implementation of a district-wide reform plan focused on raising student achievement levels.

And it is a tight schedule for the process: preliminary applications for the additional funding are due later next month, with the state hoping to have all final reform plan approvals out by the end of August.

Superintendent of Schools Anthony Serio did not immediately return a Tuesday morning call from East Haven Patch requesting comment for this article.

Alliance District

East Haven is part of the ," which is made up of the state's 30 lowest-performing public school systems.

The special group was established with the passage of the earlier this spring.

The Alliance designations will continue for a five-year period.

Alliance District membership is determined by the state education department's newly created "District Performance Index."

The school systems with the lowest DPI scores statewide are placed in the group.

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District Performance Index

District Performance Index, or DPI, scores are calculated and based upon Connecticut Mastery Test data. The index is scored from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest score.

East Haven received a DPI of 54.8, the 13th lowest in the state.

The top score among the 30 Alliance Districts is Bristol at 62.5, and the lowest is New Britain at 35.8.

East Haven Schools achieved an higher DPI than New Haven, Waterbury and New London. But lower than neighboring West Haven, Hamden and Naugatuck.

A chart with the individual DPI scores for each of the Alliance Districts is posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.

Conditional Funding Increase

As part of the education reform act, a total of $39.5 million in additional Education Cost Sharing grant money for the 2012-13 school year has been set to help fund education reforms in the 30 struggling school systems.

East Haven Schools could receive some from the state for fiscal 2012-13.

To receive their share of the funding increase, however, each Alliance District — including East Haven — must successfully develop a proposed reform plan to improve and enhance student performance.

That proposed plan, which is for a five-year period, must then be reviewed and approved by the state Department of Education.

If given the green light, the Alliance-related funding — unlike the rest of the ECS grant — will be distributed directly to school districts and not through municipalities, according to a May 25 memo from state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

The memo, which provides a preliminary overview of the Alliance program, is posted in the gallery.

Summer Deadlines

And Alliance District school officials met with Pryor in Hartford on Monday to discuss the details of conditional funding program, according to the Hartford Courant.

Along with a Boston-based non-profit organization, the meeting discussed ways the superintendents could utilize the funds, including extending school hours and enhancing literary programs.

The districts have until July 13 to submit preliminary applications and Aug. 15 for final applications. According to Pryor, the state is looking to have applications approved by Aug. 31.

The National Center on Time & Learning will also assist five qualifying districts in creating a plan to extend school hours. The organization will choose those districts by July 29.

East Haven Board of Education Chairman Thomas Hennessey did not immediately return a Tuesday morning call to his home from East Haven Patch requesting comment for this article.

CitizenVoice June 15, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Where is Becki? Who are you responding to?
Robin Carlson June 15, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Denise Hexom was her name I think. A little before my time as far as the educational system, but I remember being interested in the process. I don't know what the circumstances were leading to her leaving. Does anyone else?
Lou June 15, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Everyone if you go to the NH register online to the "See, Click, Fix section, http://www.nhregister.com/seeclickfix/ you can click on letter "D" on the map. Letter "D" is labeled EH School System Broken. Maybe if enough people comment something will be done.
thomas June 15, 2012 at 06:00 PM
i m a christian and wouldn t touch these heathen schools home tutoring is the best, these kids today are lost without the roadmap the bible.
Shirley Hally June 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Could the town of EH BOE possibly meet with one of the top ranking BOE... And possibly see what we can change or upgrage

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