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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.

Dave Hausler June 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM
That is a VERY big picture. Can we shrink it down to the level of what our BoE does with its budget, and the non-educational dollars that are spent? There is some pretty good evidence of waste there, and it has nothing to do with social engineering or the dumbing down of America to serve a neo-socialist agenda.
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Rosie - Yes I've had the same experience with the majority of my son's teachers...there's an instant insinuation that I'm not doing any encouraging or requesting of info etc at home. I try to ignore that as I'm sure that's true of some parents but not of me. I've communicated repeatedly and requested assistance with very little reaction until now when he may not graduate and would affect their numbers in ranking etc. My son is very intelligent...he could have been top of his class...maybe that's why he got little to no help...he's such a good kid and causes no problems...but when a parent reaches out every year several times and has shown an active involvement in his younger brothers POTs...
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
* sorry phone error...PPT's then they really should have taken my involvement and consistent requests for reasonable help, they should have helped me. All I ever requested was weekly emails of assignments with details so I could drag them out of my son. Nope. So that's a change I think they should make across the board. Give parents a chance and email on Fridays showing us what is going to happen the following week so we can be prepared.
Dave Hausler June 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
That's why I suggest we leave the blame aside for now and focus on the dollars we spend. Dollars that are spent on indirect costs, like buildings, administration and supplies. We can reduce the number of buildings we operate, which is still in excess of other towns our size. Our enrollment has declined for the last 10 years, and projections suggest that will continue. This notion always seem to bring out the supporters of the "neighborhood school" concept. I don't argue that its a viable concept, but as I look at the results that our district produces, I ask if the return justifies the expense.
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Sheep - my phone can open PDFs...it's saying tab limit is reached but I only have 2 things running so that's why I thought if you put it on fb maybe it will let me open from there.
Lou June 13, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Ozzie I took my daughters to touch a truck 2 years ago at one of the elementary schools in the center and I almost fell on the floor when I saw the caliber of parent there with their kids. I have never seen so many scumbags in one place. Many of the parents stunk and were dressed like slobs, not to mention the drunk ones. I felt filthy after leaving ans swore to my wife that we would never send our kids to that school. Poor kids don't have a chance in hell of making it with a support system like that at home. Ugh, I feel bad for those kids.
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Dave - Do you have suggestions on how we can offer supportive positive suggestions or be a part of creating a plan to present in order to get the funds? I don't really know where to start and I've got some really great ideas...in my opinion...
Patrick Madley June 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Sorry Lou, on mention of the boat I was referring to the cost of registration. I should have specified that. My bad. And everyone that has posted on here is making excellent points. I just wish others thought the same way.
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
It would be nice if we expected more of our community as a whole...I don't have much money but I try to dress nicer for school events and ceremonies and do the same for my children. It would be nice if we could slowly influence others to have a little more self respect and not show up at a school event looking like a Sunday morning hangover at the laundromat. :)
Dave Hausler June 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Read the link I posted in my initial comment. It represents a recommendation assembled by a non-partisan group of East Haven taxpayers for the renovation of 200 Tyler Street, the old high school, as the first step towards a further consolidation of our school district into fewer buildings. The recommendation was based on a combination of state educational data, town budget and renovation projects, engineers reports about the property, and more.
Erica Lynn Stamp June 13, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Dave I apparently can't open links from this page on my phone. Can you send it to me in an email? I pm your fb for info.
Michele Antisdel June 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@Erica: Hi Erica, did you know about Power School? Im not sure all the schools in EH use it but I know the high school does. It allows parents to see what assignment their children have and how they are doing with their grades.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Erica & Michele: I actually put together an article on PowerSchool early this year. You can find the post and links to the EHHS portal here http://patch.com/A-q2Zz Just an FYI!
Julie Weisberg (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM
P.S. You can also access the PowerSchool portal from your smart phone, too!
Teresa June 13, 2012 at 03:41 PM
These poor scores are a direct result of the"no child left behind law"This law has placed all children in the same classrooms with no consideration of their academic abilities.In other words honor students,average students,and students that need extra help are all in one class,they no longer use the"levels"system which greatly benefits the kids.It is not the fault of the B.O.E.,it is a state law,which needs to change if there is hope for any improvement.I personally will be contacting my senator-stay tuned,I will let you know how to help!
Peter noRtH June 13, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Everyone needs to settle down. Next year the new uniform policy takes affect. That will change everything.....LOL
Doreen Boudreau Hausler June 13, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Teresa, I respectfully disagree. No Child Left Behind is a National program. Every town is mandated to follow it. East Haven should still not be below other towns. Consider the differences between East Haven and other towns of similar demographic and socio-economic makeups. We are STILL falling far below where we should be, here. If we consider other towns with similar demographics and makeups, and look at ourselves compared to them... The big difference seems to be in administration of resources and how we attract quality people to hold important positions, including teachers. We are not unique in our parenting styles. There are good parents and weaker parents in every community. There are good students and weak students in every community. This problem starts at the top, and works it's way down. A community is really only as strong as it's local school. While I agree that No Child Left Behind has it's own issues. I disagree that this is the problem here.
Flowers June 13, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I thought the state just got a waiver and got out of No Child Left Behind? You can't flunk the test if you don't take the test.
Doreen Boudreau Hausler June 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM
The state of CT, along with 7 other states was issued a waiver for No Child Left Behind, in May. I doubt we'd see any difference in the style of education or effects, this quickly.
Teresa June 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Doreen,thank-you,you have educated me!I did know it was a national law,my apologies,I didn't realize I had written"state".The teachers absolutely use that law as an excuse to be lazy!the naturally smart kids do fine,while the rest who need a little extra are ignored.The teachers lose assignments and make the kids redo them 2 or 3 times,they belittle the kids right in front of them,furfhermore the teachers give the young kids 10 or 12 pages of homework every night so they can be lax on their teaching during the day.Of course this is not all teachers but the majority rules!These are some of the problems that will continue because teachers won't reach out to average kids,they say too bad-keep up!
Beth June 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM
The BOE is an elected group that governs policy, procedures, budget, etc. The BOE Administration are the PAID professionals that are getting PAID to hire and fire teachers, institute curriculum, etc. The top three administrators make close to a 1/2 MILLION dollars. The BOE gets a budget of over $45 MILLION!! I've been hearing about a PERF report for 3 years now--where are the differences? What improvements/changes have been made? Enrollment has been dropping, the high school is at half capacity and there is overcrowding in the elementary and middle school. We have had an increase of english as a second language--this didn't happen overnight and nothing has been done to address it (spanish speaking teachers, specific help). The BOE Administration needs some strategic thinking and plan to move forward and improve test scores. Yes as a parent I have some responsibility but teachers get paid to TEACH and apparently they are in the bottom third of the state.
Flowers June 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Seems to me I can recall some glory years when an out of town woman was head of the school system and the East Haven Academy was formed. She and her standards were driven out and the Academy eventually destroyed by noisy citizens, offended by her plans to improve education.
james mcgowan June 14, 2012 at 04:44 PM
maybe if they started hiring good teachers instead of freind of a freind teachers
Lise Cavallaro June 14, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Rosie, I totally agree with you, especially your last sentence.
Lise Cavallaro June 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
That's a fantastic idea. The high school also needs to be more proactive with the juniors and seniors who don't know if they want to go to college, or even if they don't want to go. Career prep is sorely needed.
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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