HEADLINES

Struggling School Districts in CT Receive Millions in Funding for Academic Improvement Plans

Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced that Alliance School Districts, including East Windsor, Windsor and Windsor Locks, are set to receive a total of $132,901,813 in additional funding for the 2014-15 academic year for implementing academic improvement plans.  To date, 28 of 30 Alliance District Year Three plan amendments have been approved, with the final approvals expected in the coming weeks.

East Windsor is set to receive $307,215 for the 2014-2015, $87,920 more than the previous school year. Windsor is expected to receive $928,381 for 2014-2015, $280,842 more than '13-'14. Windsor Locks will be given $622,417, an increase of $207,854 over the previous year.

The Alliance District program is the lead initiative in the state to help close achievement gaps and to improve student success in Connecticut's 30 most chronically struggling school districts.  The Alliance District program has invested $259,843,832 in Connecticut’s high-need school districts since its inception in 2013.

“A central part of our effort to improve public education is to make sure that districts that need the most help are getting the extra support they need, and that’s exactly what the Alliance District programs does,” Malloy said.  “With this additional funding, districts are doing everything from focusing on early literacy to adding full-day kindergarten.  It’s a huge step forward, one that is led at local level to the benefit of every child in that district.”

According to a May 2014 letter from Morgan Barth, division director of the Turnaround Office, the East Windsor District has maintained 95 percent student attendance. East Windsor also saw a 5-point increase in its high school graduation rate, meeting district targets for 2013. The district was also recognized for meeting or exceeding targets for addressing "high needs" students and free/reduced lunch eligible students at Broad Brook Elementary, East Windsor Middle School and East Windsor High School.

The state identifies priority areas for districts to address through locally-developed strategies in their academic improvement plans. For the second year, the state defined the transition to the Connecticut Core Standards, implementation of educator evaluation and support systems, and the turnaround of low-performing schools as priority areas. Districts were also required to add K-3 literacy as a focus. According to Malloy's Office, reading at grade level by the third grade is critically important for future academic success. Strengthening early reading supports and improving resources for K-3 literacy help to ensure Connecticut’s struggling young readers get the assistance they need.
 
The Alliance District program gives schools flexibility to identify and design strategies that best address district-specific needs and challenges, defining several priority areas and strategies of their own. The 30 Alliance Districts meet with the State of Education quarterly in order to enable them to share best practices and improve their strategies. 

“As participants in this partnership, districts craft and commit to strategies aimed at improving their performance in key state and locally-identified areas and, in turn, the state provides substantial new resources to assist these districts in carrying out their plans," said Pryor. "Many Alliance Districts are making real progress in improving conditions and enhancing opportunities at their schools and in their classrooms, and the results are starting to show.”

 

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