Recent Independent Evaluation Shows Significant Progress for Students Participating in Hartford Community Schools’ Wraparound Services and Programs
On August 16, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Hartford Public School superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving president Jay Williams and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut president Paula Gilberto signed a memorandum of understanding indicating their continuing investment in the Hartford Partnership for Student Success (HPSS) and support for further development of Hartford Community Schools.
Launched in 2007, the expanding Partnership which presently includes both the core supporters of Hartford Community Schools and other lead investors in Hartford schools, such as Aetna and The Hartford, is committed to increasing family, school and community partnership and Hartford students’ opportunities to experience success. Community schools are neighborhood schools that through multiple partnerships offer students instructional services significantly supplemented with homework help, tutorial and remedial services and academic enrichment, as well as child development; mental health, behavioral, wellness and social services; life skills training; cultural and recreational services; family support and other resources customized to meet individual schools and students’ needs.
“The Hartford Partnership for Student Success is an important part of our efforts to strengthen community schools and to ensure that every student has the opportunity to get the education and the support they need in school,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “The Partnership for Student Success brings together a strong coalition of stakeholders to help close the opportunity gaps in our educational system, and I’m grateful to our partners for their commitment and their work.”
The Community School model is recognized nationally as an evidence-based strategy for equitable school improvement. Often open before and after traditional school hours and year round, schools that become community schools normally will show progressive improvement in the school culture, family and community engagement and range of student supports. Increased student attendance, reductions in student suspensions and expulsions and measurable improvements in students’ academic and developmental outcomes have been shown to follow when schools embrace a holistic approach to students’ overall development and academic success.
“Families have often stated that the community school model is a stabilizing force during periods of change within our neighborhood schools,” said Superintendent Torres-Rodriguez. “ Hartford Community Schools’ focus on culture and climate, academic achievement and school, family, and community partnership, directly aligns with the priorities of the district. “
Hartford’s community schools include the Asian Studies Academy at Bellizzi, Alfred E. Burr Elementary School, Thirman L. Milner School, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, Burns Latino Studies Academy and West Middle Elementary School & Middle Grades. In partnership with each school’s principal, lead agencies, currently including COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Catholic Charities, the Village for Families and Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford coordinate multiple partner agencies and others’ delivery of student support services at each school.
“Education is one of the top priorities of the Hartford Foundation,” said Hartford Foundation president Jay Williams. “Today, we are reaffirming our commitment and continued support of community schools as a comprehensive approach to providing both students and families equitable access to high-quality programs and services in support of academic achievement.”
Over the past ten years, HPSS and community school lead agencies have increasingly leveraged the power of partnership to support student success. Currently, partnerships with area universities, community-based organizations, health care providers, cultural organizations and others, enable the Community Schools to thrive.
“Every day we see how the power of partnership makes a positive impact on our community,” said United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut president Paula Gilberto. “City-wide partnership efforts, like the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, are also leveraged to ensure students reach academic milestones on time. We intend to continue our support and commitment and look forward to continued progress within Hartford’s Community Schools.”
Hartford Community Schools’ independent evaluator, ActKnowledge, highlights the following 2015-16 Hartford Community School outcomes.