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The Dependable Path to School Reform: Positive Teacher Led Reforms

The state’s largest teacher organization urges people to be careful not to miss the big picture when analyzing Connecticut’s new School and District Performance Reports.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “The takeaway from the new documentation provides validation that we know what works in public education and optimism about continued student growth.”

Cohen explained, “The volume of data provided in the reports can be a bit intimidating, but we think it’s worth everyone’s time to delve deeper and think deeply about the story that’s evolving. It’s a powerful narrative chronicling how teacher expertise and educator input in school reform make all the difference. This is happening in our traditional public schools, and it’s happening now.”

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said, “In our most challenged schools, teachers have too often been shut out of decision making. But recently, in the face of rapid change,  there have been new opportunities to lead. Teachers seized those opportunities in areas such as curriculum development, professional development, and programs to reach the needs of every child—to name just a few. Now—with the release of the new state reports—we can commend student achievement and teachers’ commitment to excellence.”

Waxenberg said Stanton School in Norwich is an example of the remarkable progress he wants to underscore. “Teachers at Stanton got the authority and tools they deserved, and they ran with the ball. Other approaches to reform—such as the private, third-party operator approach being used at Jumoke Academy at Milner Elementary School in Hartford—are simply not producing the same kind of success.”

Stanton’s remarkable progress has required the selfless dedication of teachers, according to Billie Shea, the principal of Stanton School in Norwich. “Our teachers have been so positive with so much change. They worked all summer on new curriculum, always with a smile. The teachers are incredible,” said Shea earlier this year.

Cohen added that critical resources count, too, with the state’s Network Schools using new state financial support to plan and implement initiatives involving teachers in critical roles.

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