March 29, 2005
By RACHEL GOTTLIEB, Courant Staff Writer
With the recent accreditation
of five schools - Martin Luther King, Kinsella and Wish elementary
schools, and Bellizzi and Fox middle schools - the Hartford
school system has fulfilled a state law that it receive accreditation
for all of its 32 schools.
The state legislature passed the mandate when it wrote the law
to take over the school system in 1997.
Kennelly and Simpson-Waverly elementary schools earned accreditation
on March 19, 2001, the first two schools in the system to do
It's customary for high schools to seek accreditation, but fairly
unusual for elementary and middle schools to pursue it. The near-loss
of Hartford Public High School's accreditation was the major
factor that led the state to the unprecedented move of taking
over the entire school system. The system returned to local control
when a new board of education took office in December 2002.
The accreditation process
requires a two-year self-study, the production of a report
identifying strengths and weaknesses and a visitation for several
days by a team of educators coordinated by the New England
Association of Schools & Colleges.
The accrediting committees analyzed seven areas: curriculum,
instruction, assessment, leadership, community resources, school
resources and mission.
The mission of the accrediting teams was to validate self studies.
The greater challenge will be for the schools to maintain accreditation.
To do that, each school prepares five-year plans to address its
weaknesses and then, after five years, must submit a summary
report demonstrating progress in addressing those problems.
"This is a very significant achievement," said Superintendent
of Schools Robert Henry. "It is very rare, if not unique,
for every school in a district to go through this process and
to receive accreditation. It is a great testimony to our teachers,
principals and support staff. I'm very proud of them all."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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