The community will have the opportunity on Wednesday to discuss how Jumoke Academy may be partnering with the Milner Core Knowledge Academy in the 2012-2013 school year.
The last date that the Superintendent can propose a school redesign for the following school year is on December 1st. Superintendent Kishimoto officially brought her proposal for Milner’s redesign to the Board of Education five months past that deadline.
The push for redesign is presented as another choice for Hartford’s youth, while the HPS Choice application deadline for students in non-transitional grades was April 5, 2012. The first meeting with parents about the possibility of Milner’s redesign did not take place until April 19th, after those applications were due.
Parents are told they must register at their child’s chosen school during May; with so many details up in the air about what will happen to the elementary school on Vine Street, it is curious how responsible parents are expected to respond.
Milner, for the moment, uses the Core Knowledge curriculum. In the choice brochure distributed to parents for the 2012-2013 school year, Milner is still described as such. They were told that this type of curriculum has benefits:
They were also told that this school would have consistency:
Now, it seems that for the 2012-2013 school year, this may not be the case. A parent could have read the brochure, attended the school choice fair and information session, called schools with questions, and done all of the other research that good, involved parents are expected to do, and still emerge from this process confused and enrolling the child in a model of school that will be something other than advertised during that aforementioned process. These are the same parents who have been criticized in the media for continuing to send their children to “failing” schools.
This week, there will be another meeting about Milner’s future:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 community meeting at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the proposed partnership between Milner Core Knowledge Academy and the Jumoke Academy charter school, under the Education Reform package that was recently passed by the Connecticut General Assembly.
The wording of this message from the Hartford Public Schools could imply that the law dictates that this public school become a charter school, although this is not at all the case. It also sounds like this redesign is up for discussion– a change from Kishimoto’s initial heavy-handed approach which received criticism from inside and outside of Hartford Public Schools. Sources within Jumoke Academy indicate that the charter school’s administration understands the need for buy-in from parents and the community. We’re told that Dr. Michael Sharpe, Jumoke’s CEO, was disappointed by the lukewarm reception to the redesign idea back in April.
At that meeting in April, parents fired off the questions one would expect after hearing their child’s school was likely going to shut down and reopen again. One controversy of “school redesign” is that all teachers are forced to reapply for their jobs; the practice has been to disperse teachers from that “failed school” to the other schools in the district. The drop in morale at Milner seems to be taking care of this issue in advance, as many teachers, finding their futures uncertain here, have reportedly found employment elsewhere for next year; one school employee noted that there were approximately ten faculty out one day last week.
While the Hartford Public Schools would require teachers reapply for their jobs, Jumoke Academy seems more open to retaining most of Milner’s teachers. This week’s meeting may answer more questions as to the nature of Milner’s redesign.
The fliers below are being distributed by the Hartford Public Schools:
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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