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Hartford School Board Approves Milner Turnaround Committee

By VANESSA DE LA TORRE

June 25, 2012

HARTFORD The board of education voted Monday night to create a "turnaround committee" for Milner Core Knowledge Academy, another step in the city's push to be chosen for the Commissioner's Network next school year.

The 5-0 approval followed Friday's announcement from the state Department of Education that Hartford is among four Connecticut school systems invited to develop proposals for inclusion in the new $7.5 million network that aims to lift achievement at the lowest-performing schools.

The state will decide later this summer which of the "turnaround" plans will be accepted. The Milner committee has seven members who will help craft Hartford's plan, as outlined by Connecticut's education reform law.

They are Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor or his designee; Kevin McCaskill, Hartford's secondary schools director; Shay Teal, president of the Hartford Parent Organization Council; Joshua Hall, a Hartford parent and vice president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers; Andrea Johnson, the teacher's union president; Jay Gutierrez, a second union vice president; and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto as an ex-officio member.

Last month, the board approved forming a "response team" to begin preparing Milner for a redesign in partnership with Jumoke Academy, the North End charter school. If approved, Jumoke would implement its model of parent engagement and developing "the whole child" at Milner by late August. State intervention would be required for at least three years

The other Connecticut schools under consideration for the 2012-13 network are Bridgeport's James J. Curiale School, New Haven's High School in the Community and Norwich's John B. Stanton School.

Under law, the state and turnaround committees will need to perform operations and instructional "audits" of the schools, examining areas such as test scores, parent communication and school climate that need to be addressed in the turnaround plans.

Hartford school officals said the Milner proposal would be formally submitted to the state by mid-July.

The board on Monday also approved a batch of administrative appointments effective July 1, including 11 principal posts of which five were acting or interim positions. Board member Richard Wareing wondered aloud why almost 20 percent of Hartford's school principalships needed to be filled and said it begged a question of "frontline leadership."

Board Chairman Matthew Poland said the topic warranted more discussion at the board's retreat with administrators next month.

Among the appointees was Eddie Genao, currently Hartford's school quality officer, to the new position of assistant superintendent for early literacy and parent engagement at an annual salary of $150,000. Michelle Puhlick becomes executive director of curriculum and instruction at $131,269, and for nearly the same salary Tory Niles-Outler will be the new principal of Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College.

Other principal hires included Monica Brase for the Burns Latino Studies Academy, Michael Maziarz for Hartford Public High School's Engineering and Green Technology Academy, James Motes for Classical Magnet School, Dirk Olmstead for Parkville Community School and Tayarisha Stone for Clark School.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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