The Thirman L. Milner School on Vine Street has a reputation and a history of being a chronically low performing school. As one of the lowest performing in the State of Connecticut; Milner needed an intervention and it needed it fast. So, a partnership was formed between Jumoke Academy, Hartford Public Schools and the State Department of Education whereby Milner would continue to be a Hartford Public School but management of the school would be turned over to Jumoke Academy.
The problems facing Milner are broad and deep and addressing them will not be easy. But the leadership team at Jumoke is confident that their multi-pronged approach, that emphasizes a change in culture, will allow them to tackle student absenteeism, teacher turnover and parental involvement.
What Does The Audit Say?
In December, State auditors conducted a mid-year review of the school that indicates the turnaround effort is moving in the right direction while recognizing there is significant work ahead.
The mid-year report cites parents and teachers feeling and believing that the strategies implemented have already begun to change the way parents feel about the school and its staff as a result of better communication and increased parent involvement at the school.
What Has Changed
A new emphasis on communicating and engaging parents has resulted in:
• Milner has held one of three Parent Academies, where parents learn about what’s going on in the classroom and how to support that learning at home.
• Each classroom has “room parents” who provide a peer to peer resource for other classroom parents
• There have been more than twenty community engagement events since the start of school in August to welcome parents into the school and engage them as partners in their child's education.
Parents interviewed recognize the changing culture and while change is never easy they are excited about the future.
So after one semester, Jumoke at Milner is still a work in progress but they seem to be on the right road towards creating a high performing Hartford Public School for their students, parents and community at large.
If you are interested in reading the State’s audit, please visit our website at www.achievehartford.org and search under Education Matters! for the January 17th edition.