Weaver High School is slated for a major makeover and renovation and North Hartford residents are working to make sure they are fully involved in the process.
While the North Hartford Education Task Force (NHETF) was recently formed to look into all North End schools, the group is giving particular emphasis to Weaver and Martin Luther King School, which was in danger of being closed last year.
As part of Hartford School Superintendent Steven Adamowski’s overall reorganization plan, Weaver was split into academies. The school now consists of a Culinary Academy, an Academy of Journalism and Media and a Senior Academy. The Senior Academy is for Weaver students who wanted to graduate from the school but didn’t want to enter either of its specialized academies. The academy now consists of 12th grade students only and will not reopen next fall. The reorganization of the school and its deteriorating condition lent credence to a rumor that Weaver would be closing.
At a meeting of the NHETF last week at Weaver, State Representative Douglas McCrory said, “A while back there was a rumor floating around that Weaver was going to close. That upset a lot of people in the community, including me. I know that Weaver High School and the North End community have a very close relationship. I know the pride the North End has in Weaver...I felt the community had to be involved in the process.”
The school system is going ahead with plans to renovate Weaver, according to Kevin McCaskill, Director of School Design for Hartford Public Schools, who also spoke at last week’s meeting. If all goes according to plan, said McCaskill, construction of the new Weaver should start in June, 2014, and be completed by June, 2016.
McCrory’s views were similar to many who spoke at last week’s meeting and confirmed by the results of a survey that was conducted by the NHETF. The NHETF polled 881 North Hartford parents, residents, students, alumni and other stakeholders. About 450 of those surveyed “strongly agreed” that money should be spent to fix Weaver, about 200 “agreed” and only about 100”disagreed” or “strongly disagreed.” The community was also adamant about being included in the planning process, with over 450 strongly agreeing and less than 100 disagreeing.
The survey also made clear the community’s uncertainty about the future of Weaver. When asked whether they knew about the plans for Weaver, less than 100 people “strongly agreed” while close to 200 “strongly disagreed. There was more uncertainty about whether the new Weaver should have separate academies. About 425 people agreed, about 200 disagreed and close to 200 neither agreed nor disagreed.