Summer will be ending early again this year for the 22,000 students attending Hartford Public Schools. For the second year in a row, school will start before Labor Day rather than after as in most cities and towns. First day of school is this Monday, August 25.
There will be big changes at many Hartford schools as Superintendent Stephen Adamowski’s overalll plan to revamp the school system goes into effect. Under the plan, schools that have shown consistently sub-standard performance have been redesigned while schools that have shown good results have been allowed greater autonomy.
Hartford Public High School, the second oldest secondary school in the nation, has been divided into four sections: a Ninth Grade Academy, a Nursing Academy, a Government and Law Academy and an Engineering and Green Technologies Academy.
Weaver High School will also have a Ninth Grade Academy (as well as a Culinary Academy) and Bulkeley High School will be divided into an Upper School (grades 11 and 12) and a Lower School (grades 9 and 10). Separating out students in the lower grades is designed to curb drop-out rates, since it was found that these were the grades when students were most likely to quit school.
The Mark Twain School on Lyme Street in the Blue Hills neighborhood will no longer exist as an independent school, but will house two academies: Achievement First and the Hartford Montessori Magnet School.
Barbour School on Tower Avenue in the city’s North East neighborhood will now be home to the International Baccalaureate Program. According to David Medina, spokesperson for the Hartford Public Schools, this program is based on a design that was originally used to train children for careers in diplomacy. Students must learn two foreign languages and attend school year-round. Barbour School will also be home to the Breakthrough II Magnet School.
Students at the new Burns Latino Academy (formerly Burns School) on Putnam Street in the Frog Hollow neighborhood must also learn two languages.
In the Barry Square neighborhood, M.D. Fox School has become a CommPACT school. This educational model was developed by the teachers’ union and stresses improvement from within and deeper involvement with parents and the community as a whole.