What’s Well from Wells Hall
Volume 6 Issue 11
June 25, 2018
Last week we wished our students a happy summer vacation, gave our final graduation speeches and officially closed the books on School Year 2017-2018. As every year, this time of year reminds us of the importance of that deep sigh of relief for a job well done, but it’s also an appropriate time to thank our community, friends, supporters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, etc. for everything you do to help our kids succeed. East Hartford Public Schools has a ton to be proud of and as we continue to race towards the vision of Schools that are the Pride of OUR Community, moments like this speak of the progress we are making!
We sincerely also appreciate all our readers of our monthly column as well as the East Hartford Gazette for generously providing us the space to communicate with our community throughout the year. As always, we wanted to share our Top Six Accomplishments list.
- Academic Success: While we continue to see this accomplishment as a work in progress, we are excited to see strong progress in our student achievement data. Specifically, the Class of 2019 improved their scores on the PSAT to SAT by 11% in Evidence Based Reading & Writing (EBRW) and by 3% in Math. Average score increases of 38.55 for EBRW and 49.82 in just 5 months exceeds the College Board’s expected increases for students in a year. In addition, we had strong growth within the school year on our internal STAR measures and significant increases at several schools where we have made focused investments. Finally, while the data is still embargoed on the recently released Smarter Balanced assessments, early analysis points to sizeable gains for the district in grades 3-8. We are proud of this success and eager to continue to build on this achievement!
- Budget Process: While this was another challenging financial year, we again celebrate the collaborative work that characterized our budget process. As a Board, we were asked to come in with a 0% budget in response to the projected financial scenario at the state and local level. Working off assurances that our Town Leadership would continue to support our needs, we were given an additional .028% increase ($255,000) at the close of the budget process. As an outcome of this austere situation, we reduced our budget by 41.5 positions, but avoided laying off any active employees. Last month, we were thrilled to learn that the state would be appropriating an additional $1,160,520 in our Alliance Grant that we will be using to offset some of these losses as well as to develop a strategy for the next fiscal year. We will continue to work hard as an administrative team to wisely invest our town’s resources to get our children the support they need for success!
- Grants: This year we set a target goal of bringing in an additional $500,000 in grant funding to support district work. While our show case projects included being awarded the Working Cities Grant, we are incredibly proud of the over $2.1 million we were successfully able to achieve. These grants will fund reform projects at both the elementary and high school level after school programming and community engagement events. The work that goes into acquiring and managing these resources is extensive and we are extremely appreciative of all of our colleagues who work so hard to bring needed resources to East Hartford.
- Restructure/Re-Alignment: This year we took on several restructuring initiatives including opening seven new SBHC’s with a new provider, transitioning a Birth-Three program that was no longer financially sustainable to private contractors and overhauling our town’s School Readiness Program. While these projects were each extremely challenging, we believe that we have reset important leadership and programmatic opportunities that will serve the district well for years to come!
- IB Accreditation at Sunset Ridge/CIBA: This year we received word from IBO re-accrediting O’Connell as a PYP program and CIBA as a DP Program. This process further solidifies our work to maintain the Board’s long term vision of our district as one of the few K-12 IB pipelines in the New England region. In addition, we have completed several exploratory projects in regards to further expansion of the program at the secondary level to meet the proposed needs of students leaving Sunset. These explorations have provided important data and guided us to focus our current efforts on solidifying and growing our AP program at EHHS.
- Facility Improvements: Throughout the school year, we completed over (30) capital projects, designed (3) major projects funded by Alliance Grants for FY2019 construction, and secured State OSCGR funding for another (3) projects. Our Facilities team has an extremely busy summer scheduled and we cannot wait to see schools ready to be opened!
We wish our graduating seniors all the best as they move onto the next phase. We thank our graduating parents for their steadfast partnership in this journey of adolescence. We thank our faculty for the hard work they have done all year to support our students—enjoy summer, find rest, relaxation and rejuvenation with family and friends.
As always, if we can be of service to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience, Mr. Hall – 860-622-5017 email@example.com, Mr. Quesnel – 860-622-5107 firstname.lastname@example.org.
With great East Hartford pride!
Bryan R. Hall
East Hartford Public Schools