The State Department of Education, following federal education guidelines and under a newly developed state rating system, has identified 28 Turnaround Schools in the state, which include 7 in Bridgeport, 5 in Hartford, 5 in New Britain, 5 in New Haven, 2 in Windham, and 1 in New London, Stamford, Waterbury and Bloomfield. The Turnaround Schools receive support from the state Department of Education in their efforts to develop and implement plans that will lead to improved academic performance, and will maintain this classification for three years. In order to exit Turnaround status, a school must demonstrate sustained improvement, which means it must meet overall School Performance Indexes and graduation targets for three consecutive years.
Turnaround schools are the bottom rung of a new five-tier accountability system that places each Connecticut public school in categories ranging from "excelling," "progressing," and "transitioning," to "review/focus" and "turnaround." Shortly, all public schools in the state will receive a numerical rating from 1 to 100. The goal is to exceed “88” in the scoring. While the schools in some categories have been announced, the scoring is yet to come.
Also identified are 97 schools described as “Schools of Distinction.” This classification consists of three different groups, with schools possessing either the highest-achieving subgroups, have the best overall student performance or have made the most progress from one year to the next.
Towns with the largest number of “schools of distinction” include Greenwich, Madison, New Britain and Newtown, Bridgeport, Hartford, New Milford, Stamford, Farmington, Guilford, Madison, Simsbury, and Trumbull.
Most schools are at various points in the middle, including 139 schools labeled as either "focus" or "review" schools. These rankings are given because of low performance among certain student populations such as special education, students from low-income families, and black or Hispanic students. That list is still to come.
The performance measures and school ratings will be available for public review on a new web page on the state Department of Education website, www.sde.ct.gov, anticipated later this week. (Keep checking the website?) Overall, approximately 1,200 schools are to be included in the ratings system, with a total student population approaching 50,000.