ConnCan grades schools

dYes, the school year has just begun.

Yes, the state hasn’t given standardized reading and math scores that count for more than a year. That makes this is the first year in more than a decade schools won’t get labeled as “failing” under the old No Child Left Behind.

Still, The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, better known as ConnCAN, issued report cards on Thursday to more than 900 schools around the state. ConnCAN is a school reform advocacy group. The “F’s” were plentiful and directed largely at poor urban school districts. In Bridgeport, one in three schools got an “F” and the district as a whole got a “D.” So did Hartford and New Haven.

Using the state’s year-old School Performance Index (an algebraic-like formula that condenses all student state test scores, averaged over a three year period, into a single number) ConnCan rated and ranked every public school in the state. It also looked at academic performance of specific student groups, such as black, Hispanic, low-income and English Language Learners.

The idea, according to ConnCAN Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Alexander, was to give parents, community members and lawmakers a look at how will schools are doing, albeit a dated one since it doesn’t take into account any improvements that may have occurred during the 2013-14 school year.

“This was the most recent data available,” said Alexander. The group didn’t have all the data sets it needed to compile the report sooner, she said.

 She expects parents to use the data to ask questions about what their schools are doing to change outcomes.

 Click here to go to ConnCAN’s School Report Cards website

Along with the interactive report cards (you can compare scores) ConnCAN also compiled Success Story and Top 10 school lists.

In Bridgeport, the success stories were the district’s three magnet schools – Park City, High Horizons, and Multicultural Magnet School – where students get in by lottery and have to do well to stay. Those three schools also surface on top 10 lists for schools that do well with high minority or low income students.

Alexander, however, pointed out that statewide, all forms of schools, traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools and a technical high school, made one or more top 10 lists.


Linda Lambeck