Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that his upcoming biennial budget proposal will include an expansion of the program created in the 2012 education reform package -- the Commissioner's Network -- that aims to turnaround some of the lowest performing schools in the state in order to help thousands of students receive a quality education and close the achievement gap. It was also announced that six schools will be invited to advance to the next phase of a planning process for inclusion in the Network in the 2013-14 school year.
The Commissioner's Network is a vehicle for innovative and transformative initiatives that reach beyond surface reforms. Governor Malloy's upcoming biennial budget proposal will include an additional $14.1 million over the biennium to allow more low performing schools to participate in the program, bringing the total funding available for the Commissioner's Network to $27.5 million, enough to at least double the current amount of districts participating.
"For too long, we failed to bring about meaningful reform in our state's lowest performing schools. The Commissioner's Network is changing that by directing more resources to our students and making other meaningful changes to ensure that students have every available opportunity to succeed," Governor Malloy said. "Working together with our state's dedicated teachers, we will close the achievement gap."
"I am grateful to the Governor and Lt. Governor for their continued commitment to the education reforms passed last year. We remain dedicated to closing Connecticut's largest-in-the nation achievement gap through increased involvement and innovation in our state's lowest performing schools," Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor said. "We're pleased that the Governor's budget will enable the expansion of the Commissioner's Network, providing more schools with the flexibility and resources they need to undertake successful turnarounds."
Six schools from five districts were invited today by Commissioner Pryor to convene turnaround committees and develop turnaround plans for participation in the Commissioner's Network for the 2013-2014 school year. The six schools that have been initially selected are Richard C. Briggs High School (Norwalk), Crosby High School (Waterbury), DiLoreto Magnet Elementary School (New Britain), P.L. Dunbar School (Bridgeport), Walsh Elementary School (Waterbury), and Windham Middle School (Windham). Additional schools may be included in the Network going forward.
The New Haven school district has also indicated interest in submitting additional schools for consideration.
To date, Bridgeport's Curiale School, Hartford's Core Knowledge Academy at Milner School, New Haven's High School in the Community, and Norwich's Stanton School are participating in the program.
Districts interested in joining the Commissioner's Network were required to submit an expression of interest by January 4. The next steps for schools will be to convene turnaround committees and to develop turnaround plans through an inclusive process. To assist districts in the formulation of such plans, the CSDE will conduct an instructional and operational audit in each of the proposed Commissioner's Network schools. All selected schools must submit their turnaround plans to the Commissioner, with state review and approval to take place later this spring.
Six districts applied for consideration to join the Network for the 2013-2014 school year.
The budget proposal, announced at Richard C. Briggs High School in Norwalk, is part of the Governor's legislative package which will be unveiled on February 6.