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New State Grades Find Room For Improvement At Many Bridgeport Schools

Connecticut's Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell
Connecticut's Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — For the first time in four years, the state Department of Education on Wednesday released grades on public schools and many schools in Fairfield County scored high marks.

“Our new accountability system will tell a deeper, truer story of how well a school is preparing its students for success,” Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell said.

Of the 84 “Schools of Distinction” in 2014-15 — or those ranking among the top 10 percent overall — these are in Fairfield County:

  • Bethel's Frank A. Berry School
  • Darien’s Hindley, Tokeneke, Holmes and Middlesex Schools.
  • Fairfield’s Dwight, Riverfield, Sherman and Osborn Hill.
  • Greenwich’s North Mianus, North Street, Old Greewich, Riverside, Parkway and International School at Dundee.
  • Monroe’s Stepney Elementary.
  • New Canaan's East School and West School
  • Newtown's Hawley and Middle Gate
  • Redding's Redding Elementary
  • Ridgefield's Veterans Park
  • Trumbull’s Jane Ryan and Daniels Farm School

According to the state, one school exited "focus" status for needing improvement: Stamford's Davenport Ridge.

But for those found in need of improvement, 15 schools are listed in Category 4, which are newly identified turnaround and focus schools, and 15 more are listed in Category 5, which are previously identified turnaround and focus schools.

Here are the schools in Category 4:

  • Bridgeport's Biotechnology, Research and Zoological Studies High at the Fairchild-Wheeler Magnet Campus, Edison, Hooker, Bridgeport Military Academy, Waltersville, Cross and Blackham
  • Brookfield's Brookfield High School
  • Danbury's Danbury High and Alternative Center For Excellence
  • Norwalk's West Rocks Middle, Brien McMahon High and Norwalk Pathways Academy at Briggs
  • Stamford's Rippowam Middle and Westhill High School

Here are the schools in Category 5:

  • Bridgeport's Barnum, Bryant, Columbus, Luis Munoz Marin School, Cesar Batalla School, Jettie S. Tisdale School, Roosevelt, Geraldine Johnson School, Dunbar, Curiale School, Bassick High and Harding High
  • Stamford's Roxbury, Trailblazers Academy and Stamford Academy

The schools were ranked using the state's Next Generation Accountability System. It rates schools on the following factors:

  • academic achievement on state assessments
  • academic growth
  • assessment participation rate
  • chronic absenteeism
  • coursework
  • exams
  • ninth-graders on track to graduate
  • four-year graduation rate for all students
  • six-year graduation rate for high needs students
  • college enrollment rate
  • physical fitness
  • arts access.
Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System "tell the story of how well a school is preparing its students for success in college, careers and life."

The new system moves beyond test scores and provides a "more holistic, multifactor perspective of district and school performance and incorporates student growth over time," the education department said in a statement.

The new system measures academic achievement and focuses on student growth over time. It also includes additional key indicators, such as chronic absenteeism, physical fitness and arts access.

"Research tells us that students who attend school on a daily basis and maintain a healthy lifestyle are more likely to graduate and succeed in college," the state said.

"Access to an engaging arts curriculum creates a more well-rounded educational experience."

To learn more about the system, visit the performance and accountability section of the state Department of Education’s website .

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