More targeted efforts to heighten educational equity and excellence for students got a boost this week with the new State comprehensive plan. In making its case, the State Department of Education crafted an important blueprint for school improvement, laying out key actions over a five-year time period,in the areas of High Expectations, Great Teachers and Leaders, and Great Schools. Here are a few key actions and outcomes that caught our attention:
Actions relating to College and Career Readiness and Completion:
- Support the universal use of the Student Success Plan model to ensure that every student has a pathway to achieve his or her goals and aspirations;
- Work with our partners in higher education to ensure that secondary school academic expectations are aligned with postsecondary entrance and success criteria;
- Expand and strengthen relevant, well-defined, and varied career pathway options and programming;
- Incorporate additional career readiness metrics, such as industry-recognized credential obtainment, into the state’s Next Generation Accountability System; and
- Ensure that students are credit with appropriate, credible learning experiences that occur during periods when they are outside the jurisdiction of their local school district.
Actions relating to Student Centered Learning:
- Strengthen and expand supports and resources for districts to design and implement mastery-based learning and personalized learning systems;
- Support educators’ professional development specific to mastery-based learning through communities of practice; and
Remove administrative barriers, recommend policy changes, and provide top-notch support for local boards of education that elect to move toward mastery-based learning.
The Bottom Line. There is an incredible amount of work laid out in the State’s new strategic plan, and a ton of clarity still needed to understand what much of it means in the way of standards, resources, programs, and mandates. We invite the State to work with us and other partners to present the plan in greater detail to interested stakeholders here in Hartford. There are many actions, such as “Develop a comprehensive plan on inter-district magnet schools that place them in an appropriate context with all the other public school program offerings available to parents and students in the state,” which residents and leaders should discuss and find ways on which to partner.