The Hartford Board of Education last week approved design specifications for the three-academy structure of the new Weaver High School. Later this month, or next month, a community forum will focus on the building design that architects and construction management firms have worked on for years – literally. And at last week’s Weaver Steering Committee meeting, there was a sense (at least from us) that the real work of designing high-performing neighborhood high school options in North Hartford has begun.
Four committees, each meant to have representation from at least one parent from one of the three Weaver academies – Kinsella Magnet, High School Inc., and Journalism and Media – along with representation from the Blue Hills Civic Association, reviewed their committee membership and charge so far. The four initial design committees include:
- Student Experience (In and Out of School)
- School Climate and Culture
- Family and Community Engagement
Each committee will be setting its meeting times shortly, publicizing membership, and prepping to plan and test out design strategies in two-month cycles. And a strategy to keep the larger community up to date on the design work is being formulated.
The Bottom Line
While the Granby Avenue facility’s latest redesign is being completed, the obvious challenge is to gel its three separate schools (and three separate leadership teams) into a reinvented and newly iconic Weaver that, as the original school did so well, excites the community and all families and feeder schools. The good news, from our perspective, is that the Blue Hills Civic Association has been deeply involved in work with community leaders for more than a year, sharpening the vision of what a new Weaver could be (as well as pinning down the standards needed).
The absolute worst thing that could happen would be for this process to start off with an aspiration to raise the standard of education delivered in Hartford, only to morph into a series of decisions made with no mind paid to quality – a la Equity 2020. The work is off to a positive start, from our perspective on the steering committee, but more help is needed, and we encourage anyone with an interest to reach out – whether you want to serve on the committee Achieve Hartford! is co-chairing on Student Experience, or any of the other committees mentioned above. Each one reach one!