I'm always excited to see my city getting kudos in the national press - but yesterday's op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times really made my week (ok, maybe even my month). Mr. Kristof praised New Haven for its groundbreaking collaborative effort in working in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers. He said “New Haven has arguably become ground zero for school reform in America.” And you know what – he’s right.
Here in New Haven we've been fully immersed in the School Change Initiative for the past two years - and the strategies our city has employed have become our "new normal." The effort has three main themes: creating a diverse portfolio schools, employing the very best teachers and administrators in the country, and bringing the community together to support students in their out-of-school lives so that they will be ready to learn when they come to school and equipped to succeed in college and work when they leave high school. These strategies have become embedded in our culture - words that we didn't have in our vocabulary two years ago are now part of the community vernacular - climate surveys, tiering, turnaround schools, Boost!, Promise and TEVAL. We’ve accepted it, we expect it, we complain about it, we live it.