From the education advocacy group Excel Bridgeport www.excelbridgeport.com:
On Friday, the Connecticut State Department of Education released the data from the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT), yearly tests given by to students in 3rd through 8th and 10th grades respectively.
We plan to dig even deeper into this data, so please check our website, but here are some of Excel’s initial thoughts.
FACT: Bridgeport students are capable of high levels of achievement.
Students in some Bridgeport charter and magnet schools performed above or on par with students across the state. The average of math and reading scores for students at Multicultural Magnet were above state averages and students at Park City Magnet and High Horizons were right on par with the state average (CT DOE). In addition, several Bridgeport schools experienced dramatic improvements. Students at Bridge Academy and Achievement First Bridgeport Academy made double digit gains. This data proves that Bridgeport students are capable of great things.
FACT: Neighborhood schools in Bridgeport are not yet showing consistent and meaningful improvements.
The Superintendent’s office reported that there were slight increases in CMT scores in grades 3, 4 and 8 but scores remained flat or decreased in grades 5, 6 and 7 (Bridgeport Public Schools, 7/20). Scores in our high schools remain flat and very low. Only 10% of high school students across the district are at goal in math. Even fewer, only 8% of students, were at goal in reading. Those scores tell us that Bridgeport high school students are not ready for college or for the 21st century workplace (CT DOE).
FACT: Bridgeport is still the lowest performing large, urban school district in Connecticut.
Our initial review of district-by-district data shows us that Bridgeport is still the lowest performing district of its urban group (which includes Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury and Stamford). While scores in Hartford (Hartford Public Schools 7/19) and New Haven (New Haven Public Schools 7/19) have continued to rise, Bridgeport scores do not show that upward trend. The New Haven and Hartford school districts are similar to Bridgeport in both size and demographics, but their district leaders have committed to making changes to improve their schools. These results show that progress is also possible in Bridgeport schools with the right changes.
FACT: Dramatic and sweeping change is needed throughout the district.
In order to achieve Excel’s Vision of 20,000 Bridgeport students being on a path for success in any field, we need to make major improvements together.
First, Bridgeport Public Schools need strong and empowered leadership.
We commend Superintendent Vallas and his team for their ambitious and visionary School Improvement Plan, but we know that more time is needed to see how these reforms impact Bridgeport’s student achievement. We are encouraged that the standardization of curriculum including a shared scope and sequence, benchmarks and teacher-created resources will support the consistency of quality across the district. We are hopeful that the state’s designation of Bridgeport as an Alliance District will result in additional resources and interventions for schools that are not progressing.
Second, our community needs to be central part of changing this district.
Parents are taking the lead to create and sustain improvements through the Parent Engagement Policy. Excel Bridgeport had the honor of support the leadership of the team of parents that envisioned and created this policy. Please join us on August 14 when the Board of Education votes on the passage of this ground-breaking document. To learn more about team of parent problem solvers who created and advocated for this policy and to connect with them, check out their Facebook page.
Third, our district needs good governance.
The Board of Education decides how the money is spent, creates the policies that impact our students, and hire and supervise the superintendent. We need Board of Education members who work together, who talk with and listen to parents and who have the skills and knowledge to use our money wisely. Join us at one of our listening tour “stops” this summer to learn more about the Board of Education and the impact it has on our students. See the tour dates and times at www.excelbridgeport.com.