Education

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 This hour, two education leaders discuss turnarounds of a very different type. In Bloomfield, not too many years ago, students struggled with some of the worst math scores in the state, and only about half of students went on to colleges. Those numbers have improved substantially over the last few years. We talk about the successes with the school superintendent, James Thompson.

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Connecticut has seen graduation rates steadily rise over the last five years. But questions are being asked about what’s behind the numbers.  

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Nearly every lawmaker in the General Assembly voted to create minimum qualifications for the state’s education commissioner. But Governor Dannel Malloy decided to veto the bill and now the state’s largest teachers union is now asking the legislature to override the veto.

Peter Morenus / University of Connecticut

Educators are gathered this week at the University of Connecticut for Confratute – a professional development conference that explores ways for teachers to apply gifted and talented teaching methods towards whole school improvement.

WNPR/David DesRoches

There’s something a little bit different about Don Sawyer’s classroom. For one, it’s all boys, most of them sent here because they were at risk of dropping out of school.

SoundWaters

For many low-income children in Connecticut, summer isn't a time filled with fun trips to the beach or chances to learn. This often leads to something called "summer slide," as they kids lose some of the gains they made while in school.

WNPR/David DesRoches

The report issued after the Newtown school shooting by the state's Office of the Child Advocate cites the importance of having both school psychologists and social workers on a school's mental health team.

Martin Meehan began his tenure as president of the University of Massachusetts Wednesday by a holding a roundtable discussion with students at UMass Boston.

Meehan said he intends to build UMass into “the best public university system in the nation.”  During an interview in May he talked about ways to elevate the university’s stature.

"It is looking at how to improve, achieve more excellence. You can always increase your research and continue to improve," he said.

George Chochos

Back in 1990, there were more than 300 college-in-prison programs in the U.S. By 1997, the number was down to less than ten -- eliminated as part of the nation’s movement to get "tough on crime." 

Level Up Village

From her school in Greenwich, Greer sends a video to Ramish, who lives in Karachi, Pakistan. Greer tells her about dissecting a sheep heart.

“It was really cool, but the smell wasn’t so cool, but it was still awesome,” Greer said.

ct.edu

The state Board of Regents approved a program that will allow community college students to earn an associate degree while pursuing their bachelor's degree after transferring into a Connecticut state college or university.

It's called the reverse transfer program. 

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As public school enrollment continues to fall in over 70 percent of Connecticut towns, expenses have actually gone up. In fact, of all the states that have declining enrollment, Connecticut’s school spending has increased the most.

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Avon has decided to replace its school social workers with school psychologists. According to the district, school psychologists will better meet students' needs.

The University of Massachusetts is forging stronger ties with Springfield.  A new partnership in education based in Springfield is aimed at improving health care in urban and rural areas of western Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester will open a campus in 2017 at Baystate Health’s flagship medical center in Springfield.  This will be the first regional campus for the state’s only public medical school. By placing it in western Massachusetts, officials hope to begin to address a severe shortage of physicians in the region.

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A landmark state education funding trial that was delayed in January is scheduled to take place later this year.

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Thirty-three members of four different school boards from three towns get together twice a month to talk education.

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Summer vacation has started for most school children, and that means free summer lunch programs are also beginning across the state.

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Connecticut's college financing authority says it's offering a lower fixed rate on supplemental student loans following the recent passage of a bill aimed at addressing student debt.

PATH Academy Windham

Teachers at Path Academy Windham are now represented by the American Federation of Teachers, the state’s second-largest teachers union. Last week, the teachers signed a two-year agreement with the school and its management organization, a Hartford-based group called Our Piece of the Pie, one of many organizations that run charter schools in Connecticut.

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Colebrook School is tiny. One of its classes has only seven students. It’s so small that for the last two years, there’s been an effort to merge it with the elementary school in neighboring Norfolk. 

The location for a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts has been narrowed down.

A review committee for the Springfield Diocese recommends the new school be built either at the former location of Cathedral High School on Surrey Road in Springfield, or adjacent to a Catholic cemetery in Chicopee. 

A spokesman said Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will announce a final decision in a few weeks.

Cathedral was destroyed by a tornado four years ago. Mayor Domenic Sarno said it is vital to rebuild on the site.

The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high."

Sound the trumpets. This is a really big deal. There's just one problem: The president didn't explain how we got here. For the past few months, the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations in more than a dozen states have been digging into these numbers to find out.

David DesRoches / WNPR

Jennifer Necci is trying to get seventh graders to tell her how well they think they’re writing about a book they’ve read.  

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  Between regular coursework finals, advanced placement tests, and college entrance exams, junior year of high school is rough. Now piled on top is the new SBAC assessment, which has faced lots of pushback from students, families, and educators across the state.

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New charter schools in the state would be subject to a two-step approval process, as well as new laws over disclosing their records. The bill has passed the house and senate, and is now sitting at the governor’s office.

Alberto Cairo / ProPublica

Public schools across Connecticut restrain or seclude students over 30,000 times a year. Some kids are restrained hundreds of times annually, and some are secluded for minor behavior problems, according to an investigation by the Office of the Child Advocate.

A veteran educator with a track record of turning around struggling urban schools will be put in charge of a troubled western Massachusetts school system. The state’s education commissioner has appointed the current superintendent of schools in Wakefield as receiver for the Holyoke public schools.

Stephen Zrike, who was a principal at three Boston schools and led a network of elementary schools in Chicago, will now be in charge of the effort to improve student achievement at one of the worst school districts in the state.

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A new superintendent has taken the helm at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

Rear Adm. James Rendon became the academy's new leader at a ceremony Monday on the riverfront campus.

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A controversy has erupted between the state’s largest teachers union and an education reform group over student privacy. 

The Connecticut Education Association claims that Hamden Public Schools gave an education reform group school data that risks exposing personal information about students.

Brown University ranks among the top 10 universities whose undergraduates go on to win the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.

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