WNPR

David DesRoches

Reporter

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR f.m. and dot org. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway. 

He's won some awards. He's lost some, too. Winning is better, but neither really matter. What matters is the work. Here are some of his stories that matter: special education; toxic PCBs in schools; hate crime; environmental damages

When he was a kid, people told him life isn't fair. He still doesn't buy it. Consequently, he could be biased toward fairness, which manifests in different ways, such as fighting inequality and inequity. He is an activist for truth and for transparency. He tries to paraphrase smart mentors but he often paraphrases Jeffrey Lebowski instead. If you have a problem with his stories or his bias, talk to him. Call him out. If you’re right, he’ll be better for it. If you’re wrong, you at least got something off your chest. 

His true passion is music. It’s in his veins, always there. Kurt Vonnegut, a lifelong atheist, once said that “…virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician,” and that “music is the proof of the existence of God.” It turns out, a lot of journalists are musicians. If they’re not, they’re likely huge music fans. David's both. He also loves to cook, woodwork, write fiction (never for WNPR) and will probably continue writing about his trip to Ethiopia for his entire life (it was over ten years ago).

He loves being in the studio and being creative with sound. Radio is right up his alley. He enjoys telling people’s stories, holding the powerful to account, FOIA’ing and data diving, eating poorly and trying to find words to end this bio. How about an onomatopoeia? Bam. 

Ways to Connect

Ella's Dad / Creative Commons

Twelve school districts across Connecticut will be getting state-funded preschools starting this fall. It’s the first step toward the governor’s goal to provide preschool to all children.

Stamford Advocate/Lindsay Perry

  One person has been convicted. Two people face criminal charges, and another three might be losing their jobs. All this happened after the school district in Stamford fumbled an investigation into allegations that a teacher was having sex with one of her students.

Hartford Public Schools

  Principal Julie Goldstein huddled with her staff, anxiously waiting to hear if her school had won. Holding her breath, the announcement was made.

It was confirmed. Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford was named the best in the country by the Magnet Schools of America. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

Advocates for the rights of children met in Hartford to talk about how to reduce the number of students being restrained or secluded in school. Part of the solution involves training educators on alternative ways to handle behavior problems.

Roughly half of the state’s school districts have been trained in what’s called positive behavior interventions and supports, or PIBS. It’s a program designed to limit restraints and seclusions of students with disabilities. Many of these kids have autism, and these incidents often lead to injuries.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state legislature's Appropriations Committee made it clear this week that it does not want to fund two new charter schools in Connecticut.

Committee co-chair Senator Beth Bye said there are too many other educational programs that need money. So it cut about $21 million from the governor’s proposed budget that was supposed to be used to fund the new charters.

But the owners of the Stamford Charter School for Excellence went ahead and signed a lease anyway.

Twitter

New Haven schools have partnered with various organizations to help discipline students more effectively. The city's efforts are part of a broader statewide push to examine behavior problems through a new lens.

Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation

Scarlett Lewis is on a mission. She lost her six-year-old son, Jesse, during the 2012 Newtown school shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead. But somehow, through something barely short of a miracle, she’s been able to use that pain and turn it into something powerful. 

Lewis created the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to honor the message her son left on the family’s chalkboard the day he died – nurturing healing love. One of the things she’s trying to do is bring social and emotional learning into public schools.

Seth Sawyers / Creative Commons

A recent fight in Connecticut to keep a college campus open has led to new discussions over how the public university system is managed. 

So, what’s the best way to make tough decisions involving public colleges?

College Summit Connecticut / Facebook

New Haven's peer mentorship program has helped the public schools increase the number of graduating seniors who go to college and stay there. 

The program started in 2010, and was created by Connecticut College Summit, a local non-profit. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

As people hurried out of offices and buildings to head home on Monday evening, the sidewalk and stoop in front of Hartford City Hall sprang alive.

Placards reading “Save Renzulli” and “Minds Over Money” waved through the air. Children meandered wearing white shirts that read “Renzulli Rising” on the front, with the word “eviction” crossed out underneath.

WNPR/Ryan King

Robert Noll’s job is pretty simple. As a contractor for MARC Industries in Manchester, Noll screws nuts onto U-bolts that are used to install pipes and sprinkler systems.

But he's visually and intellectually disabled, so performing this task efficiently is sometimes a problem. 

AFT Connecticut

Twenty-eight Connecticut magnet schools were honored as some of the best in the country. Ten schools were named "schools of excellence," which is the highest award given by the Magnet Schools of America organization.

Connecticut has the highest number of award-winning magnet schools per capita compared to any other state.

Justin McGlamery/Twitter

The Renzulli School for the Gifted has been touted as a success story in Hartford, but now the city is moving the school to another location.

Three school communities are being affected by Renzulli’s move to the Rawson School, yet no parents were involved in this decision, and neither were the School Governance Councils nor the Board of Education. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

Dozens of students marched to their college president's home on Sunday after racist graffiti was found in several campus bathrooms.

The graffiti read, “no n------”, with the “n” word spelled out. Sources tell WNPR that the graffiti was found in several bathrooms and in different handwriting styles.

David DesRoches / WNPR

Classes are canceled at Connecticut College on Monday after racist graffiti was found in a bathroom Sunday.

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