Hartford Schools
12:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Hartford's New Superintendent Sees Internal Achievement Gap

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez.
Beth Schiavino-Narvaez.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR
"Our lowest-performing school has eleven percent of students reading proficiently, and our highest performing school has 92 percent of students reading proficiently."
Beth Schiavino-Narvaez

Hartford's new school superintendent held her first press conference on Monday. She said her top priority is to eliminate the achievement gap within Hartford's schools. 

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez is a former teacher, principal, and administrator who comes to Hartford most recently from Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools. Speaking to reporters and supporters, Schiavino-Narvaez said her most important goal is to make sure there is no difference between the district's magnet and high-performing schools on the one hand, and the rest of its schools on the other.

"What's striking here, and I think is our greatest challenge in the Hartford Public Schools: the incredible variability of performance across the system," Schiavino-Narvaez said. "The data point I keep coming back to is third-grade reading proficiency. Our lowest-performing school has eleven percent of students reading proficiently, and our highest performing school has 92 percent of students reading proficiently. So that's the work."

Schiavino-Narvaez has set up a transition team to help her ease into the district. One part of that team will look at equity in education for students whose first language isn't English and for students in special education. She said helping to accelerate the progress in the district's lowest-performing schools is her central focus, and she hopes it will be her legacy.

"I want to see a decrease in that variability of performance," Schiavino-Narvez said. "It's too wide. I want people to say, 'Yes, she promised she would be an equity warrior and things are better for kids. This is a more equitable system and our kids are seeing more equitable outcomes and they're thriving in their future.'"

Schiavino-Narvaez officially starts work July 1. She replaces Christina Kishimoto, whose contract was not renewed by the board of education.