Bridgeport Public Schools
NUA Director: Veronica McDermott
Bridgeport Liaison / Director: Theresa Carroll
“This is Bridgeport. Expect great things,” is much more than a slogan emblazoned on school district stationery, or the electronic banner that greets visitors to the official website , or the greeting hung prominently in main offices and hallways of district 30 plus schools. “This is Bridgeport. Expect great things” has become a rallying cry, a belief statement and way of doing business that has paid off. Today, five years after the then new superintendent, John Ramos, coined this slogan, the City of Bridgeport Public Schools is doing great things. Despite being one of the poorest districts in one of the richest states in the nation; despite being one of Connecticut’s historically lowest performing school districts; despite serving a population where the medium income is a little over $16,000 a year, where over a third of the adult population does not have a high school diploma, where almost 90% of the students are Hispanic or black, where 95% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, great things are happening.
This year academic achievement as measured by State assessments showed strong gains. District scores in literacy went up 5% from last year. In math the gain was 10% for the entire district and 12% for the special education subgroup. Additionally five schools made Safe Harbor, one of which was one of the first schools in the nation to be labeled in need of improvement prior to NCLB. This school and three of the remaining five schools to reach Safe Harbor have been part of the NUA partnership with the district since its inception in 2005, a partnership that is in total alignment with the district’s mission: The mission of the Bridgeport Public Schools and its supporting community is to graduate all students college ready and prepared to succeed in life.
The Bridgeport/NUA Partnership began in 2005 – 06. The first year was devoted to conducting an Instructional Assessment and district-wide awareness sessions. In 2006-07 program implementation began in earnest. Initially 19 of the district’s lowest performing schools were targeted. Over time, the number was reduced to 17 due to re-districting driven by new school reconstruction. Most recently, the number of schools was reduced to nine due to a dramatic decrease in the revenues available to support the partnership. This year’s implementation will provide two levels of service. Six of the schools will receive site visits from trained NUA mentors. Two additional schools have been selected to be Vanguard schools. Their selection was based upon their implementation of NUA to date and their willingness to work toward becoming Mediative Learning Communities. As such opportunities for student voice projects will be explored and implemented, as will internal assessment procedures and sustainability efforts. Over the years NUA has supported the district’s yearly goals, which have included culturally-responsive teaching, reading in the content areas, and differentiation. In addition, we have had a two-year implementation of Instrumental Enrichment, a pedagogical process designed to develop students’ cognitive skills.
Beardsley Elementary School students (Bridgeport, CT) have prepared, planned, written, recorded, and produced a radio show. In 2001 Beardsley Elementary School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was labeled a failing school under No Child Left Behind, one of the first schools in the nation to receive this designation. Today, the sounds of success are everywhere. Listen into this 30-minute radio show written, produced, recorded and hosted by the Grade 6 students during a marathon four-day session to gain insight into what success sounds like.
Click here to listen to the Beardsley students’ radio show online
Click here to read the ASCD Express article about the project
Bridgeport and Albany Teachers Receive Certification in Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (IE) program – Press Release – The Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) is a classroom curriculum designed to enhance the cognitive functions necessary for academic learning and achievement. The fundamental assumption of the program is that intelligence is dynamic and modifiable, not static or fixed. The belief is that talent and intelligence is a process which can be guided and developed by good teaching; not as something we have inherited and derived solely from our genes, but as something we can do and improve through deliberative practice. Designed as a two- or three-year program in three levels, FIE consists of fourteen instruments, which are taught through a multi-level certification process. Read the Bridgeport Press Release.
Real progress on improved schools – The Connecticut Post, October 30 2009 – Aliana, a special education student at Bridgeport’s Blackham Middle School, is a testament to the power of self-confidence. She received the maximum score of 5 on the reading portion of the Connecticut Mastery Test last year and a 4 on the math section — an incredible achievement for a student who had arrived in Bridgeport just three years earlier, unable to read. She credits her teacher and the organizational skills and commitment of her school’s principal. As Aliana, who used to spend time in a self-contained classroom, now says: “I do not have to be the one aside, not doing anything.” Read more
Ramos calls visit to Israel ‘super’ -City youngsters may get to visit Israel and a 92-year-old city high school dropout could finally collect a diploma from Central High School as a result of Supt. of Schools John Ramos’ recent trip to Israel. Back this week from a six-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, Ramos called the experience incredible and said it gave him insight into what is happening in the small, Middle Eastern nation bounded by Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Read more
Albany and Bridgeport Teachers To Learn Revolutionary Teaching Methods
Consulate General of Israel in New York Press Release (Ocotober 2008)
At a workshop on 23-24 October 2008, held in Woodbury, New York, teachers and administrators from schools in Albany, New York and Bridgeport, Connecticut began training in a program to introduce a radical approach to learning. They learned groundbreaking educational techniques from educational experts from the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA) and the Jerusalem-based International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential (ICELP). These new developments can radically improve students’ education, raise their scores on tests, and ensure that students mistakenly slated for special education can function well in the standard classroom. Read more