Weekly Message from the Superintendent
Dear Staff and Families,
As 2022 winds down, I’d like to highlight some of the ongoing work that will ensure Stamford Public Schools continues to cultivate productive habits of mind, body and heart in every student, in 2023 and beyond.
Revitalizing Music Programs
In response to the negative impact COVID-19 had on school music programs, SPS music teachers created the Music Department Visionary Collaborative. They are developing a 3-year action plan to revitalize K-12 music programming, including a review of staffing, curriculum, and resources, and collaborations with partners such as Orchestra Lumos, INTEMPO, and Project Music.
Strengthening the Curriculum
Earlier this year, SPS completed a yearlong audit of PreK through Grade 12 curriculum, instructional practices and assessments. Key findings and recommendations were shared in October. Audit recommendations have been prioritized and an implementation timeline will be presented in January.
Building for the Future
As part of the first phase of the Long-Term Master Facilities Plan, we are submitting school construction plans to the state for approval and placement on the Department of Administrative Services priority list.
The Westhill High School plan was approved for reimbursement in December 2021, and the plan to rebuild Roxbury was added to the state priority list this month. Thanks to the work of our Stamford Delegation in Hartford, the state reimbursement rate for these projects will be 60%. Next month, we begin work on the application to build a K-8 school on the South End.
Refining our Strategic Focus
SPS introduced a new, five-year strategic plan in 2022 that was developed with input from staff, families, community groups, and elected officials. Key focus areas include academics, attendance, healthy lifestyle choices, social emotional learning, and service learning.
Engaging Families and the Community
The Office of Family and Community Engagement (OFCE) collaborates with schools, families, and community partners to support student achievement and school improvement. During the past calendar year, the OFCE co-hosted a popular webinar series on topics of importance to families and also worked with our schools and community partners to administer the 2022 climate survey that will serve as a benchmark for our ongoing school climate work.
Improving Attendance and Engagement
Regular school attendance improves academic outcomes. The Office for School Development is working with the Youth Services Bureau to enhance our capacity to monitor and improve student attendance. At the building level, teams are meeting regularly to review attendance data and create targeted strategies to reach chronically absent students.
The newly formed Office of Access and Opportunity is collaborating with the district and community to increase engagement and attendance among secondary school students. The office’s long-term vision is to improve school connectedness through relationship building and by offering student support programs that will increase relevance and maintain rigor.
Supporting Social Emotional Learning
A social emotional learning and mental health committee is addressing the growing challenges facing students. The committee is advancing evidence-based policies and practices to improve SEL programming and to implement initiatives such as our new Crisis Response Team. This team of highly trained social workers assists school-based staff when students experience acute psychosocial crises.
Expanding Career Pathways
Finally, our Career Pathways initiative is expanding the educational opportunities available to high school students.
Last fall, we piloted the Google Data Analytics Certification Program, while business students from all three high schools participated in a Financial Literacy and Trading EdTech software pilot with Stamford-based FinTron. Students applied their stock trading skills at the annual FinTronU Stock Market Challenge.
In spring 2023, students in the Cooperative Work Education Program will earn high school credit for paid part-time employment in conjunction with an online career development course. At Westhill, students will participate in the new Carpenter Pre-Apprenticeship program, including on-site work experiences through the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund.
Finally, we are planning a Manufacturing Pathway for 2023-24 as well as a Public Safety Pathway that is being developed in collaboration with the Stamford Police, Fire, and EMT Departments.
We have accomplished a great deal together in the last year and I look forward to what’s next!
Have a very Happy New Year!
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Dr. Tamu Lucero