Research confirms the ability of English-language learners and students with special needs to perform at high levels with the correct supports. To ensure our schools are able to provide these supports and meet the needs of diverse learners, Hartford must prioritize support for its unique student populations.
This year, E4E-Connecticut held more than 150 focus groups, school visits, and individual conversations with educators and stakeholders and surveyed more than 180 Hartford Public School educators across diverse content areas, grade levels, and teaching backgrounds. Our research and engagement led us to four research-based recommendations to improve academic outcomes for unique student populations in Hartford Public Schools.
From this work, the E4E-Connecticut Hartford Teacher Policy Team on Unique Student Populations developed research-based recommendations to improve academic outcomes for unique student populations in Hartford Public Schools. These include:
- Individualization. The district should support principals and teachers to individualize instruction through student-centered instructional approaches, student success plans, and streamlined data systems.
- Collaboration. The district should invest in teacher collaboration, particularly between general education teachers and teachers specializing in unique student populations. This can include co-teaching and collaborative learning time.
- Parent empowerment. The district should provide readily accessible information that is jargon-free and available in our families’ native languages. The district should consistently hold School Governance Council meetings with representation of parents of children with unique needs. Targeted information and dedicated resources can build stronger partnerships between families and school staff.
- Accountability. The district should redesign its portfolio model to include data presentations that include specific reporting on students with unique needs, and regularly conducted school walk-throughs that include observation of programs, practices, and instructional results for unique student populations to help drive academic growth.
As teachers, we believe in the ability of every child. To ensure all our students achieve their full potential, our district must individualize instruction to meet students’ diverse needs, encourage teacher collaboration, treat parents as true partners, and then hold our schools accountable to achieving ambitious growth for unique student populations.