Ideas for improving school diversity

The story in today’s paper mentions a handful of ideas for correcting the racial imbalance in our schools, all attributed to unnamed officials:

* Establishing longer school days and longer school years for Smith and Charter Oak.

* Expanding student supervision from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. by creating more before- and after-school programs.

* Launching a new magnet theme at Charter Oak. Officials say the global studies theme is outdated now that most schools offer expanded language education.

* Changing Charter Oak to a K-8 school whose appeal would be smaller class sizes and programs for gifted and talented students. The school, like Smith, currently serves pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

* Working with the state and the Children’s Museum to build a new, regional magnet elementary school that would reserve a majority of its spots for West Hartford students, but also draw pupils from the whole Hartford region. School officials say the state would pay 95 percent of the costs for such a project.

* School officials also must weigh what to do with Norfeldt. Several officials questioned how much longer the north-end school, which serves a nearly 80 percent white population, and a significant population of special-needs students, will continue to offer its magnet program.

I’m especially intrigued with the Children’s Museum option, given that it needs to move and putting the new building in Elmwood would serve a variety of useful purposes. If it could be tied to a new school, so much the better (though I wouldn’t want to see the existing Charter Oak School abandoned because it’s a gem).



Filed under Charter Oak, Children's Museum, diversity, education, Elmwood, K-8, News, Schools, Smith, West Hartford

8 responses to “Ideas for improving school diversity

  1. Rick Liftig

    The Children’s Museum will be a wonderful match for Elmwood. Even now, its pre-school is sought after (I believe it has a two year waiting list). The Elmwood site would be easily accessed from the New Britain/Hartford Busway which would open its resources to the neighboring towns. The busway would also provide easy transportation for any students at CCSU who will be training/interning in elementary education.

    And, there are an astounding number of elementary schools within a five mile radius of Elmwood Center including the towns of Hartford, Newington, New Britain, Farmington and West Hartford (likely Wethersfield, too)

    Let’s just hope that the state/federal government doesn’t step in and attempt to micro-manage the problem.

  2. Joe Visconti

    Let’s hope the State doesn’t help with building a magnet for racial issue’s in Elmwood and continue to shortchange us on ECS.

  3. Well, my son attends Smith and the teachers are for the most part outstanding. The school had a little problem retaining a principle but other than that we cannot complain.

    We enrolled Max, in part because of the curriculum, but more because it is our local school and the same school I attended. The school and neighborhood does have a nice mix of people that we feel comfortable with.

    My nephew was enrolled at Charter Oak briefly but attending a school in which he was the minority left the entire family questioning the quality of education. And just as many minority families from Hartford have chosen to live in Elmwood my sister left the district to ensure her son had access to the best possible education.

    What we are witnessing in Elmwood isn’t “a lack of draw” – it’s called “white flight.”

    And (on another topic) I do not understand how a forum supposedly dedicated to West Hartford issues can turn a blind eye to the continued reign of the corrupt MDC chairman William “Billy” DiBella. When will member towns like the West Hartford town council (controlled by democrats) make a stand to ensure honesty in local government?

  4. Rick Liftig


    White flight in Elmwood? Haven’t seen it. I’ve heard a few paranoid people over the last 27 years, but no white flight.

    What I have seen is upward mobility. It’s a stretch for many a Hartford resident to move to West Hartford and they work hard to make it so. I have also seen several Elmwood residents work hard and choose to move from their starter home to a larger home in another neighborhood.

    If we were seeing white flight, they’d be over Avon Mountain by now!

  5. Joe Visconti

    “Upward Mobilty”? is that the same thing as Movin on up!!

  6. Upward mobility… that is almost politically correct of you Rick. The reality is when your school reaches an 80% minority enrolment and you know many of those students arrive at the school with language, learning and behavior problems you begin to question if it is the best environment for your child.

    And while a family’s ability to more may well be based on income the motivation to move in this case (or buy a specific new home) is directly related to the quality of education provided in the district. It is my understanding quality of education is the number 2 consideration when buying or renting.

    And what is even more interesting is that more and more families are choosing to upwardly motivate themselves to towns like Avon and Simsbury rather than relocate to another area of West Hartford.

    Lets see if the education and environment at Charter Oak is equivalent to other schools in West Hartford. I challenge the members of the West Hartford Board of Education and officers of the PTO to enroll their children in West Hartford’s “award winning” Charter Oak Magnet School.

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