The special master assigned to by the Connecticut Department of Education said Thursday that the district could consider working toward an all magnet school district as part of its effort to improve student achievement.
Dr. Steven Adamowski made the suggestion during a workshop on a three-year strategic operating plan the district will be developing. Adamowski said the state accepted a request by a New London delegation in 2006 to create an all magnet district and also allowed for schools in the city to have a threshold of 15 percent out-of-town students, a lower percentage than state requirements.
Adamowski said there are about 3,000 students in the district. He said state funds for magnet schools are allocated before Education Cost Sharing funds, and that New London would be eligible to receive $3,000 per student if it can create an all magnet district with a 25 percent white population.
“That’s $9 million. That’s huge. That’s a game changer,” said Adamowski.
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Adamowski said New London Public Schools has already made strides toward this goal. In addition to the , the newly renovated opened as a while the is currently scheduled to open as an arts magnet school for the 2013-2014 school year.
Adamowski said this goal could also be implemented with the goal of increasing regionalization, including the possibility of making STMHS part of a multi-school campus with other high schools in the region. He said the district could also consider working to incorporate the and - magnet schools located in New London that are not part of the public school district - rather than competing with them.
“This would be a way not only of saving the school system but saving the city,” said Adamowski.
The strategic operating plan will run from 2013 to 2016 and focus on closing the student achievement gap in the New London Public Schools. The plan will provide a benchmark for student achievement as well as a guideline for numerous district operations including budgets, facility planning, and evaluation of the superintendent.
The plan’s vision will be a statement on where New London schools should be in five years. Adamowski asked board members to develop a personal vision for the plan as well as a goal for what legacy they would like to leave with their public service.
The plan will include a theory of action to create strategies toward achieving the goals. Adamowski said traditional methods, such as increasing funds or resources, will lead to incremental improvements. He said the district may achieve fundamental changes to academic performance by a methods such as stronger enforcement of a curriculum schedule.
Adamowski said one method known as managed performance empowerment would have the district define its relationship with each school. Higher performing schools would have more autonomy, while chronically low performing schools would be subject to district interventions such as redesign, closure, or replacement with a higher performing school’s academic model.