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Coming from Districts: Increasing Educator Diversity Plans; and CT’s Literacy Center Makes Strides,

Coming Soon from Districts: Increasing Educator Diversity Plans

On Monday, the CT Post covered efforts to diversify the educator workforce in Connecticut. 

Honing in on several local districts, New Haven, Bridgeport, Danbury, Meriden, and Norwalk, the story explains how all students benefit from access to a teaching population with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and style—but also how students of color especially benefit from seeing representative role models. 

It's an issue that our affiliate, Education Reform Now CT, has covered extensively, producing research both in 2022 and 2023 comparing racial demographics among teacher and student populations, both statewide and within local public school districts and highlighting districts that have moved the needle. (ICYMI, the most recent report is worth a peek for the interactive maps!)

The article explains that legislation passed in 2023 requires all local districts to submit plans for recruiting, hiring, and retaining more educators of color. After being approved by the state, these district plans will need to be implemented by July 1, 2024.

State’s Literacy Center Makes Strides on Implementation

In a meeting with its advisory body, the Reading Leadership Implementation Council, yesterday—Dr. Melissa K. Wlodarczyk Hickey, Director of Connecticut’s Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success (the Center), unveiled Connecticut’s new K-3 Statewide Literacy Plan. The mission of the Center is to lead statewide change and increase the effectiveness of literacy teaching and learning through advocacy, research, and education so that all Connecticut students are reading at or above grade level independently and proficiently by the end of third grade. The state’s new plan outlines three strategic goals for literacy, in furtherance of that mission: 

  1. Increase K-3 student access to culturally responsive, scientifically based, evidence-based literacy teaching and learning practices

  2. Serve as collaborative research center to strengthen educator preparation program staff knowledge and understanding of culturally responsive, scientifically based, evidence-based literacy instruction implemented within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework; and 

  3. Share responsibility of birth to grade twelve (b-12) literacy education, including the promotion of whole family literacy well-being.

Out of 180 public school districts and charter schools in the state, Dr. Hickey reported that 175 (!!!) are already on track for the July 2025 deadline to implement the state’s Right to Read legislation—which requires them to adopt evidence-based early literacy practices and receive aligned professional development. 

The Center has also orchestrated a new webinar series spotlighting districts and charter schools as they share their progress in implementing a state-approved core comprehensive reading curriculum model or program for grades K-3. Check it out to hear from districts like Regional School District 17, Shelton, Tolland, Stonginton, Marlborough, and Newtown as they begin their Right to Read journeys!

Professional learning and coaching opportunities also abound across the state, including: 

  • 75 Alliance Districts and Opportunity Districts engaged with the UConn Neag School of Education, HILL for Literacy, and Literacy How in building multi-tiered systems of support

  • 500 teachers receiving training through ReadConn, which targets instructional expertise in reading, identification of skills gaps, and monitoring of students' early literacy progress

  • 11 district-based teams poised to get coaching with TNTP

  • 15 teams in smaller districts working with WestEd to develop local capacity for the science of reading and comprehensive K-3 literacy instruction

  • 8 literacy affinity groups getting support in implementation through Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES)

  • And more! 

It’s an exciting time for the state, as all hands are on deck to bring a coordinated approach for strong literacy skills to students in every classroom!

Other Must Reads: 

Another Student from Trinity College Pans Legacy Preference. 

“Connecticut’s potential move to abolish legacy admissions resonates deeply with me; it’s about giving kids from neighborhoods like mine a real chance to change their destinies. This isn’t just policy reform; it’s about breaking barriers, offering hope, and affirming that where we come from doesn’t limit where we can go.” 

More than 13,000 kids are enrolled in CT's 'baby bonds' program. Bravo, CT BPRC!

“As of April 1, Bridgeport led all municipalities with 1,334 kids in the program, followed by Hartford with 1,087, Waterbury with 1,051, New Haven with 898 and Stamford with 654, according to state data. Treasurer Erick Russell said Tuesday he expects about 15,000 kids will have been enrolled in the baby bonds program by July 1, consistent with early projections.”


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