Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents

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Educational Transformation > Resources > 2011 Reports > 2011 Full Research Reports/Background

Core Recommendations from CAPSS

Action Steps required for progress.

Based on the extensive research we’ve conducted, CAPSS has developed 10 action-oriented recommendations that all revolve around the learner—and will serve to transform our public education system. Click on the links below to see a quick summary for each one.

1. Raising the Bar

Establish globally competitive, internationally benchmarked standards in language arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening) science, social studies, world languages and the arts.

  • Establish ambitious, focused and coherent education standards in all major education disciplines.
  • Ensure that our children will be globally competitive by benchmarking Connecticut’s educational standards to established international standards.
  • Measure child progress on college and career readiness standards and get public school systems and postsecondary institutions to agree on those standards.

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2. Making it Personal

Personalize learning to give all students the opportunity to learn at high levels.

  • Build instructional program on student learning needs, styles and interests.
  • Create multiple learning pathways that enable children to master essential standards, content and skills, and offer diversity andchoice in the school system.
  • Allow children to advance through school and ultimately graduate based on their own demonstration of essential knowledge, skills and dispositions—not on the amount of time they’ve spent in the classroom.
  • Redefine the use of time (Carnegie unit/calendar) in order to support a personalized learning system; make achievement the constant and time the variable. Allow students to learn anytime, anywhere.

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3. Starting with Early Childhood

Make quality early childhood experiences available to all three- and four-year-olds in order to get all children ready to learn as they enter kindergarten.

  • Make quality preschool education universally available in Connecticut.
  • Reallocate state funding and alter educational policy so that programs are positioned for measurable success at raising oral language, reading and numeracy skills.
  • Establish a structural relationship between preschool and the K-12 system.
  • Provide a challenging all-day kindergarten program to all children.

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4. Retooling Assessments and Accountability

De-emphasize standardized tests and create new methods of assessments to give students choices for how and when they demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

  • Adopt a more varied system of assessment to account for thefact that students not only learn best in different ways, they also demonstrate their mastery of information in a variety of ways.
  • Make accountability transparent, tailored to different uses andable to communicate student progress.
  • Replace instructional state mandates—focused on inputs—with student learning outcomes.
  • Include rewards/incentives in accountability system.
  • Base accountability on the four core disciplines—language arts,science, mathematics and social studies.

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5. Offering More Options and Choices

Increase diversity, flexibility and autonomy in school districts to maximize resources and better address the needs and interests of all students.

  • Review existing district structures based on 1) the capacity to provide different options for children to meet education standards;2) economic, social and geographic factors.
  • Provide students and their parents with a menu of options, including magnet schools, charter schools and vocational technicalschools as well as different schedules and curriculums.
  • Increase capacity for educators to provide options and choices for children.
  • Structure school districts so that they’re fiscally independent.

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6. Reforming Leadership

Realign Connecticut’s education system for success by making authority and responsibility equal.

  • Define the role and responsibilities of the Superintendent of Education (formerly Superintendent of Schools) in state statutes; make authoritycommensurate with responsibilities and eliminate ambiguity.
  • Change the state statutes so that:

– The Governor appoints the Commissioner of Education with the statutory authority and responsibility to provide educationalleadership.

– The position of the Superintendent of Education provides leadershipto the Board of Education.

– The District Board of Education makes decisions only on policymatters, the annual budget and the hiring, supervision and evaluation of the Superintendent.

– The contract between the District Board of Education and theSuperintendent of Education can be for a five-year period and is renewable.

  • Restrict authority of the Board of Education to its role as arepresentative body for the community it serves.

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7. Boosting Teacher Quality

Attract, develop, supportand retain teachers and principals of the highest quality.

  • Recruit and retain the best and brightest in the education profession.
  • Require first-year teachers to have extensive clinical experience, supported by strong coaching from experienced teachers as well as content knowledge and teaching skills.
  • Support exemplary teacher and school district leadership development programs and publicize key achievements.
  • Revise tenure law to include a rigorous, standards-based review process more closely tied to student learning. After educators show outstanding performance in student learning, they will receive five-yearcontracts, which districts may or may not renew.

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8. Involving Students and Parents

Engage parents, caregivers and community organizations as partners in a child’s education.

  • Foster a partnership for success among parents, schools and communities.
  • Help parents and caregivers understand how they make a differencein a child’s education.
  • Provide parents with choices for educating their children.
  • Work with parents and adults to support high expectations forlearning.
  • Utilize community organizations to help families foster reading skillsand produce literate children by grade three.

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9. Leveraging Technology

Use technology to transform teaching and learning.

  • Provide educators and students with equal access to technology.
  • Personalize learning with technology-based systems.
  • Ensure broadband access to Internet and wireless connections.
  • Provide on-demand access to learning resources, information andservices 24/7.
  • Integrate technology throughout school districts, facilities,leadership and management to increase efficiency and safety.

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10. Continuing Transformations

Ensure that transformation is a continuous process, not a one-time event.

  • Keep the educational system flexible to meet changing needs and expectations.
  • Support innovation in the public school systems. Change state regulations to promote and reward continued transformation.
  • Create mechanisms for teachers and administrators to propose and obtain approval for innovative practices that lead to improved student outcomes.

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To lead the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy for children and by developing and supporting executive school leaders.



Connecticut Association of
Public School Superintendents

26 Caya Ave | West Hartford CT 06110-1186
Phone: 860.236.8640 | Fax 860.236.8628
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