When Connecticut was awarded a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind requirements, state officials set up a new system to begin rating its districts and schools to identify those struggling the most.

Those grades were released Monday, with the New Britain school system rated the lowest-performing district in the state, followed closely by Windham, Bridgeport, New London and Hartford.

The 30 lowest-performing districts are collectively eligible for an additional $39.5 million for the coming school year. Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor held an afternoon-long forum at the state Capitol complex Monday on what he expects to see in district applications for this funding. He has told district school officials that some of that money can pay for existing programs in danger of closing because of budget shortfalls. Other options for this new funding include reading interventions, extended schoolday, teacher development, early education, implementation of a new teacher evaluation and wraparound services.


School district leaders Monday were also informed which of their schools could be the target of significant state intervention and be required to join the state’s Commissioner’s Network. There are 27 schools rated as the worst-off in the state, whose score is based on standardized test results and high school graduation rates.

“Most of them will join the network,” Ranjana Reddy, of the State Department of Education, told district officials Monday.

Overall, 160 schools are eligible to join the commissioner’s network and have significant state oversight. Pryor will select a few schools to become network school for the coming school year. Up to 25 schools will be subject to state intervention the following school year. The State Board of Education approved guidelines for those school-level state takeovers last week.

A full list of the 27 schools rated as the lowest achieving or the 160 schools susceptible to state intervention were not immediately available to the public from the state department, despite individual school leaders being informed which of their schools have been identified.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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