Four years ago, New Haven schools underwent a major change to ensure their students were properly prepared for college, and on Friday, School Superintendent Garth Harries announced a big step in continuing the school change movement.
“We are deepening and extending our work four years later with another landmark contract, a contract that takes the good work we started in 2009 and builds on it, continues to put students at the center of our professional world,” said Harries.
The contract, which teachers ratified by a vote of 779 to 75, is centered around teacher performance. Those who perform well, or who take on more responsibility at hard-to-serve schools, will be eligible for raises. Low-performing teachers will have the opportunity to go through professional development to improve their teaching and be eligible for raises.
“It's increased responsibility and increased accountability, and we're fine with that. If we have a good evaluation system in place, which we do, and it's followed with fidelity, we have no problem,” said David Cicarella, president of the New Haven Teachers Federation.
Teachers will also increase their work days by 15 minutes to give them more time with students or for professional development.
“It means you have teachers who are here for them," said Ashley Hayes, a New Haven teacher. "They're focused, they're targeted instruction, they're doing things to meet the needs of the students."
For students, that means a better education in the New Haven school system.
“As we improve ourselves, it makes the students better,” said Hayes.
The contract will go to the Board of Education at its next meeting on Tuesday and will then be passed to the Board of Aldermen for a vote.