Hartford public school officials said students and staff needs are going to be greater post-pandemic and that the status quo just isn’t going to cut.
The superintendent said there are discussions of instituting different learning models that could include extending the school day or moving to a longer school year to address attendance and academic achievement issues.
Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez gave examples of some the proposed changes.
"Starting with an intercession model where it could allow for an earlier start and a later end date. Allowing us to have during the intercession breaks, days or weeks of additional time," said Torres-Rodriguez. "This could be a new daily calendar for all students which leads to an earlier start and a later end date this however would be a systemic change for everyone," she added.
No changes are set in stone but the school system said change is imperative. According to the district, 48% of in-person learners are considered chronically absent in the Hartford Public Schools. Meanwhile, the district reports only 44% of high school students are on track for graduation.
"This is additional time that can be used for what is called intervention for students that need additional support by the way of additional staffing additional enrichment time for our teachers to learn from one another, so that means we would need additional staffing," said Torres-Rodriguez
With the potential changes set to cost tens of millions of dollars, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he’s fully onboard with any changes the school system implement but said help will be needed.
"Fortunately there’s already been some rounds of relief passed that includes educational assistance, but if we’re talking about a multi year effort to provide extra support to our students that partnership with federal government it’s going to have to be ongoing," Bronin said.
Torres-Rodriguez's said the timeline is still very early on.
"I would like to have more fully flushed designs within a month so that I can really engage deeply as much as possible....our teachers our staff and our families and our community partners," she said.