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District Partners

Connecticut Council for Education Reform (Special Project)

District Partner 2014-2015

ERS partnered with the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) to provide a school system funding analysis for three districts: Bridgeport, Hamden, and Windham.

"My experience partnering with Education Resource Strategies has been beyond outstanding. It allowed CCER to bring ERS' research, methodology, analysis, and expertise to three of Connecticut's Alliance Districts (Alliance Districts are the lowest performing districts in the state, as determined by student achievement). All of the superintendents we worked with were extremely grateful for the in-depth analysis and recommendations generated by the partnership with ERS."
–Katie Roy, Former Chief Operating Officer, Connecticut Council for Education Reform

District Facts

ERS has developed a special relationship with CCER, an organization that works to close the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. This special project follows our work with Waterbury Public Schools in 2013, and involves a joint effort between the two organizations: CCER was the primary point of contact for districts and performed the analysis, while ERS provided guidance in the form of technical assistance and insight on findings. Together, Bridgeport, Hamden, and Windham serve 29,000 students, many of them low-income.

Work Focus

With support from ERS, CCER performed a detailed analysis of funding and resource use in each of the three districts, similar to a simplified version of our Strategic Resource Map projects.

Findings and Outcomes

The funding analysis led to a set of recommendations for each district that included:

Bridgeport:

  • Advocating for more funding from the state based on analysis of comparable district funding levels—as a result of this work, the district will receive increased funding starting in 2015-2016
  • Adjusting teacher salary structure to retain highly effective mid-career teachers
  • Considering revising the model of service for their growing English Language Learner (ELL) population

Hamden

  • Expanding very successful tutoring and full-day kindergarten program by reallocating resources from paraprofessional positions
  • Evaluating effectiveness of instructional coaching program

Windham

  • Improving data systems to promote ongoing resource analysis and data-driven decision-making
  • Reallocating significant resources spent on aides and leadership toward teacher salaries to make Windham’s teacher compensation more competitive
  • Investing more in professional development to develop and retain teachers

CCER plans to use the insights gained from this project to inform the ongoing conversation on Connecticut’s state funding formula. According to Katie Roy, CCER's former chief operating officer, “Connecticut’s state funding formula is broken. It’s unfair…some schools have what they need to educate kids, and others don't have textbooks for every child.” Through its advocacy work, and together with the newly created Connecticut School Finance Project, CCER will use this work to help the state and interested stakeholders understand how resources are used at the district level so they can create an effective and fair state funding formula.

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