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Great Public Schools Criteria for Connecticut

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Connecticut.

Readiness to Learn

Full-day Kindergarten:

Connecticut has provided funds for school readiness programs since 1997 to increase access to high-quality preschool. State-funded school-readiness programs are open to 3-4 year olds. State also allocates funds to priority school districts and awards competitive grants to school districts considered to have severe needs. At least 60 percent of children served in each community must have family incomes at or below 75 percent of the state median income. Professional development opportunities for staff, as well as other efforts, have contributed to the establishment and implementation of preschool standards. A recent focus has been to link these standards with the Preschool Assessment Act.

In 2004 a new provision of the School Readiness and Child Care Day Care Grant Program legislation required School Readiness Councils "(3) assist in the identification of (A) the need for school readiness programs and the number of children not being served by such a program and (B) for priority school districts identify the number of children not being served by such a program and report the estimated operating cost of providing universal school readiness to eligible children who are not being served..." Additionally, it is required that the State Board of Education submit a report to the General Assembly that summarizes the priority school districts' reports.


Parental Involvement

In Connecticut, full-day kindergarten programs participating in the early reading success grant program must provide for parental involvement. Proposals for intensive early intervention reading programs including after-school and summer programs must provide for parental involvement and ensure that parents have access to information on strategies that may be used at home to improve pre-reading or reading skills (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-265f). Enacted 1998.

Connecticut directs each local and regional board of education to create and implement a three-year plan to raise the level of reading skills of students in grades K-3. Plans must involve parents in helping eliminate their child's reading problems, including a requirement that the district "provide information to parents on strategies that can be used at home to improve the child's language development, prereading or reading skills" (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-221h — Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-221m). Enacted 1998.

The development of school readiness programs seeks to strengthen the family through the encouragement of parental involvement in a child’s development and education (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-16o). Enacted 1997.

The state directs the state board of education to develop a program to encourage local and regional boards of education to develop and implement plans to involve parents of students in the educational process. Programs must provide for regular contact with all parents, including opportunities for parents to meet with their children's instructors for the purpose of reviewing the curriculum of their child's program, and develop strategies for parents to actively assist in the educational process. Programs must also include the development of written materials designed to familiarize parents with their child's curriculum and to detail specific activities parents and students may undertake together to enrich the child's education experience and development (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-4g). Enacted 1984. Amended 1997.

The Family Resource Center at Charter Oak School in the West Hartford School District in Connecticut was one of the first state-established family resource centers directly linked to a local public school system. The center works closely with school staff and the parent-teacher organization to sponsor family activities and facilitate home-school communication. About 30-35 parents of school-age children visit the center each week. It offers a comfortable place where parents can read the latest books on parenting or meet teachers for lunch, and families can obtain child care referrals and scholarship information, receive counseling for problems, use the homework center, and participate in adult education classes. School-age children can register for mini-courses or borrow a toy for the weekend.


School funding systems must provide adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding. Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funding at their authorized levels.
Connecticut's school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations. (PDF) (NEA, 2003)

NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps

The Connecticut Education Association plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps to support efforts to amend the Connecticut charter school law to provide a special definition of "charter" under NCLB (i.e., "opportunity school legislation"), and identify one or more CEA locals willing to convert at least one school to an "opportunity school." For more information, contact CEA Executive Director John P. Yrchik.

Recruitment and Retention

Connecticut has state policies that support The Connecticut Minority Teacher Incentive Program, The Alternate Route to Teacher Certification Program, and Troops to Teachers. State policy also is in place to allow retired teachers to be re-employed without losing retirement benefits. In addition, The Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program supports beginning classroom teachers in their first years of teaching.

For hard-to-staff schools or subject areas: The Connecticut Federation of Educational and Professional Employees will pay 10 $1,000 grants per academic year to federation members teaching in high poverty rural and urban areas.
DOE National Board Certification Recognition—State and Local Action

Students who have been admitted to a teacher education program which prepares an individual for teaching in a field designated as an area of critical teacher shortage shall be eligible for student loans in an amount not greater than $5,000 per year for not more than two years. Loan repayment or forgiveness depends on number of years completed in teaching service. §10a-163

If there is no approved program to prepare teachers of children requiring special education, the board may provide scholarship aid for students to attend programs in other states. The applicant must agree to teach children requiring special education in Connecticut for at least three years. §10a-168

For minority teachers: The Connecticut minority teacher incentive program provides grants to minority students who are enrolled in or have completed a teacher education program. It offers maximum $5,000 per year for two years. A minority student who received grants and who teaches in a Connecticut public school upon graduation is eligible for reimbursement of federal or state educational loans up to a maximum of $2,500 per year for up to four years of teaching service. §10a-168a

For paraprofessional/teaching assistants to become certified teachers: Paraprofessionals will be assisted in fulfilling state teacher certification requirements. 
CGS §10-155e

Alternative routes to certification supported by the state: Military personnel interested in beginning a second career in teaching can enroll in the Troops to Teachers program which provides referral assistance and placement services.

The Alternate Route to Teacher Certification (ARC I & ARC II) is a program to attract mid-career professionals from diverse fields into teaching. Individuals who have worked as substitutes, or who have experience as independent school teachers, are encouraged to apply. 
DOE Alternative Route to Teacher Certification

The board of trustees for the Connecticut State University System may maintain an emergency teacher training program to prepare graduates of approved four-year colleges and universities to teach in the elementary schools of the state.
CGS §10-155

The board of governors of higher education will develop an alternate route to certification for persons seeking certification as bilingual education teachers and teachers of English as a second language.
CGS §10a-10a

Retired teachers can work part-time in a school district or as a substitute as long as they keep their certificate valid. 
DOE Retired Teachers Fact Sheet

Induction policies: The Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program is a two- to three-year induction program for beginning classroom teachers holding initial educator certificates. BEST participation requirements are determined by both the endorsement a teacher holds and his or her teaching assignment. There are two categories of participation in the BEST Program.
DOE BEST Program